Zhang ready to extend record in Macau

China's Zhang Lian-wei will be out to preserve one of the most impressive streaks on the Asian Tour when he tees up in the US$750,000 Venetian Macau Open next month.

Golf News: Zhang Lian-wei

Since the inauguration of the Macau Open in 1998, Zhang, who is a five-time Asian Tour winner, has not missed a cut in the tournament and is arguably the most successful player in Macau with two victories in 2001 and 2002 and six other top-10s.

Zhang might have shifted his focus from purely competing to developing his junior programmes in Shenzhen but he is looking forward to teeing it up at the Macau Golf and Country Club from October 11 to 14.

"Macau is my favourite destination on the Asian Tour as I have enjoyed a lot of success in the tournament. I have fond memories of my two victories and there were also a lot of other good performances," said Zhang.

"I have missed the tournament only once previously (in 2003 due to injury) but in the years that I have played the Macau Open since 1998, I have never missed the cut and I'm really proud of this achievement."

"I am really excited about the Venetian Macau Open and I hope to put in a strong showing for my fans and also to maintain my streak. It is also wonderful the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel has come into the tournament in a very big way as the new title sponsor," he added.

Zhang was China's first ever player to achieve success on the Asian Tour, which subsequently led to the rise in the number of touring professionals from the mainland including the likes of Wu Ashun, Li Chao and Liang Wen-chong. Liang became the first Chinese to win the prestigious Asian Tour's Order of Merit crown in 2007.

Apart from this two wins in Macau, Zhang also won three other titles on the Asian Tour, including his national Open in 2003 and the Singapore Masters in the same year where he defeated South African star Ernie Els with a last hole birdie.

Els isn't the only scalp that Zhang has claimed throughout his illustrious career as the Chinese ace also defeated Zimbabwean Nick Price in the 2002 Macau Open after a five-hole play-off and Scotland's Colin Montgomerie in the former Alfred Dunhill Cup.

"I have enjoyed my time on the Asian Tour as it allowed me to grow and become a truly international player," said Zhang, whose best finish on the Order of Merit was second place in 2003.

"Through the Tour, I had the opportunity to play in different countries and experience different cultures across Asia which helped me to develop as a golfer. There were numerous other fond memories which will stay with me for the rest of my life but I'm not finished yet with my career, especially when it comes to the Venetian Macau Open.

"I feel I can still contend in this tournament as I know the Macau Golf and Country Club very well. I know what it takes to shoot good scores on this very challenging golf course and more importantly, I feel I will always have an advantage on the greens.

"In next few weeks, I will be working hard to sharpen my game and I hope to be ready to play well."

The Venetian Macau Open is jointly organised by the Macau Sport Development Board and Macau Golf Association and sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

All four rounds will be beamed live on the Asian Tour's global television platform which reaches over 200 nations and 650 million homes.

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