2 Minutes with ... RICHARD QIU ZHIFENG
The 26-year-old golfer achieved his first professional victory in the China Tour - the Kunming leg a fortnight ago - when he took advantage of a meltdown by the champion of the Beijing leg, Li Chao, and Liao Guiming. Qiu is playing in a tournament in Shun De, Guangdong province, before going to Zhuhai this week for the next leg of the China Tour.
Tell us about your teenage years and your family.
I was born in the rural area of Meizhou in Guangdong province. My parents are villagers and I have one sister. As my family was too poor to be able to pay for my studies, I had to quit school after junior high school. I liked sports very much and took part in some track and field events such as hurdles at that time.
When did you begin your golf career?
I took a job as a caddie in a golf club in Guangzhou in 1996. At that time, I was young and had a great interest in golf, so I started playing by sneaking on to the course. A year later, I learned golf from a foreigner and was his assistant before starting my professional career. In August 2000, I passed the qualification test for Chinese professional players and then started competing in events.
What challenges did you face before your first China Tour win?
I was quite poor and couldn't afford to play in tournaments outside Guangdong. Since I needed to make a living, I had to give up golf for a long time and thought of opening a pro shop. I restarted my game and prepared for the China Tour in June when I heard of the competition.
What enabled you win the Kunming leg?
I think it was because I have a good competition status and was relaxed and without pressure. At the start, I just wanted to do my best to achieve a good result. I realised I had a chance of winning during the third and final round.
How important is winning the second leg of the China Tour?
It is a milestone in my professional career, which will help me defeat mental obstacles and gain in confidence so as to be able to plan my future and challenge myself such as playing in more tournaments in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.