With a strong finish and even stronger support, China's star pair confident of bigger and better things next year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 November, 2007, 12:00am

Flag bearer Zhang Lianwei believes that the only way is up after China yesterday recorded their best finish at a golf World Cup.

'We're a great team - the best China has had - and we'll do even better next year,' said Zhang after China fired an impressive round of 68 to end the US$5 million event in a share of 11th place.

Spurred on by enormous partisan galleries, the mainland duo of Liang Wenchong and Zhang racked up six birdies and just two bogeys in the final-day foursomes to finish 17 under par on 271, eight strokes off the play-off mark set by champions Scotland and runners-up the United States.

'We're really happy with the way we finished,' said Liang, the UBS Asian Tour Order of Merit leader. 'To make six birdies is a very good achievement. I think we complemented each other very well all week.'

Zhang, who partnered Liang in their previous best finish of tied 17th at the 2001 edition of the event, paid tribute to the estimated 30,000 fans who were following the home nation around the hilly Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club, saying: 'The support we received was fantastic. We just went out to try our best for them - it's great to see so many people watching us.'

Had it not been for a calamitous finish to their second round, however, Zhang and Liang could well have picked up a substantially bigger cheque than the US$87,500 they received for their efforts this week.

'Nobody wanted to see that big ugly 7,' said Zhang in reference to the triple bogey on the par-four 12th that effectively ended their chances of challenging for the title.

Liang, who has committed himself to playing more on the European Tour next year, believes the experience was vital and could lead to success in future World Cups, which are scheduled to be played at Mission Hills for the next 11 years.

'We learnt a lot about team play this week,' said Liang, 29. 'I always enjoy partnering with Zhang.'