Tuesday March 19, 2013
Lian-wei and team-mates ready to face Els and company
CHIANGMAI: China’s trailblazer Zhang Lian-wei and rising stars Hu Mu and Ye Jian-feng will converge at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic next week as they go head-to-head with Major champions Ernie Els, Michael Campbell, Y.E. Yang and the Asian Tour’s top stars.
The US$750,000 full-field Asian Tour event will be staged at the magnificent Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai from March 28-31, signalling the first time that Chiangmai will host a world class golf tournament.
Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee, Boonchu Ruangkit, Chapchai Nirat, Prom Meesawat and Chawalit Plaphol, winner of the season-opening Zaykabar Myanmar Open last month, will spearhead the local charge in the region’s newest event.
The 47-year-old Lian-wei has blazed a golden trail for Chinese golf since he broke onto the scene in the mid-1990s. The self-taught golfer is his country’s most successful golfer with five Asian Tour victories under his belt and despite his age, he believes he can still compete at the highest level on the Asian Tour.
“I have enjoyed my time on the Asian Tour as it allowed me to grow and become a truly international player. Through the Tour, I’ve had the opportunity to play in different countries and experience different cultures across Asia which helped me to develop as a golfer,” said Lian-wei.
The 23-year-old Hu Mu, who is touted as the next great Chinese hope, has taken up membership with the Asian Tour this season as he seeks to establish himself on the region’s premier Tour.
Hu Mu finished tied 39th in Myanmar last month and believes he can continue to make good progress in his career.
“I see a lot of good things and I just need to put everything together. I am already committed to playing a full season on the Asian Tour and I’m looking forward to it,” said Hu Mu, who trains under American swing guru David Leadbetter.
Jian-feng has a slice of record on his part as the Asian Tour’ youngest player following his participation in the 2004 Sanya Open in China at the age of 13.