China's golf chiefs joined forces with the new OneAsia Tour so they could control their own destiny - and give their players more opportunities in tournaments like the US$2.2 million Volvo China Open. A record 36 mainlanders teed up at the Beijing CBD International Golf Club yesterday and not one managed to break the par of 72. The controversial new tour - a brainchild of Chinese, South Korean and Australian interests - was launched with no fanfare. To the casual observer it could still have been an Asian Tour event, but a closer look at the field told the story. Only 18 players - mainly from the European Tour - in the 156-strong field finished in red figures, led by 2007 China Open champion Markus Brier at five-under-par 67. An Asian Tour boycott has weakened the line-up and only the halfway cut today will save the embarrassment of many cricket scores. China number one Liang Wenchong defended the large quota for Chinese players, saying the experience they will gain will be invaluable. 'China is still developing as a golfing nation,' said Liang, who finished with an even-par 72. 'We are slowly maturing and these players need the experience. 'I am happy with how they have performed. There are a number of amateurs and a lot of players under 20 years of age. These players are the future of China.' The six amateurs shot a combined score of 56 over par, while the best performers were Liang and 23-year-old Guangzhou-born Hou Jian, who also shot par. All tournaments in China will now be under the OneAsia umbrella and offering more places for mainland players, said Zhang Xiaoning, executive vice-president of the China Golf Association. 'We didn't get enough back from the Asian Tour,' Zhang said of the split. 'The tournaments were ours, the sponsors were ours, everything was ours, but we had very low quotas for our players. And we didn't have many tournaments in China.' Elder statesman Zhang Lianwei was the last Chinese player to win the national open in 2003, and he will need some of that magic to stop another European victory after shooting 73. Austrian Brier made hay in the morning before the wind picked up to hold a one-shot lead over Englishman Nick Dougherty and Australian David McKenzie, with another China Open winner, Simon Dyson of England, alone at three-under 69. Dougherty was happiest of all, saying 'it feels like a ray of sunshine in what has been a bleak year.' 'I played as well today as I have done at any point in my career,' he said. 'It was phenomenal. I could have easily birdied every hole on the back nine. I could have been eight or nine under.'