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Woosnam to tackle Asia's best

Updated: 2012-10-11 08:08
By Lei Lei in Macao ( China Daily)

Woosnam to tackle Asia's best

Former US Masters champion Ian Woosnam of Wales will join some of Asia's top golfers this week at the Venetian Macao Open.

The $750,000 Asian Tour tournament will be held at the Macao Golf and Country Club from Oct 11-14.

Welshman Woosnam, the 1991 Masters champion, believes he can compete against the stars of the Asian Tour.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge. You have to manage yourself well on this course and get the ball in play," said the 54-year-old, whose career highlights include a memorable Ryder Cup win as European captain in 2006.

"Obviously, you have to hit it straight, which I haven't been doing of late. I've got to try to get it straight off the tee.

"It's my first time visiting Macao. I'm enjoying it. My aim is to make the cut first and then take it from there."

Competing along with Woosnam will be Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, two-time Macao Open winner Zhang Lianwei of China, titleholder Chan Yih-shin of Chinese Taipei and 14 of the top 20 players on the Order of Merit, which is led by Adam Fraser of Australia.

Jaidee, who made his last appearance in Macao 11 years ago when he finished tied for fourth, has enjoyed an impressive 2012 season. He won his first title on European soil in Wales in June and finishing tied for 15th at an event in Scotland last week.

"It's nice to be back. I've not been here for over 10 years. The course is very challenging," said Jaidee, who is the top earner on the Asian Tour with more than $4 million in prize money.

"When it is windy, it will be difficult to play. It wasn't in my plans to play here, but I received an invitation from the sponsors and I'm glad I came."

China's Zhang has never missed a cut at the Venetian Macao Open since the first event in 1998. He won in 2001 and 2002 and has posted six other top-10 finishes. The 47-year-old, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour, will play with Woosnam and fellow veteran Frankie Minoza of the Philippines in the opening two rounds.

"I'm looking forward to playing with Ian. We've played together many times and he's a nice guy and a great golfer," Zhang said.

"With the development of Macao Open, the field has become stronger, so it will be very difficult to win again. But I want to win again, so I'm here."

The Venetian Macao Open is jointly organized by the Macao Sport Development Board and Macao Golf Association and is 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 homes.