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China Signs up for Omega Kunming Leg
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The elite group of amateurs being prepared to represent China at the Doha Asian Games, are to be given another chance to test themselves against their countries top professionals. After their success at the Omega China Tour-Shanghai Leg at the start of this month, eight members of the China national team have been entered for the next week's Kunming Leg.

In Shanghai four of the six China team players made the cut, with 28-year-old Fan Zhipeng stunning everyone by challenging all week before eventually finishing fifth; results that the China Golf Association's Deputy Secretary General Li Yong described as 'surprisingly good'.

"I want them to play tournaments as training, and train as if they're playing in real tournaments. I believe there will be more surprises in the Kunming Leg," said Li.

For next week's tournament at the Kunming Country Golf Club in Yunnan province the six players have been augmented by arguably two of their strongest members, Alex Wu Ashun and Wu Kangchun.

21-year-old Alex Wu has had two top 10 finishes on the Omega China Tour this year, while Wu Kangchun has already won in Kunming in 2006 on the CITIC Forward China Amateur Tour. With those added to the line-up for Kunming their team manager is confident that the team can shine again.

" I think they will play well in the Kunming Leg, I'm even quite confident about them finishing in the top 10, because compare to the pros, they have more help and support" said the China team manager Jason Sung Ming-feng.

"The pros are all individuals, they can only judge their game from their own experiences so, many times they don't know what they have done wrong. I think that's the biggest problem for the Chinese players. Everyone has a beautiful swing and can hit long drives, but beautiful swings and long drives don't win you tournaments. The key is to know what strategy you should take on a certain course and in certain situations. I see Chinese players always being overly aggressive, attacking too much when it's not really necessary."

The national team squad, which also includes 14-year-old Benny Je Jianfeng, 20-year-old James Yang Wenzhang, 22-year-old John Zhou Jun, 24-year-old David Wei Wei and 29-year-old Tony Tang Wei, have all been drilled in strategy and psychology during an intensive 2-month training camp at the Omega China Tour's Shandong Leg venue Tiger Beach Golf Links, and Jason Sung believes that showed in their mature displays in Shanghai.

"They've learned course management. They've learned to judge when should they be aggressive and when should they play safe, also reading the greens and studying the pin positions," Sung said.

Those skills will be needed again on the mountainous Kunming course, a tree-lined 6,884-yard track that will test the patience of the players with its numerous dog-legs.

"You can leave your driver in the locker room," smiled Kunming professional Chen Jian, whose 20 th place in the Shanghai Leg was his best result on the Omega China Tour.

"When I practice I only use driver for two holes. It's not a long course, but it's an interesting mountain course that tests your skill for playing blind shots."

Once again the national team squad are likely to find themselves grouped with some of the Omega China Tour's elite players in a field of 92, which includes Order of Merit leader and Shanghai Leg winner Zhang Lianwei and last year's winner Li Chao.

" I don't think they have much pressure when playing with these leading Chinese pros because nobody will be surprised to see them lose, in fact, I think it's Zhang Lianwei and Li Chao who are under big pressure when playing with these guys," said Jason Sung

"In the training camp, we gave our players some psychological training; there was a psychologist helping them in how to handle pressure and boost their confidence. I think they have gained a lot from it," he added.

( September 14, 2006)

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