Liang Wen-chong Arrives to Guangzhou for Royal Duty

China’s top golfer, Liang Wen-chong, promised his country would deliver another “unforgettable” Royal Trophy, and showcase the country’s new-found passion for golf this week.

Liang warmed up for the Royal Trophy’s debut in China – at the stunning Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou – with a victory in the Manila Masters last month, and is determined to spearhead a third Asian victory in the continental team match-play championship with the Europeans.

He was the first member of the Asian team to arrive at Dragon Lake on Monday, and admitted he is already struggling to control the adrenaline rush.

He commented: “This week will be one of the highlights of my career. To play in such a prestigious tournament as the Royal Trophy in front of my own people is an honour and a privilege, and I will give everything I can to help Asia win for the third time in the last five matches.

“It is certain to be an unforgettable week, and I want to play my part in creating special memories for myself and all our supporters throughout China and the rest of Asia.

“It felt good to be able to record a victory so close to the start of this competition and to come here knowing I am in good form.”

His victory in Manila, the 19th of a hugely successful career, was a highly emotional one. It came just a week after the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, and Liang generously donated half of his $135,000 winnings to the disaster fund.

That gesture was reminiscent of the way in which he donated the entire proceeds from his first win outside his home country – a $183,000 cheque as the 2007 Singapore Open champion – to help develop golf in China.

They say that no good deed goes unrewarded, and that was certainly the case for Liang. He finished the year by winning the Asian Order of Merit, announcing his arrival as a world class golfer.

But Liang is delighted that the country’s promising young golfers are no longer short of funding, and predicted having the Royal Trophy at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou for the next two years would help the game to expand at a rapid rate.

He explained: “Golf was not seen as a big sport in China a few years ago, but that has changed with so many courses being built and a new generation of exciting young players ready to break through.

“When the announcement was made in 2009 that golf would be a part of the Olympics in 2016 it seemed to make everyone realise we needed to help our golfers as much as we can.

“As a competition with a great and exciting tradition, the Royal Trophy can help to showcase the way China has embraced the sport.

“We are striving to grow it as much as possible, and I think the drama and the level of skill at the Royal Trophy can open a lot more people’s eyes to what a great sport this is.”

Liang finished 18 under par in Manila and went on to beat Thailand’s Prom Meesawat in a sudden death play-off, even though he was troubled by an old wrist injury.

He added: “This is my fourth Royal Trophy as a player and I was also lucky enough to serve as a Vice-Captain under Joe Ozaki last year, and it is an event I love being a part of.

“It has done so much to raise the profile of golf in Asia, and to spread the word to the rest of the would that our game is on the rise. As golfers we owe the Royal Trophy a big debt of gratitude.

“The best way to repay that is to continue producing golf of the highest standard. The last three Royal Trophies in particular have produced memorable finishes, none more so than last year.

“When K.T. Kim holed his birdie putt to give us out play-off victory we all danced and hugged each other for joy. It would be wonderful to do a victory dance in Guangzhou as well.

“As always, Europe has sent a very strong team, but we have also picked a strong line–up and I am confident about our chances. It will be close, but if the people of China come out to support us it could make a vital difference.”

The seventh edition of the Royal Trophy will be held on 20-22 December at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China. The Asian Team is captained by Asia’s first-ever Major winner Y.E. Yang while the Europeans are captained by legendary two-time Masters champion José Maria Olazábal.

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