China determined to find its own Tiger Woods

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Beijing, Oct.1 (ANI): China's golf chief is determined to find a local Tiger Woods in a bid to give the sport in the country a shot in the arm.

The China Daily quoted Zhang Xiaoning, vice-president of the China Golf Association (CGA), as saying during the launch of China Amateur Golf Futures Tour (GFT) on Monday that: "When a player achieves glittering results in golf's biggest tournaments, it automatically sparks passion for the sport in his or her home country."

"Korea, Japan and even Chinese Taipei have produced a number of the world's top golf players who have inspired a great number of youngsters to follow. It's a good cycle of development for the sport," he added.

Zhang said one of the major reasons behind establishing the GFT tour was to embed it further at the sport's grassroots level and discover a local hero as soon as possible.

"A great player emerges from tournaments for teens and amateurs. Tiger Woods is the best example," he said.

Tiger, the world No 1, had a sterling career as an amateur. He won three US Junior Amateur Championship titles in a row and remains the event's youngest and only multiple winner.

So far, the best result on the international stage by a Chinese golfer has been that of Liang Wengchong at the 2007 Singapore Masters victory.

The tournament was co-sanctioned by the Asian and European tours.

Liang was the second golfer from China to win on the European Tour, after veteran Zhang Lianwei.

In 2007, Liang won the Order of Merit on the Asian Tour, becoming the first player from the Chinese mainland to do so.

In July 2008, he also became the first Chinese to make the cut at a major - the British Open at Royal Birkdale in England.

Despite his feats, chief official Zhang is aware that Liang is far from enough to stir up 'golf mania' among the younger generation and states the GFT is just the latest effort by the CGA to unearth future stars. (ANI)

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