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China has picked its strongest possible team -- including veteran Zhang Lianwei and four-time OneAsia winner Liang Wenchong -- to take on an Asia-Pacific select side for the Dongfeng Nissan Cup in Shenzhen later this month.
The Ryder Cup-style team tournament was held for the first time last year when the Asia-Pacific won 12 1/2 to 11 1/2 on a gripping final day of singles after the teams were level 3 - 3 following the fourball matches and 6 - 6 following the foursomes.
This year's event, also held under the OneAsia umbrella, will take place at the CTS Tycoon (Shenzhen) Golf Club, just across the border from Hong Kong, from November 30 to December 2.
"Every year China's golfers are improving, and events like this give us an opportunity to measure our ability against the best in the Asia-Pacific and around the world," said Zhang Xiaoning, Director of the Multi-Ball Games Administrative Centre at the General Administration of Sport, and Deputy Chairman and Secretary General of the China Golf Association.
Team China will be led for a second time by Wang Jun, Secretary-General of the China PGA and former chairman of the state investment company CITIC. His vice-captains are Cheng Jun, Pang Zheng and Li Qinghua, while the team is coached by Xu Xiaoming and Feng Wenhui.
The Asia-Pacific team, to be announced next week, will be captained by legendary Australian Peter Thomson -- winner of five Open Championships and inducted into golf's Hall of Fame.
Team China boasts a potent blend of youth and experience, with the evergreen Zhang, 47, considered the father of professional golf on the mainland, making his debut.
Zhang, a former caddie who won China's amateur title three times, before turning professional in 1994, triumphed four times on the Asian Tour and once on the European Tour, when he famously beat Ernie Els into second place at the Caltex Singapore Masters in 2003.
Also included in the China team are Liang, a four-time winner on OneAsia including last month's Nanshan China Masters, and Wu Ashun, currently the mainland's leading golfer and ranked 176th in the world following his breakthrough victory at the Toshin Golf Tournament on the Japan Tour earlier this year.
Other members of the team are Hu Mu, Zhang Xinjun, Yuan Hao, Han Ren, Su Dong, Huang Wenyi, Li Haotong, Wu Weihuang and Jin Daxing, who have all played on OneAsia this season.
"The friendly yet highly competitive spirit in which the event is played cannot fail to increase the popularity of golf in China, and attract even more players and fans to the game," said Zhang Xiaoning.
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