Sports / Golf

Teen amateur shares lead after first day

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-09-14 07:58

A steady Zhang Jin, 21 days before his 17th birthday, shot a solid 3-under 69 for a share of the lead with Wu Haochuan, four years his senior, after the first round of the Fangshan-Changyang China Amateur Golf Championship at the Beijing California Country Golf Club on Thursday.

Zhang and Wu both had five birdies and two bogeys and were three shots ahead of Dou Zecheng of China, Takahashi Hosho of Japan and Anthony Houston of Australia.

In August, Zhang, known for his steady play, shot a 59 at the Beijing Youth and Junior Golf Championships at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Pine Valley Golf Club.

"I felt good today," Zhang said. "My drives, my putting and my chipping were equally fine today. My theory is that as long as I shoot under par, I'll be very satisfied with myself."

The sports-loving Zhang said the star-studded Pro-Am on Wednesday, which attracted a number of China's Olympic champions, boosted his performance.

The other athletes included London Olympic badminton champion Lin Dan, gymnastics champion Chen Yibin and retired Olympic gymnastics champions Li Xiaoshuang and Li Xiaopeng.

Zhang said he is not taking anything for granted over the next three rounds.

"Competition in this championship will be tougher than in other amateur tournaments on the Chinese mainland," he said. "But I believe that I can do well in this well-organized tournament. I'll definitely come back next year."

Wu attributed his under-par performance on Thursday to his putting, while adding that his tee shots were just so-so.

"But overall I think I played to my level," said Wu, who will turn professional next year at the age of 21. "I don't think it's too late to turn professional. It's like marriage - some marry early and others wed late."

A total of 78 players from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and China are taking part in the second China Amateur Golf Championship.

The three-day women's competition tees off on Friday.

China Daily

(China Daily 09/14/2012 page23)

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