Chinese number one Liang Wenchong cemented his new-found status as the mainland's best player with a superb five-under-par 65 in the first round yesterday. Earlier this year, Liang ascended to the throne formerly occupied by Zhang Lianwei. Playing in Hong Kong for the first time since stepping out of the shadow of his mentor Zhang - who has ruled for the past decade - Liang proved that his recent upswing in form was no fluke as he finished one shot behind the leaders. The 28-year-old Guangdong native later revealed that he did not dwell too much on his elevation. 'I try not to think about being the new number one. If I do that, I know it will affect my performance. I just go out and try to do my best,' said Liang after carding an eagle, four birdies and a bogey in his opening round. But he is fully aware of his responsibilities as the new flag-bearer of Chinese golf. He is now the focus of a hungry mainland golf media looking at him to provide the feel-good factor so necessary for the sport's continued growth on the mainland. And yesterday, he was delighted to be near the top of the leaderboard, especially after not doing all that well last week in Shanghai where he finished well down the field, tied 54th, at the HSBC Champions tournament. A winner of the China Amateur Open three times in a row from 1996, Liang turned professional in 1999. Although he doesn't have the best of swings - his baseball-style follow through has been described as more Barry Bonds than Ernie Els - Liang has stuck it out and his determination is finally paying dividends.