Guangzhou (CHINA): Fifty international players from ten different countries will chase three playing spots in the 25th Volvo China Open when day one of the 36-hole Guangzhou Nansha International Qualifying event gets underway at Guangzhou Nansha Golf Club on Thursday (March 14).

The two-day event is the first of two qualifying events to be staged back-to-back over the club’s par-70 Valley Course with Domestic Qualifying set to be staged next week.

Among the players looking to tee it up at The European Tour-sanctioned Volvo China Open in Shenzhen in May are last year’s International Qualifying winner Taipei’s Lu Sen Lien and 2017 winner Blake Snyder of the USA.

Both players have qualified for the last two Volvo China Opens and will be focused on making it a hat-trick of appearances in 2019. The top three finishers this week will receive a coveted invitation to compete in the 25th anniversary of the RMB20 million tournament to be held in Shenzhen in May.

“I got here early to spend time getting used to the conditions,” said 26-year-old Seattle-born Snyder, who finished third in the 2018 International Qualifier and is a two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour.

“Last year we played nine of the holes being used this week so I know a little of the course but I’m more focused on preparing myself mentally.

“I’m excited to be here and will use that excitement to motivate me – playing in the International Qualifying was a very positive experience for me over the past two years.

“It’s set up super well and there’s a great incentive for us pros to come out here as getting to play in the Volvo China Open is a real achievement. The first year was a learning experience for me but last year I felt much more comfortable and showed me I can play at the highest level. All I can do now is focus on shooting the best score I can for two rounds.”

Like Snyder, Lien has enjoyed a successful run in the International Qualifier and the 44-year-old – one of 19 players in the field from Chinese Taipei - is geared up for another 36-hole challenge.

“I put too much pressure on myself last year and found myself distracted by the scores because I was so afraid of losing the tournament,” said Lien, who is appearing in a Volvo China Open Qualifying for the tenth time since 2006.

“This year the course is more difficult and there are many top professionals gathered for the Qualifier. Golf in China is a completely different environment from the sport in Taipei as the set-up and layout are much more professional.”

Aside from competing, Lien is a renowned golf coach in Taipei and will proudly line-up at Nansha Golf Club alongside one of his young proteges Nien Tsung Cheng. “I enjoy coaching in Taipei and maybe some time in the future I will come to Beijing and coach there,” added Lien, who finished runner-up in the 2017 International Qualifying.

Play in the opening round of the Volvo China Open International Qualifying at Guangzhou Nansha Golf Club Valley Course will get underway on March 14 at 7.30am.






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