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Golfer Chan from Chinese Taipei Believes in Big Chance in Beijing
    2008-10-08 04:36:21     Xinhua
Chan Yih-shin is hoping it will be third time lucky at this week's RMB1 million Omega Championship at the Beijing Longxi Hotspring Golf Club, where he aims to become the fourth Chinese Taipei invite to win on this year's Omega China Tour.

Experienced Chinese Taipei pros have won four of the circuit's last five tournaments ahead of this week's season-ending finale.

Lu Wen-teh, 45, led the way with victory in April's Kunming Championship and was followed in Shanghai by Hsu Mong-nan, 34, while last month Tsai Chi-huang, now 40, won back-to-back events in Chengdu and Tianjin .

Chan, 31, is now determined to follow-up his second and third-place finishes in March as he competes for the third time on this season's eight-event circuit along with good friend and compatriot Hsu, himself appearing for a record sixth time.

"I think I have a big chance of winning this week," smiled Chan, who finished fourth in last year's Order of Merit on his domestic circuit.

"I'm playing pretty well and would like to win after coming close in the first two events. I'm here to win, like everyone else."

The short, stocky Chan and the lean, rangy Hsu finished joint runners-up to Zhang Lianwei in the season opener in Guangzhou , while Chan finished third and Hsu tied fifth behind the victorious Li Chao in the Dell Championship in Xiamen .

Two months later, Hsu lifted his first Omega China Tour trophy after coming from behind in fierce winds in Shanghai .

"I was in Shanghai with Lu Wen-teh and he had just won in Kunming to become the first Chinese Taipei player to win on the Omega China Tour," Hsu said. "He told me that maybe it was my turn to win that week and it worked out well for me, so maybe it's Chan Yih-shin's turn this week."

Like Chan, Hsu is also in good form, having last month finished fourth in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on the Asian Tour and third at the Omega China Tour's Tianjin Championship.

Much of the focus this week is on Liao Guiming, the current Omega Order of Merit leader, and Li Chao, who could yet capture his third money-list title in four seasons if he wins this week and Liao finishes outside the top three.

Beijing-based Jim Johnson, who played all four rounds of the 1998 US Open, looks set to finish as the highest-ranked foreign PGA player on this year's Tour. The towering American, 43, lies in seventh place on the Omega Order of Merit with RMB91,250, with Hong Kong-based Nick Redfern of England , on RMB61,400, his nearest challenger.

Other foreigners in this week's event include Beijing-based Australian Garth Cusick and Zhuhai-based Mark Giles, while Wong Woon-man, Jovick Lee Wing-kei, James Stewart and South African Jason Robertson are all up from Hong Kong .

The purse of RMB1 million (about US$146,000) is the biggest ever on the Omega China Tour, while the Mark Hollinger-designed 7,332-yard championship layout, which opened in March 2007, is one of the longest on the circuit and set to provide a tough test.

"Considering the site was quite small, it's great that we've designed a championship-length course worthy of the Omega China Tour," said Hollinger, a Partner at JMP Golf Design Group.

"For a chance at birdie or par on the long par-fours, the players will have to keep the ir drives in the fairway as the bluegrass rough can be difficult to play from. To shoot low, the y also need to stay out of the sand because the re are some massive bunkers.

"All the par-three holes are very challenging, with hole 16 (186 yards) being particularly beautiful, while holes two and five, both par-fours, are distinctive as the y share a double green," he added.

James Su Dong, the big-hitting 18-year-old amateur, admitted: "It's pretty tough. I had to take a four-iron for my second shot on some of the long par-fours, which I rarely do, so it's definitely a long layout."

Meanwhile, Benny Ye Jianfeng (16), Zhang Xinjun (21), Kevin Huang Wenyi (24) and Huo Wei (26), who have all excelled on the Omega China Tour, were selected to represent China in next week's World Amateur Team Championships for the Eisenhower Trophy in Adelaide . They fly to Australia on Saturday.

The third Omega Championship will be staged for the first time at the Beijing Longxi Hotspring Golf Club after two successful editions at the Tianan Golf Club, also in the capital, when Liang Wenchong and Zhang emerged as champions.

The Beijing Longxi Hotspring Golf Club, which opened in April 2004, is attached to a five-star resort in the Daxing District in the south of the capital. The winner of this year's Omega Order of Merit will be crowned at the Tour's prestigious Gala Dinner at the Sofitel Wanda Beijing on the evening of October 12



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