CHINESE YOUNGSTERS SET FOR GRAND FINAL AT VOLVO CHINA JUNIOR MATCH PLAY

Fujian (CHINA): The finals of the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship will see two of the nation's best young golfers battle it out for the right to appear at next year's Volvo China Open after a dramatic day of semi-final action at the Southern Wood Golf & Country Club in Fujian today (Tuesday).

Number four seed Kuang Yang will go head-to-head with number six seed Wu Dian-chao in an all-Guangdong affair after both boys – playing in their first ever Volvo China Junior Match Play - saw off older opponents in their semi-finals.

Speaking after clinching a 2&1 victory over number nine seed Wang Xin-xing, 14-year-old Kuang said: "Wang is the toughest competitor I've faced over the past two days. But I played very steadily, which I think helped me create a lot of opportunities.

"I'm delighted to be in the final and if I can win then I'll be in the Volvo China Open which will be a dream for me, especially since it will be staged in my home town of Chengdu."

In the other semi-final, 13-year-old Wu – the youngest player left in the field - made sure of his place in the final with a narrow one-hole victory over 14-year-old number seven seed Zhang Zhong-yu from Yunnan.

One down with four holes remaining, Wu rolled in two birdies in the last four holes to secure his place alongside Kuang in the final, both players reaching the last two on their first appearances in the tournament.

"I never thought I could get this far on my debut, especially against so many top players" said Wu. "I was very nervous during my semi-final so I'm looking forward to playing Kuang in the final. We've played each other many times before so it should be good competition."

Performance of the day came in the girl's division where 17-year-old top seed Sun Jia-ze from Tianjin produced an outstanding comeback in her semi-final to secure a place in the final.

Playing Shandong's number four seed Yang Jie-ming, Sun found herself three down with five holes remaining and looked on her way out of China's premier tournament for young golfing talent.

But a superb run of three consecutive birdies in the last four holes helped turn the tide to give Sun a one-hole victory and a place in the final against number two seed Fang Xin-yuan from Shaanxi.

"I've never had a comeback like that before – it was a very bad situation for me after 13 holes," said a clearly relieved Sun. "At that point I knew I had to bounce back. I made a few adjustments and got myself together again. It was definitely a good lesson for me."

There was equal drama in the other girls' semi-final with Fang and number 14 seed Fan Shuang-shuang from Chongqing tied after 18 holes before the number two seed finally won through with a birdie on the 19th hole play-off.

"My main aim this week was not to finish last, so I didn't expect such a good result," said 17-year-old Fang. "It was a tough match today and we were very close even in the play-off. Now I just need to rest and prepare to face Sun who is a very good player. I'll try my best - if I do that and don't win then I'll have no-one else to blame."

As well as the trophies and the prestige of winning China's premier junior event, the finalists are also targeting the Volvo China Open in May 2019 - the winner of the boys’ title will play alongside the best of the European Tour stars in the tournament itself, while the girls’ champion will play in the event Pro-Am.

(2018-12-11)

 

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