China's Liang wins Midea China Classic

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, October 19, 2009
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Liang Wenchong became the first Chinese champion on the inaugural OneAsia series after a three-under-par 68 gave him a 14-under total of 270 and a four-stroke win in the 500,000 U.S. dollars Midea China Classic in Shunde.

Zhang Lianwei, the 2006 winner and another Guangdong hero, birdied the par-five 18th to finish 10-under and deliver a Chinese one-two to the delight of the large galleries at the Royal Orchid International Golf Club.

Australian Peter Wilson birdied the last three holes for a 64 to share third place on nine-under with European Tour player Matthew Millar (65) and former New Zealand Open winner Michael Long (68).

Liang, Asia's number one in 2007, stretched his overnight lead with birdies at holes one, three, eight and 10, while a bogey on the par-five ninth was only his second dropped shot all week. Australian Andrew Martin started the day a stroke behind, but fell away when a bogey on three was followed by a double and another bogey.

"I'm really exited as it's my first win in the Midea and I had a lot of fans supporting me today," said Liang, whose supporters included his parents, wife and four-year-old son.

"I felt a lot of pressure, especially on the front nine, but even when I was a few strokes ahead, I had to concentrate hard to maintain my game and stay in front."

Liang, 31, lifted the 90,000 dollars winner's cheque after becoming the third Chinese champion in five editions of the tournament following wins by fellow Guangdong pros Yuan Hao in 2005 and Zhang in 2006.

Liang's wins include the 2007 Singapore Masters and last year's Hero Honda Indian Open, but he said he was especially proud to win in Shunde as the Midea China Classic was the country's first major tournament since golf was voted into the 2016 Olympics.

"This win is a lot more than a trophy and a paycheque," Liang said. "This means so much at this time and I see it as a win for Chinese professionals. Hopefully it will draw a lot more attention to golf in the country after it became an Olympic sport."

The 44-year-old Zhang, who shot into contention with a third-round 63, was unable to challenge his younger compatriot after starting three strokes behind, but nailed a birdie putt at the last to ensure he kept the runner-up cheque of 51,000 dollars all to himself.

"When I arrived at the 18th, I saw all these other names on the leader board also at nine-under, so the birdie putt became so important as I really wanted to finish second outright," Zhang said.

"I played well today and felt as though I played as well as Liang Wenchong, but he putted better. I didn't putt as well, so couldn't really chase him and put enough pressure on."

China's Kong Weihai shot a 67 to share sixth place on eight-under with Martin (73), who shared the halfway lead with Liang, and Australian Brad Andrews (66).

First-round leader Craig Scott shot a 73 to finish ninth on six-under, one ahead of fellow Australian Anthony Brown (69).

Alex Wu Ashun, China ' s rising star, shot 73 to finish four-under with Chinese Taipei's Tsai Chi-huang (71) and Australian Stephen Leaney (73), the 2003 US Open runner-up.

Australian Scott Strange won OneAsia's inaugural event at April's Volvo China Open, which was co-sanctioned with the European Tour, while Korean Bae Sang-moon won last month's Kolon-Hana Bank Korea Open.

OneAsia next stages the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship in December. OneAsia plans to offer 12-15 events next year and 17-20 annually from 2011 and beyond.

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