Zhang, 14, is youngest qualifier for China Open

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-07 09:23
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BEIJING - At 14 years and five months of age, Zhang Jin became the youngest player yet to qualify for the Volvo China Open.

Zhang, 14, is youngest qualifier for China Open
 Zhang Jin his a shot during the Volvo China Open at the Beijing Honghua International Golf Club, April 2, 2010. [Photo from]

The Beijing teenager handled the wind and lightning-fast greens at Honghua with a maturity that belied his years and completely dominated the Northern Qualifying event by adding a 77 to his 76 to finish at nine-over par, a full eight shots ahead of his nearest challenger.

Second was Chen Haibao while Wang Huiqiang took the third and final qualifying spot after a three-way sudden death playoff.

As with round one, the challenging Honghua course bared its teeth as fierce winds whipped across the Nick Faldo-design layout and scores skyrocketed. It didn't appear to cause Zhang a problem, however, as he started straight out of the blocks in style to stand one under after three holes.

However he stumbled at the treacherous par-three 4th hole where he found the water and ended up with a double bogey. After that the young amateur navigated his way around in impressive fashion, dropping only another four shots to par which, given the conditions, would have pleased most top-ranking pros.

"I was very pleased that I held it together today," Zhang said. "There was a lot of pressure on me and the conditions were just as bad as yesterday, so I'm feeling proud to have come through it so well."

Zhang will now tee it up alongside some of the world's leading players at the $2.5 million Volvo China Open at Jinji Lake International Golf Club in Suzhou, Jiangsu province from April 15 - 18.