The stage is now set for the final three Volvo China Open Qualifying places to be decided this week in picturesque Yunnan province.

Anhui-born Chen Jian has made Kunming his home for the past 10 years and quite naturally knows the 7,300-yard Phil Mickelson-designed course very well, and has a personal course record here of 66.

Chen, 42, formerly a hotel manager, took up golf at the age of 25 while working in Shenzhen. Several years ago he featured on the cover of a leading US golf magazine as one of China’s self-taught players to have won a professional event.

“It’s good thing that the Volvo China Open Qualifying has come to Yunnan province for the very first time,” commented Chen, “I hope it will come back many more times as it provides a good opportunity for local players to learn from other more experienced players.

“The qualifying tournaments are very good because they give the unique opportunity to win a place in our national open, but each event takes up only three days of our time.

“I’m hopeful of doing well this week as I know this course very well and I am familiar with the weather and other conditions in this part of China.”

Amateur player Xie Qian-tong, 16, from Ningbo played very well last week in the Fujian Ocean West Qualifying event and revealed today that he has qualified to represent China in the 18th Asian Games, which will take place in Indonesia in August and September this year.

Having come so close last week – finishing tied eighth and three shots out of the play off for the final place, he has every reason to expect to do well here this week.

“I played very well in Xiamen and was so close to qualifying,” said Xie, who speaks English and Japanese fluently. “Hopefully I can do even better this week and win one of the three qualifying spots for the Volvo China Open.

“I plan to play conservatively tomorrow as there are some tricky holes on this golf course, and it would be easy to spoil a good round by being too aggressive,” added Xie, who took up the game when he was just five years old.

Yang Fang, 29, is the only female player in the field and comes from Hunan province, however she has been based at Kunming Jialize Sports Club for the past few months.

Yang’s coach, Suh Bomi, was one of Korea’s leading players and competed regularly on the Ladies European Tour and the Korean LPGA Tour. She won the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in 2009 and placed second in the prestigious Korea Ladies Open in 2012.

More recently she won the Wuhan Challenge in 2015, an event on the Chinese LPGA Tour.

“I will do my best to play well as I have had great support from my family and friends, who have supported me in my quest to become a professional golfer,” said Yang, who was a late starter by taking up golf just 10 years ago.

“The length of the golf course from the men’s tees is obviously my biggest challenge, but I will try my best to score well and also to learn from the male players.

“My coach has given me very good advice so if I follow the game plan I should be OK.

(2018-03-26 Kunming)

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