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Liang tees off golf's week-long march across China, Poulter in lead

10-11-2011 16:12 BJT

SHANGHAI, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- One hundred years to the day since Dr Sun Yat-sen founded modern China, Chinese number one Liang Wen-chong teed off the seven-day, seven-city Shui On Land China Golf Challenge, the sport's most innovative competition in the world's most populous nation.

Englishman Ian Poulter led the 18-hole tournament at one-under after the first day's two holes, putting him one ahead of Liang. World number two Lee Westwood was one-over, while world number three Rory McIlroy was four-over after finding water on both holes.

The day held particular significance for the 33-year-old Liang, who is the sole Chinese player during this week's Shui On Land China Golf Challenge and grew up and learnt his golf in Zhongshan, home of Dr Sun.

"This is a very important day for Chinese people, as history changed 100 years ago. I'm also proud because my hometown is the same as Dr Sun's. He' s very famous in China and in Zhongshan, which many people visit as we have a university and a park in honour of him," said Liang, whose supporters at Tomson included Chinese pros Hu Mu and Han Ren.

"I learnt and still play my golf at Chung Shan Hot Spring, which was the country's first golf club when it opened in 1984. With the economic boom in China over the years, we've also seen the development of golf grow rapidly across the country, so I'm very lucky to be the ambassador for China in an event like the Shui On Land China Golf Challenge."

Liang believes the week-long tournament, which is being filmed by IMG Media and showcased on Golfing World, will show China and its young but growing golf industry in a fresh new light.

"I'm really excited because it's a completely new format, not a normal tournament. In China, many people only watch tournaments, but the Shui On Land China Golf Challenge and the TV programme will show people the lifestyle of golfers and showcase China's many modern cities. It will help the audience get close to the players and increase their interest," he said.

"It's great to have these three famous international players, Lee, Ian and Rory, as they will help showcase Chinese culture and promote golf in China to the rest of the world. The seven cities this week are spread from north to south, east and west, and the programme will be broadcast worldwide, so I hope it will provide a good image of China."

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