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Woods, McIlroy square up in Zhengzhou for Duel at Jinsha Lake
October 29, 2012

World number one Rory McIlroy hopes his experience of playing two holes at Jinsha Lake Golf Club will give him a head start against 14-time Major champion Tiger Woods when they contest the 18-hole Duel at Jinsha Lake on Monday.

The world's top two players are the only competitors in the match-medal event that will be contested over the 7,039-yard, par-72 layout at Jinsha Lake Golf Club in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province.

McIlroy, 23, could enjoy a small advantage after playing the 10th and 11th holes at Jinsha Lake last October during the week-long, seven-city China Golf Challenge. The Northern Irishman enjoyed a rock star's reception at the club - which used the occasion to launch its Golf Villa development - and is looking forward to returning and playing all 18 holes against a player he grew up admiring.

"I'm excited about going back to Jinsha Lake as we had an awesome time last year and the fans were really excited. However, it was a flying visit - in and out on the same day - so I'm looking forward to playing all 18 holes and spending a bit more time at the club," McIlroy said.

"Tiger was a hero of mine growing up and having watched him on TV doing all these incredible things, it's now pretty cool to be able to get to know him personally and play against him competitively."

Both the Duel contenders are in sparkling form. McIlroy won four PGA Tour titles this year including his second Major to establish himself at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, while a rejuvenated Woods won three PGA Tour titles and moved up to number two.

Woods, 36, is a massive draw as he appears for the first time in Zhengzhou, a city not used to hosting world-famous sports stars until last year's China Golf Challenge featuring McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Liang Wenchong.

Woods, who was world number one for a record 623 weeks, competed in Malaysia last week and was scheduled to arrive in Zhengzhou on Sunday evening. Although both players have had long seasons, the American believes the competitive juices will start flowing from the first tee-shot at Jinsha Lake.

"Rory and I have both been competing in Asia this week, so we're pretty acclimated and ready for this. Recently we've played a lot of golf together and it's been fun, but nothing like this," said Woods, whose 100 career wins include 74 PGA Tour titles, second only to Sam Snead.

"I've played in China many times over the years and I'm always happy to see that there's a genuine interest in the game. I'm looking forward to seeing how golf has grown in the country. It'll be good to see this for myself in Zhengzhou and I'm confident the fans will enjoy the day. I know I will."

McIlroy has been in China for the past week, finishing runner-up in the BMW Masters in Shanghai, and is also a supporter of promoting the sport in the world's most populous country.

"It's great that the game's growing all over the world and hopefully events like the Duel at Jinsha Lake can grow golf even further. We're going to China more and more these days and playing a match against Tiger in this country is going to be great. It's something I've been really looking forward to," McIlroy said.

"The most important thing is that we put on a show for everyone who turns up and hopefully we both play some good golf. We will both be trying our best to win, that's for sure!"

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