Rising Taiwan golf star Pan Cheng-tsung heads to Macau after taking Canada by storm
Having quickly made a name for himself on the Canadian tour, Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung will test himself against the best in Asia at the US$1 million Venetian Macao Open next month.
Pan beat highly rated Swede Robert Karlsson by two shots in the Players Cup on the PGA Tour Canada in July, only a month after turning pro.
The 23-year-old, who spent eight weeks in 2013 as the world’s top-ranked amateur, has been granted a sponsor’s exemption to compete at the Macau Golf and Country Club from October 15 to 18.
“It has been a steep, but positive, learning curve since I turned professional a couple of months ago,” said Pan, a graduate of the University of Washington. “The amateur scene is very tough, but this is a different world altogether in terms of the intensity, level of play, and concentration that is required.
“Getting to number one on the amateur rankings was a huge achievement and it will be a dream come true if I can reach number one in the professional rankings, too. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I will work as hard as I can to get there.
“While practice can make perfect, nothing beats playing against the best professional players in the world in a competitive environment. Being among the world-class field in Macau is exactly what I need to keep improving. I am very thankful to be granted a sponsor’s invite and I hope I make the most out of it.”
He will be joined at the Asian Tour event by China’s much-touted Guan Tianlang, who continues to gain experience in professional events and is in no hurry to turn professional.
Guan, the youngest-ever player to make the cut at a major (finishing 58th at the Masters at 14 years of age), has continued to develop his game on the junior and amateur scene. “I am very happy to play in Macau this year as it offers a precious opportunity to keep learning. I will continue to work hard to achieve my life-long ambition,” the 16-year-old Guangzhou native said.
José Tavares, president of Macau Sports Development Board, said: “Pan and Guan are two of the biggest emerging talents from the Greater China region so it is very exciting to see both of them joining us for the first time in their careers.
“It will provide a great platform for the two youngsters to gauge where they are with their game. We are delighted to be able to play a part in the development of their respective careers.”
Defending champion and Asian number one Anirban Lahiri of India, 2013 champion Scott Hend of Australia and four-time major winner Ernie Els of South Africa have already confirmed their participation in Macau.