OUYANG LEADS FUJIAN OCEAN WEST QUALIFYING WITH 4 UNDER 68

Shanghai’s Ouyang Zheng holds a one-shot lead after a four under-par round of 68 over the demanding 7,157-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at Fujian Ocean West Golf Club in the Volvo China Open Fujian Ocean West Qualifying today.

The 24-year-old’s only blemish of the round came at the par-three sixth hole, where he made a bogey, but he bounced right back with a chip in birdie on the very next hole.

Ouyang was very complimentary about the quality of the golf course and the condition the playing surfaces.

“This is a very good championship standard golf course with high quality fairways and putting surfaces, so if you keep the ball in play you should be able to score well here,” said Ouyang, who spends the winters training in the warm climate of Hainan.

“It’s a shame that the weather was so hot and humid today as I could have played even better if it had been a little cooler. However, as a professional golfer I want to play in as many high quality golf tournaments as possible and so I need to adapt to the different conditions I will find on tour.”

Ouyang could realistically have been two or three shots better than his scorecard today had his putter a little bit more cooperative than it was, despite his five birdies. Short missed birdie putts on the ninth and the 16th could have seen him well clear of the field.

In second place on three under-par is 15-year-old Chen Pei-cheng, who also dropped just one shot to par today.

The Beijing native started his round in perfect style with a birdie three on the par-four first hole and found himself at the top of the leaderboard at the turn by adding further birdies on the fifth and seventh holes.

His only blemish of the day came at the par-four 10th hole - despite a perfect drive to the middle of the fairway, to leave himself just a wedge to the green, which he overshot to leave a tricky pitch back downhill to the flag.

“I played really well today - I was so relaxed all day and I really enjoyed the round, especially playing with Wu Wei-huang,” said Chen.

“Wang Dong-yu is one of my very best friends and I was so pleased to see him win the Nansha Qualifying last month. I really hope I can get through this week and finish in the top three and then play with him in the Volvo China Open.”

Chen revealed that he goes to the USA every year for the summer holidays to train and to practice and get guidance from top class coaches. Despite this he still has schoolwork to do and is now preparing for his high school entrance exams in June.

“I usually take my assignments with me during tournaments and then concentrate on golf during the daytime and then study at night in the hotel,” commented Chen.

“When I’m at school I study from 7am to 6pm and I then do fitness training after school. I’ve been doing more fitness training recently to be able to hit my tee shots further, and I’m now averaging 300 yards on a level fairway.

“I don’t have plans to play in any other events except the Volvo China Open Qualifiers because I want to focus on my preparation for my exams in June,” added Chen, who stands 1.8m tall.

On the downhill 494-yard par-four 17th he hit his tee shot a whapping 355 yards, leaving just a wedge to 15 feet of the hole.

 Three players share third place on one under-par and no fewer than 12 players are within seven shots of the lead, so tomorrow’s final round will offer plenty of opportunity.

The leading three players after tomorrow’s final round will win a coveted place in the RMB 20 million Volvo China Open, which will be played at Topwin Golf and Country Club near Beijing at the end of next month.

FUJIAN OCEAN WEST GOLF CLUB, 16 MARCH 2018

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