Fujian (CHINA): Lin Jia-hao and Cai Dan-lin will tee off as top seeds when the cream of Chinese junior golf come together for the staging of the 14th Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship at the Ocean West International Golf Club in Fujian province from November 19 to 22.
As top seed in the male category, 17-year-old Lin from Guangzhou will start as favourite to qualify to play in the 2019 Volvo China Open, while Cai, 15, from Hainan will be looking to win the four-round Match Play in the girls’ division and secure a place in the Volvo China Open Pro-Am.
For the first time in the tournament’s history, 32 of China’s best young players will tackle the 7,206-yard layout at Fujian’s Ocean West International Golf Club. And for Lin, who had enjoyed an outstanding season in domestic competition, it will also be a first appearance in the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship.
And the Number 1 seed, who earlier this year won the Group A title at the 24th National Junior Golf Championship as well as the men’s title on the 2018 China Amateur Tour and the Liang Wen Chong Golf Club Heritage Cup, is keen to get to grips with the challenging course.
“Over the past year, I’ve improved my game a lot and become much more consistent,” he said. “The Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship is the highest level of junior golf in the country and this will be my first time to play the Ocean West Course. I’ll need to make detailed strategies and play my very best as the field this year is as strong as ever.
“Players like Kuang Yang, Chen Gu-xin and Chen Pei-cheng are tough to beat so it will be an amazing achievement and a great honor to win the title and qualify to play in next year’s Volvo China Open.”
Fifteen-year-old Chen Gu-xin – the Number 8 seed – competed in the 2018 Volvo China Open as the winner of the China Amateur Open, while Beijing’s 16-year-old Chen Pei-cheng has played the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship three times, including finishing as runner-up last year. He also competed in this year’s Volvo China Open after clinching his place from the qualifier played at the Ocean West International Golf Club.
In the girls’ category, Cai Dan-lin knows competition to win a place in the Volvo China Open Pro-Am will be fierce with a number of well-known juniors looking to upset the top seed.
But with three straight appearances in the tournament – including a second-place finish in 2016 – and a recent runners-up spot in a China LPGA Tour event to her name, Cai will be one to watch.
“In November, I am going to train with the national team and then move on to Ocean West International Golf Club to practice and understand more about the layout,” she said. “I always believe the calmer I am the better I perform in Match Play so my plan is to remain calm and be in the best shape possible for the tournament.
As well as Cai, 2018 China Amateur Tour Ladies’ Grand Champion and Number 5 seed Pan Ji-hong will have her eye on the title, while Yin Ruo-ning – who has experience of representing the national team at the Asian Games – will also be a title challenger.
The 32 competing players – selected by the organizing committee and ranked according to the R&A Men’s and Women’s Amateur Ranking and the China Golf Association Junior Boys’ and Girls’ Ranking – will now take to the Jack Nicklaus-designed course with an eye on qualifying for the 2019 Volvo China Open, sanctioned by The European Tour, to be staged in Chengdu in May.