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Xiamen delighted as Wu wins in Dell Championship
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China's golfer Wu Weihuang made the transition from martial arts champion to golf champion when he fended off fellow Fujian favourite Wu Ashun and Zhou Jun and won the Dell Championship in Xiamen, the opening event of the Omega China Tour's fifth season.

The 40-year-old and 1.68-meter-tall champion closed with a one-under-par 71 for a 14-under total of 274 and a four-stroke victory over Wu Ashun, the 23-year-old Asian Tour star who came home in 72, and 25-year-old Zhou, the reigning Omega Championship winner who finished with a 68.

Shang Lei, 27, got the last for a 70 and shared the fourth place on eight-under with 23-year-old American C.J. Gatto, who played with the two local stars in the final flight at the Orient Golf and Country Club and carded a 72.

Wu Weihuang was acclaimed by fans as he walked away with a cheque of 180,000 yuan and a new Dell Latitude XT2 tablet, a great delight to his sons Yifan and Jianlong with an age of 13 and 17 respectively.

"My youngest son told me this morning that he really wanted me to win so he could get the new laptop," Wu said.

"It was also great that my eldest son, Jianlong, has been watching my every stroke. That gave me a lot of confidence and pride."

Wu's victory was a hard-earned reward for one of the Omega China Tour's most fascinating characters. As a local businessman, the 27-year-old Wu took up the game in 1995 and has won six provincial titles in Nanquan, a kind of Chinses Wushu.

After studying and practising diligently, he turned to be professional in 1999 and became one of China's most excellent players. He finished runner-up in Beijing in the Omega China Tour's first event in 2005 and recorded 13 top ten finishes in the next 25 tournaments.

"When I holed the par-putt on 18, I just felt so relieved that I have finally done it. I've waited ten years for this moment and I feel great," said the champion Wu, who led the tournament for all four days with rounds of 66, 67, 70 and 71.

Wu Weihuang's three-stroke lead over Wu Ashun at the start of the final day narrowed to one after a double-bogey on the par-five fifth.

However, he quickly regained his composure and made use of a three-stroke advantage by birdying the next two holes, including a great chip-in at the par-four sixth that produced a passionate roar from a large crowd.

"At first, I watched Wu Ashun and C.J. Gatto too much and focused on the games. However, after hole five, I realized I had to play my own game and it was much better," Wu said.

"I started to believe I would win when I birdied the par-five 13th and held my nerve on the way. Wu Ashun is a really good player, but this week I had much confidence in my game," Wu added. "It's great to win in Xiamen because I was supported all week and the crowds were great today."

Wu's increased length off the tee was also used to great effect through the tournament and rewarded his hard work on and off the golf course during the winter.

"I hit the ball with longer time now for I've been working on my woods and long irons for the past few months. I went to the gym four times a week and it's all starting to pay off. For me, this victory is just the beginning."

(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2009)

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