China's Hu Sticks Close to Leaders

Fri 29 Mar 2013

China's Hu Sticks Close to Leaders

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Chiangmai, Thailand, March 29: Young talent Hu Mu hung tough at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT on Friday, shooting a second round of three-under-par 69 to keep alive his dream of becoming the third Chinese to win on the Asian Tour.

The talented 23-year-old, touted as the next great Chinese hope, produced a strong finish with three birdies in his closing six holes at the Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai for a nine-under-par 135 total.

Hu stayed within touching distance of clubhouse leader Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, who added a 67 to his opening 65 for a 132 aggregate in the US$750,000 full-field Asian Tour event which is part of the milestone 10th season celebration in 2013.

However, he was disappointed he failed to shoot a lower round as a cold putter left many of his birdie attempts burning the edges of the holes. “I was very disappointed. I turned a 62 or 63 round into a 69. I didn’t take any chances from the good shots I hit. I wasn’t feeling it out there with my putter,” said Hu, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week.

“I want to go work on my putting. I putted well on the first day. It was a disaster when it came to making birdies. I hit my shots close and had five or six birdies chances inside of 10 feet but just didn’t make them. It was a big mistake.”

Zhang Lian-wei and Liang Wen-chong are the only two golfers from China who have won titles on the Asian Tour, with the latter going a step further by winning the prestigious Order of Merit in 2007 to become China’s first Asian number one.

A good showing will also boost Hu’s 2016 Olympic dream as this week’s Chiangmai Golf Classic offers the most Official World Golf Ranking points in Asia with the winner receiving 16 points.

Hu, who took up membership with the Asian Tour this season, found some comfort through the fact he managed to follow-up on yesterday’s 66 with a solid showing. This season, he has been guilty of throwing away good starts and missed out on his Tour card with a poor final round 78.

“I’ve been in contention on the first day and it is great. I’m getting more used to it. The first few times, you might get a bit excited when you are up on the leaderboard and not get enough sleep. Right now I’m really into it and when I get on the course, I always try to shoot better,” said Hu, who trains under renowned swing guru David Leadbetter.

“I don’t think it is natural for everybody. Some people might get it faster but I’m getting better through every tournament. I slept well last night but it was too early of a wake-up call as I had to get up at 4.30am (for his 7.30am tee time).”

With a star-studded field gathered in the northern city of Chiangmai, which includes Major winners Y.E. Yang of Korea (137), South African Ernie Els, who is still playing his second round at press time, and last week’s winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Hu is hoping to go toe-to-toe with the big boys come Sunday.

“It is very exciting. I’ve been training in the David Leadbetter academy for the last 10 years and he trained Ernie (Els). I had the chance to play a practice round with him at the HSBC Champions in China before. I haven’t seen him this week but I’ll make sure I talk to him. Hopefully I get a final round pairing with him,” said Hu.

The Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT is primed to extensively promote Chiangmai as a top golfing and tourist destination through the four days of live broadcasts on the Asian Tour’s global television platform, which reaches over 200 countries and 650 million homes.

The Chiangmai Golf Classic is supported by PTT Group Company Limited, one of the largest corporations in Thailand, while other premier sponsors include PTT Public Company Ltd, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, Advanced Info Service Plc, Siam Commercial Bank PCL, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Provincial Government of Chiangmai, Chiangmai Provincial Administrative Organisation, CAT Telecom Public Company Ltd, TOT Public Company Ltd, Thai Airways International Public Company Ltd, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, Samart I-mobile PCL , Loxley Wireless Co Ltd, Forth Corporation Public Company Ltd, J.R.W Utility Plc, Standard Tour Co Ltd, Advanced Information Technology Public Company Ltd, Fenix Apparel and Accessories Co Ltd and Sports Authority of Thailand.

About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistic Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf

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