The incentive of playing at Augusta will have added value for China’s Jin Cheng and Australian Ryan Ruffels at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which tees off on Thursday at the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club. Both golfers have teammates who have used the event to qualify for the US Masters at Georgia’s hallowed golf course, with Australia’s Antonio Murdaca winning last year’s tournament by seven shots at Royal Melbourne and Chinese sensation Guan Tianlang becoming the youngest winner, at 14, in the 2012 event in Thailand. Hong Kong golfers love the homely feeling Murdaca failed to reach the weekend at this year’s Masters with scores of 78 and 73. Guan, however, became the youngest golfer to make the Masters cut in 2013, finishing 58th at three-over-par 300. Guan’s teammate in Hong Kong this week, Jin, is the highest-ranked Chinese player in the 120-strong field and would love to emulate Guan by qualifying for Augusta. “I think for all Chinese players, Guan is our role model because he made it to Augusta and he made the cut,” said 17-year-old Beijing-born Jin, whose best finish at this tournament was a tie for 12th last year. “When you make the cut in Augusta at 14 that is a great achievement. Guan tells us a lot about Augusta and it sounds really fun and provides a big motivation for us.” When you make the cut in Augusta at 14 that is a great achievement. Guan tells us a lot about Augusta and it sounds really fun and provides a big motivation for us Jin Cheng Ruffels, 17, is the highest-ranked player in the tournament at eight, and finished fourth in last year’s event in Melbourne. “Every one knows what they want to do, they want to win and get to the Masters, which is the carrot,” said Ruffels, 17. “Antonio blew us away a little bit last year. We all got to hear about his experiences at the Masters so that’s a big motivation for us to get there as well.” The winner on Sunday of the 72-hole stroke-play event over the 5,956-metre course receives an invitation to play at next year’s US Masters and gains entry into the qualifying series for the British Open. Guan and Murdaca will try to repeat their victories this week at Clearwater Bay with the Chinese golfer saying he is a better play now than he was when winning in 2012. “I’ve been looking forward to this event for the last few months, I’ve done a lot of preparation for this week and feeling comfortable,” said Guan. “This is probably one of the strongest Chinese teams ever so I think we have a pretty good chance of bringing the trophy home.” Also in the Chinese squad is 15-year-old Ye Wocheng, the youngest player in the competition this week. Ye, who turned 15 on September 2, is making his first appearance in the tournament and was also the youngest player to compete in a European Tour event when he teed off in the 2013 China Open at age 12. He missed the cut.