He Ze-yu and Li Jian-shan both returned scores of three under-par 68 after the opening round of the Volvo China Open Guangzhou Nansha Qualifying today.

On a perfect day for scoring – no wind and mild weather, the pair took advantage of the opportunity to make multiple birdies on the perfect Nansha greens.

He Ze-yu recorded no less than eight threes in his round, including four in a row from the ninth, which was an eagle three. Double bogeys on the third and the eighth holes took some of the sting out what might have been an exceptional round of golf, given that he rolled in seven birdie putts and one eagle in total.

“I’ve been training in the US recently so the qualifying event is ideal for me to gage my progress,” said He, 26, who lives in nearby Shenzhen. “I’m confident that if I play my best tomorrow I can qualify, and so this event actually gives me a taste of the Volvo China Open atmosphere in advance.”

Starting from the 10th, Li began his round with two bogeys but turned in level after birdies on the 12th and 18th holes. His only blemish came at the difficult par-four sixth hole on his back nine but the four birdies he also made saw his name highlighted at the top of the leaderboard.

The 39-year-old Beijing native, who now lives in Shenzhen, said that he didn’t play as much last year as he spent time at home to look after his eight-month-old son.

“I didn’t play as many tournaments last year but I worked on my physical fitness by doing gym work and distance running,” said Li. “I lost 10kgs by working out and I’m in pretty good shape right now.

“I’ve played in Volvo China Open Qualifying many times in the past but today is my best result so far,” added Li, who has his own golf apparel business in Shenzhen.

“I really enjoyed the Nansha golf course today in spite of making bogeys on my first two holes. I adjusted my strategy a little after those two dropped shots and everything went well after that. I plan to do my best tomorrow and I hope to qualify for the Volvo China Open.”

Three players are tied in third place – Li Xin-yang, Jin Qi-hui and amateur Zhang Zi-hong, who had his father working as his caddie today.

Jin recorded three birdies in a bogey-free back nine of 32 while Li made five birdies on the difficult front nine also for a 32.

“The organization of the Volvo China Open Qualifying events is much better than other events in China,” said Li Xin-yang, who made the long drive to the event from his home in Haikou in Hainan province.

“I played OK today – I didn’t have my A game but I kept the ball in play pretty well,” added Li, 23, who has qualified for the Volvo China Open three times in the past.

“I might not be available to compete in the next two qualifying events in Fujian and Yunnan so I very much hope to qualify tomorrow.”

Jin was the first player to tee off at 8am on the 10th hole this morning and his two under score of 69 was his best performance in the 15 times he has played in the qualifiers.

“I’m really pleased with well how I played today – especially as the greens were so tricky,” said Jin, who spends most of his time working as a coach.

“It’s good to see so many young players in the field doing well,” added Jin, 35. “We have very good international coaches in China now so the standard of the young players is rising all the time.”

Zhang Zi-hong, 18, the tallest player in the field at 198cm, is playing in his third Volvo China Open qualifier and is currently the leading amateur player on two under-par, so is well placed to win through to the Volvo China Open.

Yang Yi-nong held the lead for much of round having made eagles on the two par-fives on the front nine but signed for a one under-par 70 after dropping three shots on the 15th and 16th.

Amateur Wang Dong-yu and She Zi-han were the only other players to finish on par or better so both are well in with a chance at qualifying tomorrow.






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