Feb 20th, 2019
Liang clinches Volvo China Open qualifying place
With victory in Amateur Qualifying Final
Guangdong’s Liang En Qi will line up alongside many of the world’s best golfers at the 2019 Volvo China Open after winning the tournament’s Amateur Qualifying Final at Mission Hills Golf Club in Haikou, Hainan Province.
The overnight leader carded a final round level-par 72 to finish two-under-par (142) for the 36-hole event and win by two strokes from 13-year-old Wu Dian Chao (144).
Although Wu led by one shot with eight holes to play, a superb chip for an eagle three on the 12th gave Liang a two-shot advantage going into the home straight and the 17-year-old held his nerve to secure a place at the 25th Volvo China Open in Shenzhen (May 2-5).
“It’s a dream come true for me to play in the Volvo China Open”, said a delighted Liang, whose rounds of 70 and 72 over the Sandbelt Trails Course finally saw him win a qualifying event for China’s National Open Golf Championship at the fourth attempt. “I was very nervous playing in the final group with players of a similar level so the eagle on the 12th was the key moment for me. I definitely relaxed a little after that.”
After first appearing in the 2013 Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship, Liang has been trying to qualify for the National Open since 2016 and with his place now secure is already planning ahead for his debut alongside the European Tour big guns.
“I have to thank the Hunan team who have supported me throughout and my father who will hopefully caddy for me at the Volvo China Open.
“With that kind of support, I’ll try and do my very best. I’ll even go to Shenzhen in advance of the tournament to familiarize and adapt to the golf course.”
For Wu it was a second successive runners-up spot after narrowly missing out on victory at the Volvo China Open Junior Match Play Championship in December. But the precocious youngster will have another chance after securing an invite to play in the Volvo China Open Domestic Qualifying tournament from March 18-20.
Also guaranteed a place in the Domestic Qualifying event are Pu Xi and Lin Yu Xin, who both shot 73 (+1) to finish tied in third place on one-over par (145), and Zongzeng Hao Qi who claimed fifth place on two over (146). The four will compete for nine tournament places when they play alongside male and female Chinese professionals over 36 holes at Guangzhou Nansha Golf Club.
Still only 13, Wu briefly led the 60-player Amateur Qualifying Final by one shot on two-under par after a superb front nine 35 (-2) that included an eagle three on the eighth. But a bogey five on the 11th saw him drop back into a tie with Liang before his rival hit back with his own eagle on twelve followed by five pars in the final six holes.
“My putting wasn’t very good today and overall I don’t think my game was good enough for the windy conditions,” said Wu after rounds of 71 and 73. “But I have another chance at Nansha and I’ll go there looking for a good result.”
Title sponsored by Volvo and promoted by Mitime Sports, the Amateur Qualifying Final was the first of three qualifying tournaments offering coveted playing spots in the line-up at the 25th Volvo China Open. Next up is the International Qualifying event at Guangzhou Nansha Golf Club from March 13-15.