Zhang Lian-Wei gains special Masters invitation
Zhang Lian-Wei received a special invitation Wednesday to play in the Masters, making him the first player from China at Augusta National.
Zhang last year became the first Chinese winner on the European Tour when he birdied the final hole to beat Ernie Els at the Singapore Masters. He also won the China Open, and finished second on the Asian tour money list.
``Lian-Wei Zhang has proven his ability on the European tour and in Asia,'' Masters chairman Hootie Johnson said. ``We are excited to have an outstanding representative from China in our field.''
Zhang brings the field to 91 expected to play in the Masters, which is April 8-11.
Players can still qualify by being among the top 50 in the world ranking or the top 10 on the PGA Tour list on March 29, the day after The Players Championship.
Zhang is the fourth player to receive a special invitation since the Masters changed its criteria five years ago to rely more heavily on the world ranking. The others were Aaron Baddeley (2000-'01), Shingo Katayama (2001) and Greg Norman in 2002, when he no longer was exempt at the major that gave him so much heartache.