Major winner heads China field

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-06 08:05
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BEIJING - China's oldest professional golf championship, the Volvo China Open, enters a new and exciting era as some of the world's best players have signed-up to play the $2.5million event, which will be held at the Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club, Jiangsu province, from April 15-18.

Asia's first major champion, Korean Yang Yong-eun,has confirmed he will play in China's open championship, which has also attracted 2008 World Cup of Golf winner Henrik Stenson of Sweden.

Yang turned the world of golf on its head late last year when he overhauled Tiger Woods to become the first Asian golfer to win a major title, the USPGA Championship at Hazeltine National, and now the 38-year-old Korean is looking to add the Volvo China Open to the eight titles he has already won worldwide.

"I always enjoy playing golf in China and have great memories of my breakthrough victory at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in 2007 and I am honored to be able to play in the national open golf championship of China," said Yang.

"To become the first Asian golfer to win a major was a huge achievement and with that success comes responsibility - an opportunity to help develop Asian golf on the world stage."

World No 11 Stenson who, with compatriot Robert Karlsson won the World Cup at Mission Hills in 2008, had a top-20 finish in his only previous appearance at the China Open, in 2006.

"There is something very special about playing golf in China," says the Dubai-based Swede. "There is a real sense of being part of an unstoppable momentum and Olympic inclusion for golf will surely spur on Chinese golfers and redouble the efforts of China's golf leaders.

"Being a Swede, I take particular pride in supporting Volvo's extensive golf sponsorship program, whilst I also have some unfinished business with the China Open, having left a few shots out there on Beijing Honghua in Jeev Milkha Singh's memorable year.

"I am looking forward to some great golf on the Gary Player-designed course, which is sure to be challenging."

Per Ericsson, president and CEO of Volvo Event Management is pleased to see the groundbreaking Yang and Stenson at the Open as it had featured lesser-known players in the past.

"That two of the leading golfers in the world are making the long and arduous journey from the US Masters to play in the Volvo China Open. That demonstrates the growing status of the event and the attraction of events with the words 'open championship' in their title," Ericsson said.