Rising Chinese golfer no Liang shot

BEIJING - Liang Wenchong became the first Chinese to win the Asian Tour order of merit yesterday, taking another step on what he hopes will be a journey to the very top of the sport.

BEIJING - Liang Wenchong became the first Chinese to win the Asian Tour order of merit yesterday, taking another step on what he hopes will be a journey to the very top of the sport.

The 29-year-old has now clearly established himself as China's best golfer and if hard work was any guarantee of success, it would be foolhardy to bet against him achieving his goal.

After picking up the sport while working as a caddie at the first course built on the mainland under Communist rule, Liang followed closely in the footsteps of China's golfing trailblazer Zhang Lianwei.

Liang and Zhang are the only two Chinese to have played in a major and the only two to have won European Tour tournaments, but yesterday the younger man claimed a title his mentor has never captured.

It was Liang's victory in March's Singapore Masters - Zhang also won the event back in 2003 for his only European Tour title - that set the Zhongshan native on his way to being crowned Asian number one.

That win also earned Liang a two-year exemption on the European Tour, forcing him to reassess his idea of using the Japan Tour as a stepping stone to the riches of the US PGA Tour.

"I didn't expect to win in Singapore. It changed my whole plan for my career," Liang said last month. - Reuters

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