Huang wants Luxehills win for his son
Huang Mingjie has a small but special reason for wanting to win his first Omega China Tour victory at this week’s Luxehills Golf Championship in his native Chengdu. The baby-faced 27-year-old wants to give the trophy to his first child, Tianqi, who was born on June 29.
Huang’s chances of becoming the fourth successive first-time winner on the Tour have improved due to the absence of Zhang Lianwei and Li Chao, who are both competing in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland. Between them, Zhang and Li have won 14 of the 23 events played since the circuit’s inauguration in 2005, including the first two events of 2008.
“I’m very happy to be a father and I want to give the trophy to my son if I win. I’ll try my best to win this week, but even though Zhang and Li are not playing, there are many other good players,” said Huang, a top-five finisher in the Omega Order of Merit for the past two seasons.
“I didn’t play well in the first half of the year, so I’m looking to play better in front my home fans this week and rise up the Omega Order of Merit. In fact, my son could be among the crowds this weekend.”
The RMB800,000 event, which was postponed from its original June dates due to the Sichuan Earthquake on May 12, will be contested from September 4-7 over the 7,335-yard, Mark Hollinger-designed layout at the Luxehills International Country Club.
Chinese Taipei stars Tsai Chi-huang and Chou Hung-nan and Hong Kong pros Wong Woon-man and Yau Sui-ming are among the invites for the sixth event of this year’s Omega China Tour, which resumes following a three-month break for the Olympics.
Tsai, only the third player to have won Chinese Taipei’s three ‘Majors’ during his career, believes he will have his work cut out trying to follow the lead of compatriots Lu Wen-teh and Hsu Mong-nan, who won this year’s Kunming and Shanghai championships respectively.
“This will be my third event on the Tour, but the players have improved so much since I played for the first time in Shanghai last year, so I’m just looking to do well,” said Tsai, who is based in Shanghai.
Liao Guiming’s dramatic play-off victory over Zhang in May’s Sofitel Golf Championship, held the week after Shanghai, secured his first victory on Tour and made him the fifth different champion in the season’s first five tournaments. Liao currently lies second in the Omega Order of Merit behind Zhang and ahead of third-placed Li.
Hong Kong-based James Stewart, one of the foreign PGA members to qualify for this year’s Tour, says he’s also hoping to continue the recent run of first-time winners.
“I’d like to be the first foreigner, or ‘white guy’, to win on the Omega China Tour,” the 33-year-old said. “I went through a rough patch at the beginning of the year and I’m gradually getting my game back on track, so would like to think that I could play better in upcoming events. I’ve been working hard on my game and would be delighted to see the work pay off.”
Luxehills, which announced its title sponsorship of the event earlier this year, is fast gaining recognition as one of China’s top golf clubs and will play host to the country’s Ninth National Golf Clubs General Managers Conference from October 13-16.
September 1, 2008