China trailblazer Zhang Lianwei to continue love affair with Macau
Compatriot Liang Wenchong is also hoping to make his mark
China’s two most decorated stars, Zhang Lianwei and Liang Wenchong, will return to the US$1 million Venetian Macao Open on October 15-18 and attempt to bring the coveted trophy back to China for the first time in more than a decade.
Zhang, the only player to have won the tournament twice in its 16-year history, was the last champion from China when the Zhuhai native triumphed over Zimbabwe’s Nick Price in a dramatic five-hole play-off in 2002.
Zhang, 50, considers the Macau event as one of his favourites, having only missed one appearance due to injury and has made the cut in every other edition.
“It has a special place in my heart. I always play well here and will keep coming back as long as the organisers will have me.
“There is something about the tournament, the course and the whole experience that brings out the best in me.
“To make the cut every time in Macau is something I am very proud of and I’m looking forward to keeping this record going this year.
“The competition will be very tough once again with Ernie Els, Anirban Lahiri and Scott Hend all there, but it is an honour to be competing with these champions.”
Liang, 37, is the only player from China to have broken into the top-100 in the Official World Golf Ranking and he recorded a maiden win in Japan in June.
The 2007 Asian Tour order of merit winner is playing in Macau for the third year in a row, his best finish being a tie for 11th in 2013.
“I competed for the first time in 2013 and have grown to really enjoy it so I’ve made it a regular stop on my calendar.
“Many top players from around the region are here so you know it will get competitive and you need to be on top of your game to win.
"The tournament is in a good spot on the Asian Tour calendar and really sets the tone as we head into the latter part of the season.”