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Aoki backs Japan for success at Mission Hills

Isao Aoki, Japan's non-playing captain for this year's inaugural Dynasty Cup team event against the Rest of Asia, believes his team will be better suited to the venue in China.

The Ryder-Cup style tournament, to be played every two years, will feature 12-man teams representing the Japan Golf Tour and the Asian PGA Tour.

It will be hosted by Mission Hills Golf Club in southern China from March 14 to 16.

"When I visited Mission Hills last October, I felt the conditions were very similar to Japan, so this is a great advantage for us," said Aoki, who is the only Japanese player to have won on both the U.S. and European Tours.

"The only difference will be the condition of the players. The players from the Asian PGA Tour will be a good part of the way through their season while it will be pre-season time for the Japanese golfers."

The Japan team, announced by Aoki on Tuesday, comprises Nobuhito Sato, Tommy Nakajima, Taichi Teshima, Hiroyuki Fujita, Katsumasa Miyamoto, Kiyoshi Murota, Toru Suzuki, Tomohiro Kondo, Yasuharu Imano, Keiichiro Fukabori, Hajime Meshiai and Katsunori Kuwabara.

Sato finished second in last year's order of merit, winning three times on the Japan Tour.

The Asian Tour have named four Thailand players in their line-up -- Thongchai Jaidee, Prayad Marksaeng, Thaworn Wiratchant, and Thammanoon Srirot.

Also in the Rest of Asia team are Taiwan's Lin Keng-chi, Indians Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh, South Koreans Kang Wook-soon and Charlie Wi, and the Chinese duo Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei.

Zhang became the first Chinese player to win an event on the European Tour when he edged out world number two Ernie Els by a shot in the Singapore Masters on Sunday.

"When the Asian team was announced earlier, I immediately noticed that many of the players regularly compete in Japan," said Aoki.

"They have a very strong side and I am really looking forward to the tournament.

The Japan team comprises the Japan Golf Tour's leading 10 players, based on an 18-month ranking system, plus two captain's picks -- Meshiai and Kuwabara.

The Rest of Asia team features the Asian Tour's top eight players, plus four wildcard picks.

Mission Hills lies just outside Shenzhen, close to China's border with Hong Kong.


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