|< Prev||Next >|
An Asia-Pacific select side rallied from behind with a string of powerful singles performances on Sunday to beat Team China 14 1/2 - 9 1/2 in the Ryder Cup-style Dongfeng Nissan Cup at the CTS Tycoon Club in Shenzhen, China.
Trailing 7-5 after the fourball and foursome rounds, the Asia-Pacific team won nine and halved one of the 12 singles matches to retain the trophy they claimed at the inaugural OneAsia event last year.
China's sole victories on the final day came from veteran Zhang Lianwei, considered the father of professional golf in the country, and Liang Wenchong, who succeeded him as the mainland's best and most successful player.
But it was left to the next generation to lead the way on Sunday when China sent out 14-year-old amateur sensation Guan Tianlang in the first singles match against New Zealander Mark Brown -- who was winning tournaments before his young opponent was even born.
"He certainly has a future," Brown said after securing a 2 & 1 victory against Guan, who next year will be the youngest ever player to compete in the U.S. Masters having secured a spot by virtue of winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur championship last month.
"He plays so well that it's easy to forget just how young he is."
China has invested heavily in pulling together a national squad to fly the flag in Brazil when golf makes a return to the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and their Dongfeng Nissan players form the backbone of that squad.
Newly named Olympic captain Liang Wenchong led by example and raced five-up against fellow OneAsia Order of Merit winner Andre Stolz before taking his foot off the gas and easing out a 3 & 1 winner.
Jin Daxing managed to squeeze a half for China against Choo Tze Huang in the fourth match, but from then it was a procession in blue -- summed up by Jason Kang's 6 & 5 victory against Yuan Hao.
The biggest win of the day, however, belonged to the veteran Zhang, who was shaking hands on the 12th against Soushi Tajima after winning 7 & 5.
It was left to Asia-Pacific playing vice-captain Scott Laycock -- who didn't lose a match all weekend -- to wrap up the proceedings against Zhang Xinjun with a birdie putt on the 18th for a one-up victory.
"I am very proud of the way the players came together on the final day," said Asia-Pacific captain Peter Thomson, the legendary five-time Open Championship winner and the first Australian to be inducted in world golf's Hall of Fame.
"I wasn't sure we would be able to pull if off after the first two rounds, but the players buckled down and showed great character in the singles."
China captain Wang Jun said he was disappointed, but said the team would learn from the defeat.
"I hope we can come back stronger and next year score our first victory."
Result: Asia-Pacific 14 1/2, China 9 1/2
Singles (Chinese names first): Guan Tianlang (A) lost to Mark Brown (2&1), Liang Wenchong beat Andre Stolz (3&1), Ouyang Zheng lost to Rory Hie (2&1), Jin Daxing halved with Choo Tze Huang, Zhou Guowu lost to Nicholas Fung (one up), Yuan Tian lost to Yosuke Tsukada (4&3), Wu Weihuang lost to Michael Long (3&2), Wu Kangchun lost to Wisut Artjanawat (3&2), Han Ren lost to Choi Jin-ho (3&2), Yuan Hao lost to Jason Kang (6&5), Zhang Lianwei beat Soshi Tajima (7&6), Zhang Xinjun Scott Laycock.
- 09/12/2012 16:49 - Super Schwartzel cruises to 11-stroke win at Thailand Golf Championship, Bubba Watson comes tied second
- 04/12/2012 11:37 - Mixed Emotions for golf stars over Long putter ban
- 02/12/2012 16:53 - Phatlum wins Hero Women's Indian Open third time; Aditi best Indian