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Liang Wen-chong seeking home victory

China 's Liang Wen-chong is pushing for home glory at the US$1.3 million Volvo China Open next week to cap a memorable year, both on and off the fairways

The talented 27-year-old achieved his main goal of keeping his playing privileges on both the Asian Tour and in Japan , and is now determined to sign off his 2005 campaign in style.

Off the course, it has been memorable for Liang , China 's highest ranked player in the world, as he got married earlier in the year and then welcomed the arrival of his first child, a son, recently.

He feels the only jigsaw missing to his 2005 season is a first major title.

"It is the dream of every Chinese golfer to win the Volvo China Open and hopefully I can do it some day, if not this year, then in the near future," said Liang.

"I'm happy with my season this year as I've kept my card in Asia and Japan . In some respects, it has been quite a difficult year as I have had to juggle between playing and getting married and then having our first child.

"But it's all been good and becoming a father has sort of changed my perspective in life as I'm playing for my family now. I think I've made progress this year and I would really like to start winning tournaments in Asia or Japan .

"I hope to do it soon, hopefully before the year is up or next year. That is a big goal of mine."

The man touted as the immediate successor to Zhang Lian-wei , China 's flagbearer over the past decade, gets his chance at Shenzhen Golf Club when the Volvo China Open, jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, celebrates its 11th edition from November 24-27.

It was in China 's national Open in 1999 that Liang burst onto the scene by finishing fourth when he was still an amateur. He subsequently developed into a fine player worthy of succeeding Zhang, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour and also a former Volvo China Open champion.

"I will always remember well of the fourth place finish. That was a very good week and I played nicely. Soon after, I made the decision to turn professional," said Liang, who earned a footnote in Asian golf history when he shot the Tour's 100th hole in one in 2002.

While he has won several domestic titles, Liang craves for a big one and has come close in Asia several times. This season, Liang has performed consistently with three top-10s on the Asian Tour, including twice in co-sanctioned events with Europe . In Japan , he has registered five top-15s.

Liang hopes to tap on Zhang's home course knowledge when the Volvo China Open rolls up next week. He has played practice rounds at Shenzhen Golf Club where Zhang is attached to and says it is one of China 's most "special" golf courses.

"It's a special golf course and is very challenging with a good layout. The biggest defence is its undulating greens and they are often very slick and firm as well. I always enjoy playing on home soil and I'm looking forward to it."

Amongst the top players who have signed up for the Volvo China Open include Ryder Cup stars Paul Casey and Thomas Levet, last year's champion Stephen Dodd and Nick Dougherty.

Asia 's best players including Jyoti Randhawa of India and Thaworn Wiratchant, the current Order of Merit leader, will spearhead the region's challenge.

November 15, 2005

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