Zhang Aims to Master Volkswagen Event

ZhangApril 21: After his historic Masters debut, China’s trailblazer Zhang Lian-wei is looking to master a new tournament, the Volkswagen Masters – China, on home soil from April 29-May 2.

The 38-year-old self-taught golfer made international headlines by playing in the year’s first Major at Augusta National Golf Club two weeks ago and agonisingly missed the halfway cut by one shot.

Though disheartened, Zhang is looking forward to his next event on the Asian Tour, which is the US$300,000 Volkswagen-sponsored event at Pine Valley Golf Club in Beijing.

“I’m looking forward to my next event. The Masters is over and I’m preparing for the next challenge,” said Zhang, who received a special invitation from Augusta National to play in the Masters.

Zhang will spearhead the Asian Tour’s charge at the Volkswagen Masters – China alongside the likes of Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit, Korea’s Charlie Wi and Singapore’s Mardan Mamat.

The Volkswagen event will see the appearance of European stars Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn and Ian Woosnam in the fray.

The quartet have all tasted success in Asia throughout their illustrious careers but will certainly find the Asian Tour stalwarts bidding for the top prize in Beijing.

Boonchu RuangkitBoonchu, at the age of 47, is proving that old is gold by winning the Thailand Open in January before going on to finish tied fourth in the tri-sanctioned Johnnie Walker Classic in Bangkok. In fact, he finished higher than Faldo and Montgomerie, who played in Thailand as well.

Mardan rewrote Asian golf history last month when he won the Royal Challenge Indian Open to become the first Singaporean to win on the Asian Tour. He credited yoga for his breakthrough and could well contend again in China this month.

Korean maestro Kang Wook-soon will also make his way to Beijing for the inaugural Volkswagen Masters – China and is expected to shine as well.

A total of six Asian Dynasty Cup players will be in the field. Apart from Zhang, Kang and Wi, Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Chinese upcoming star Liang Wen-chong will also play in China.

Since finishing fourth in his national Open as an amateur in 1999, Liang has been hailed as his country’s next Zhang Lian-wei. However, in his three starts on the Asian Tour this season, he has the cut in all of them.

Other Asian Tour winners poised to challenge for honours include American Edward Michaels, who triumphed in the DHL Philippine Open this year, Australians Jason Dawes and Marcus Both, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-ko and Korean Chung Joon.

Deaf golfer Lee Sung-man of Korea, winner of the Qualifying School in January, will lead the charge for the new boys at the Volkswagen Masters – China.

ENTRIES (as at April 16, 2004)
1 Kyi Hla Han
2 Zhang Lian-Wei
3 Charlie Wi
4 Thaworn Wiratchant
5 Mardan Mamat
6 Edward Michaels
7 Jason Dawes
8 Marcus Both
9 Lin Wen-Ko
10 Chung Joon
11 Edward Loar
12 Mike Cunning
13 Danny Chia
14 David Gleeson
15 Eddie Lee
16 Vijay Kumar
17 Rick Gibson
18 Harmeet Kahlon
19 Kim Su Nam
20 Jun Chul-Woo
21 Alex Oh
22 Yeh Chang-Ting
23 Chen Tze-Chung
24 Hsieh Chin-Sheng
25 Simon Yates
26 Amandeep Johl
27 Unho Park
28 Gary Rusnak
29 Chawalit Plaphol
30 Arjun Singh
31 Boonchu Ruangkit
32 Craig Kamps
33 Hendrik Buhrmann
34 Pablo Del Olmo
35 Lin Wen-Tang
36 Kim Felton
37 Ted Oh
38 Jason Knutzon
39 Liang Wen-Chong
40 Gerald Rosales
41 Andrew Pitts
42 Choi Gwang-Soo
43 Scott Barr
44 Anthony Kang
45 Chen Yuan-Chi
46 Lu Wen-Teh
47 Clay Devers
48 Adam Fraser
49 Chris Williams
50 Yang Yong-Eun
51 Des Terblanche
52 Pat Giles
53 Stephen Lindskog
54 Greg Hanrahan
55 Wang Ter-Chang
56 Sushi Ishigaki
57 Rafael Ponce
58 Aung Win
59 Kang Wook-Soon
60 Jeev Milkha-Singh
61 Gerry Norquist
62 Nico Van Rensburg
63 Keith Horne
64 Kim Jong-Duk
65 Lee Sung-Man
66 Richard Moir
67 Adam Groom
68 Terry Pilkadaris
69 Jonathan Cheetham
70 Alistair Presnell
71 Lam Chih Bing
72 Mo Joong-Kyung
73 Paul Spargo
74 Prom Meesawat
75 Jim Johnson
76 Bryan Saltus
77 Satoshi Tomiyama
78 Akinori Tani
79 Vivek Bhandari
80 Eiji Mizoguchi
81 Angelo Que
82 Danny Zarate
83 Uttam Singh Mundy
84 Yoshinobu Tsukada
85 Gaurav Ghei
86 Sung Mao-Chang
87 Chen Tsang-Te
88 Somkiat Sri Sanga
89 Anthony Summers
90 Chen Chung-Cheng
91 Anthony Gilligan
92 Jamnian Chitprasong
93 Lu Wei-Lan
94 Kenichi Ryu
95 Rahil Gangjee
96 Olle Nordberg
97 Katsuhiko Yamazaki
98 Morne Van Rensburg
99 James Stewart
100 Lin Chie Hsiang
101 Airil Rizman Zahari
102 Zane Scotland
103 David Kang
104 Feroz Ali
105 Amritinder Singh
106 Soe Kyaw Naing
107 Surawin Suwannodom
108 Carito Villiaroman
109 Win Htwe Hlaing
110 R. Nachimuthu

China Golf Association
1 Li Chao
2 Shang Lei
3 Zheng Wengen
4 Qiu Zhifeng
5 Wu Weihuang
6 Huang Yonghuan
7 Cao Hanfeng
8 Liu Qiang
9 Liu Guojie
10 Gu Haoran
11 Xiao Zhijin
12 Xiao Jiancheng
13 Sun Peng
14 Fu Xin
15 Zhong Yongguang
16 Chen Yingfeng
17 Xia Zhenggrong
18 Luo Ling
19 Liao Guiming
20 Wang Huiqiang
21 Tang Jinchang
22 Tan Guohua
23 Huang Mingjie
24 Guan Xuefeng
25 Zhang Wei

Sponsor’s Invitation
1 Colin Montgomerie
2 Thomas Bjorn
3 Ian Woosnam
4 Nick Faldo
5 Xiao Se (Am)
6 Hu Mu (Am)
7 Jimmy Ko (Am)
8 Lo Shih-Kai (Am)
9 Cheng Jun