Sports / Golf

Zhang ready to extend proud record at Macao Open

By China Daily (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-07 07:54

Zhang ready to extend proud record at Macao Open

Chinese trailblazer Zhang Lianwei will be out to preserve one of the most impressive streaks on the Asian Tour when he tees up in the $750,000 Venetian Macao Open, which takes place from Oct 11-14 at the Macao Golf and Country Club.

Since the first Macao Open in 1998, Zhang, who is a five-time Asian Tour winner, has not missed a cut in the tournament and is arguably the most successful player in Macao with victories in 2001 and 2002 and six other top-10 finishes.

"I am really excited about the Venetian Macao Open and I hope to put in a strong showing for my fans and also to maintain my streak. It is also wonderful that the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel has come into the tournament in a very big way as the new title sponsor. Macao is my favorite destination on the Asian Tour as I have enjoyed a lot of success in the tournament. I have fond memories of my two victories and there were also a lot of other good performances," said Zhang, who is also a board member on the Asian Tour.

"I have missed the tournament only once previously (in 2003 due to injury), but in the years that I have played the Macao Open since 1998, I have never missed the cut and I'm really proud of this achievement," he said.

Zhang was China's first player to achieve success on the Asian Tour, which subsequently led to the rise in the number of touring professionals from the mainland, including the likes of Wu Ashun, Li Chao and Liang Wenchong. Liang became the first Chinese to win the Asian Tour's Order of Merit crown in 2007.

Apart from his wins in Macao, Zhang has also claimed three other titles on the Asian Tour, including his national Open in 2003 and the Singapore Masters in the same year, when he defeated South African star Ernie Els with a last-hole birdie.

Els isn't the only major scalp that Zhang has claimed throughout his illustrious career as the Chinese ace also defeated Zimbabwean Nick Price in the 2002 Macao Open after a five-hole playoff and Scotland's Colin Montgomerie in the former Alfred Dunhill Cup.

"I have enjoyed my time on the Asian Tour as it has allowed me to grow and become a truly international player," Zhang said.

"Through the tour, I have had the opportunity to play in different countries and experience different cultures across Asia, which has helped me to develop as a golfer. There are numerous other fond memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life, but I'm not finished yet with my career, especially when it comes to the Macao Open.

"I feel I can still contend in this tournament as I know the Macao Golf and Country Club course very well. I know what it takes to shoot good scores on this very challenging golf course and, more importantly, I feel I will always have an advantage on the greens.

"I will be working hard to sharpen my game and I hope to be ready to play well."

The Macao Open is jointly organized by the Macao Sport Development Board and Macao Golf Association and sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

All four rounds will be beamed live on the Asian Tour's global television platform, which reaches more than 200 countries and regions and 650 million households.

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