Ouyang wins qualifying tournament for the Volvo China Open

Sun 18 Mar 2018

Ouyang wins qualifying tournament for the Volvo China Open

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Photo credit: Richard Castka 

Zhangzhou, March 17: China's Ouyang Zheng held on to his overnight lead to win the 36-hole Volvo China Open Ocean West Qualifying by a massive six shots on Saturday.

The 24-year-old, who hails from Shanghai, never looked like losing his momentum, despite stumbling with bogeys on the par-three third and par-five ninth at the Ocean West International Golf Club. A back nine of 33 saw him close with a one-under-par 71 and a winning total of five-under-par 139. He had fired a course record 68 in the opening round.

Also qualifying for the 24th Volvo China Open are junior Chen Pei-cheng and veteran Liu Chun, who found themselves in a play-off for the two remaining places with compatriot Tong Zhang-wen after the three players finished on one-over-par 145 in regulation play.

Tong shanked his approach shot at the first extra hole to make bogey while Cheng and Liu both made safe pars to advance to the National Open.

“Today’s result today has greatly improved my self confidence, as this is actually my first tournament win as a professional,” said Ouyang. “It’s given me very high expectations for the rest of the year.

“I plan to play in some more events before the Volvo China Open so that my game continues to improve. I’m really looking forward to the Volvo China Open as I am very familiar with the Topwin course, which actually has similar greens to these at Ocean West.

“I knew I had the skill to win an event like this and knew it was only a matter of time before it happened. I should have made more birdies yesterday but they just didn’t drop. Today it was as though I couldn’t miss – I made four single putts in a row from the 14th.”

Liu Chun seemed to have played himself out of the event after giving away four shots on the opening nine, however eagles on both the 14th and 18th saw him home in 34 strokes for a two over-par 74.

Liu revealed that he worked as a policeman for five years before becoming a golf pro and attributes some of his success in the sport to the discipline he required to be a police officer.

“I concentrate very well and keep calm what ever is happening on the golf course so I am able to handle difficult situations quite well during a tournament round,” said Liu who also qualified in second place in the Shanghai Tianma Qualifier last year.

Hebei-born Liu said that he planned to do much better than last year at Topwin where he had to retired after 11 holes of the opening round due to a severe cold.

“The Volvo China Open Qualifiers are always great fun and very well organized so I look forward to them each year, so today is a great start to my competition year and hopefully it will bring me good luck,” added the 34-year-old, who is now based in Shenzhen.

Chen Pei-cheng’s front nine was somewhat the same as Liu’s, and then a double bogey on the difficult par-three 12th saw his name taken off the leaderboard. However a birdie two on the 15th followed by three closing pars brought him home in 37 to make the play off, as his nearest challengers dropped shots coming in.

“I didn’t think I would achieve my goal so quickly. I thought I would be in high school before something big like this happened,” said 15-year-old Chen, who lives in Beijing.

“I don’t think I would have matured as much as I have without the support of Volvo,” added Chen, who has also played in several Volvo China Junior Match Play events and lost in the final last year in Hainan.

“I don’t plan to play in any other events before the Volvo China Open. I will practice and also concentrate on my school work.

“I plan to go to Topwin a week before the Volvo China Open to familiarize myself with the golf course. My only experience of the layout so far was when I volunteered to be a walking scorer in the past two years!

“My wish is to play with Li Haotong. It would be great to play alongside the best mainland Chinese player!”

For more information please visit www.volvochinaopen.com