Cheng in lead for Omega top spot

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 1997, 12:00am


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Volvo China Open winner Cheng Jun is leading the race for the Omega Tour Order of Merit title.

The 28-year-old Chinese jumped to top spot in the standings released yesterday with US$79,250 after six legs thanks to his first prize cheque of US$72,000 in Beijing.

He is US$5,625 ahead of second placed Mike Cunning of the United States, who was joint third in the Volvo China Open.

Cheng, one of the first mainland Chinese to take up golf in 1985 after the authorities lifted a ban on what was viewed as a 'decadent sport', put three years of despair behind him last week as he raced to victory by five strokes.

There are only a handful of professional golfers in China and Cheng is the first to lead the Order of Merit. His compatriot Zhang Lianwei , winner of the Volvo Asian Matchplay Championships last December, has grabbed most of the spotlight since they both joined the play-for-pay ranks in 1994, but Cheng thinks that he may have finally turned the corner.

'I love the game but the last few years have been very painful for me,' said Cheng. 'The main problem I think has been psychological. I have always found it very difficult to forget the bad shots you hit on the course.

'I have had to learn to concentrate on each shot 100 per cent.

'I am proud to be top of the Order of Merit and I will do my best to stay there.'