WU ASHUN BRINGS THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA INTO THE ASIAN TEAM FOR THE ROYAL TROPHY


China’s Wu Ashun has brought the People’s Republic of China into the Asian Team for the Royal Trophy – joining three of Korea’s most proficient players and two of Japan’s very best golfing talents. The twenty seven year old Wu has been nominated by the legendary Asian Team Captain Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki for the continental mission of gaining stewardship of the Royal Trophy – by defeating a ‘high in confidence’ European Team following the dramatic latest edition of the Ryder Cup matches.

The extremely popular Chinese golfing star will have the chance to add to his remarkable exploits of this year when he makes his Royal Trophy debut next month. Wu, a native of the coastal town of Xiamen, served notice that he could be the new face of Chinese golf when he became the first player from the world’s most populous nation to win a tournament on the prestigious Japan Golf Tour.

And it was the manner of his victory – outlasting one of Japan’s toughest players, Yuta Ikeda, in a marathon play-off – that seized the attention of the Asian Team Captain Ozaki.

Wu showed nerves of steel to win the Toshin Golf Tournament in September, beating Ikeda by holing a six-foot birdie putt with the light fading fast in Inabe, as thousands of passionate Japanese fans supported their countryman. It had looked like Ikeda was destined to win his eleventh title on the Japan Golf Tour when he holed an 18-footer for birdie on the third play-off hole – only for Wu to match him from just a few feet closer.

Nothing significant happens on the Japan Golf Tour without it being noticed by Ozaki, a figure of enormous stature in his own country after thirty two Tour victories and two Order of Merit triumphs.

The also two-time Japan Open winner and youngest brother of the Ozaki clan commented: “It was extremely impressive to see a young player triumph in those circumstances, seeking his maiden victory in a sudden death play-off against a top player and a proven winner.

“You learn a lot about players when they are put in those high pressure situations.

“It was down to match play in the end, and the way Wu came through that test with crucial birdies at the third and fourth play-off holes told me he had both the game and the temperament you need at the Royal Trophy. I am delighted to welcome him onto the Asian Team, and I am sure he will rise to the occasion when we face Europe in Brunei next month.

“His success in Japan has created huge interest in China, and if he enjoys a successful Royal Trophy debut it is certain to give him even more momentum going forward.”

Wu said he was both surprised and honoured to have been selected for the Asian Team. But he has already shown the benefits of his first victory by posting another top ten finish before claiming fourth place in one of the Tour’s biggest events, the Japan Open.

Those solid results allowed him to leapfrog his better-known countryman Liang Wen-chong as China’s top golfer. And that high-pressure victory in Inabe also filled him with the necessary confidence to perform admirably at the BMW Masters in Shanghai in late October – this time with the support of his passionate home fan galleries. Wu shot four sub-par rounds to finish nine-under, demonstrating that he is capable to produce scores low enough to defeat the world’s best golfers.

Wu commented: “It has been a wonderful couple of months for me, and being chosen to represent Asia in the Royal Trophy has made it even more special.

“It is strange – at the BMW Masters Liang and I were being asked about possibly representing China in the 2016 Olympics, and suddenly the opportunity to play in a major team event has become a reality. It was not something I was expecting so soon. It is a great honour, and I will do all possible to repay Captain Ozaki’s faith in me.”

Wu becomes the sixth player to be named for the Asian Team, joining a stellar group of previously Ozaki-nominated stars in Japanese global golf phenomenon Ryo Ishikawa, Asia’s first-ever Major winner Y.E. Yang, Korean match-play maestro K.T. Kim who also plays consistently in the Japan Golf Tour and became the first-ever non-Japanese to win that prestigious Order of Merit title in 2010, the US PGA Tour’s Bae Sang-moon and 2012 Japan Golf Tour Championship winner Yoshinori Fujimoto.

“The China Golf Association is delighted with the nomination of Wu Ashun as a representative of the People’s Republic of China for the Asian Team for the Royal Trophy. We are confident that the Chinese people will strongly support him and the Asian Team in this very important series of matches against the European Team,” stated Mr. Zhang Xiaoning, Vice President and Secretary General of the China Golf Association.

“Wu has enormous potential as a player and as another great golf ambassador for China. His victory in the Japan Golf Tour had a historic dimension and I am sure that he is hoping to add further to golf history when he represents Asia at the Royal Trophy next month,” stated Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“The Royal Trophy will be televised in China on their national Central Television and I am very confident that the people of China will be passionately supporting their countryman as the Asian Team attempts to subdue the José Maria Olazábal-led Ryder Cup holders,” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The European Team is currently undergoing the final stages of construction by European hero Captain Olazabal – one of the most passionately loved sports figures in the continent following the outrageous recovery delivered by Europe onto the Americans in Chicago.

Already nominated for the European battalion are the man who produced the best Ryder Cup start in history in Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, the winner of a critical singles match on that magical Ryder Cup Sunday – Paul Lawrie of Scotland, the warrior selected to tame Tiger Woods and place an ‘exclamation mark’ on the very final match in the European victory – Italian Francesco Molinari and the Order of the British Empire’s Colin Montgomerie – who holds the remarkable record of never having lost a singles match while playing for Europe in a total of ten Ryder Cup and Royal Trophy tests.

The sixth edition of the Royal Trophy will be played at The Empire Hotel & Country Club’s majestic Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course; set amidst the world’s second largest rain forest – Borneo – and the pristine South China Sea. The Matches will be played in honour of the great Seve Ballesteros – the European golf icon who passed away in May 2011 following a most inspirational battle against cancer.

Remarkable travel packages are available which include travel on Royal Brunei Airlines and luxurious seven-star accommodation at The Empire Hotel & Country Club and at other excellent hotels in the Sultanate of Brunei. For travel information, please contact +852-2834-0060.

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