Macao: Pan Cheng-tsung and Guan Tianlang, two of the most talented young golfers from the Greater China region, will look to shine at next month’s Venetian Macao Open.
Hailing from Chinese Taipei, 23-year-old Pan has made steady progress since turning professional this year. He recorded his first professional win in July, propelling him into the world’s top-600 for the first time.
An exceptional amateur, the University of Washington graduate topped the World Amateur Golf Ranking for eight weeks in 2013 and has dreams of reaching the upper echelons in the professional ranks.
He said: “It has been a steep, but positive, learning curve since I turned professional. The amateur scene is very tough, but this is a different world altogether in terms of the intensity, level of play, and concentration that is required.
“Getting to number one on the amateur rankings was a huge achievement for me and it will be a dream come true if I can reach number one in the professional rankings, too. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I will work as hard as I can to get there.
“While practice can make perfect, nothing beats playing against the best professional players in the world in a competitive environment. Being amongst the world-class field at the Venetian Macao Open is exactly what I need to keep improving, so I am thankful to be granted a sponsor’s invite and I hope I make the most out of it.”
China’s Guan made headlines in 2013 when he became the youngest-ever player to make the cut at a Major, finishing 58th at The Masters at 14 years of age, having qualified for the tournament through a dramatic victory at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2012.
Guan is in no hurry to turn professional and instead has continued to develop his game on the junior and amateur scene.
The Guangzhou native said: “I will never forget Augusta 2013. I can’t tell you how surreal the whole Masters experience was for me. It turned a childhood dream into reality and I am hungry for more. I am very happy to play at the Venetian Macao Open this year as it offers a precious opportunity to keep learning. I will continue to work hard to achieve my lifelong ambition.”
The tournament, taking place at the Macau Golf & Country Club from October 15-18 is organised by the Macao Sport Development Board [MSDB] of Macao SAR Government and the Golf Association of Macau. Sanctioned by the latter and the Asian Tour, The Venetian Macao is supporting the event as title sponsor for the fourth consecutive year.
José Tavares, President of MSDB, said: “Pan and Guan are two of the biggest emerging talents from the Greater China region so it is very exciting to see both of them joining us for the first time. The Venetian Macao Open is one of our most iconic annual sports events and it will provide a great platform for the youngsters to gauge where they are with their game.”
The tournament, in its 17th edition, will see a total prize fund increase for a third consecutive year, taking it to the US$1 million mark. Defending champion Anirban Lahiri of India, 2013 champion Australian Scott Hend and four-time Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa have already confirmed their participation.
Hainan Island, China: Yalong Bay Golf Club, one of China’s best-known and most prolific tournament venues, has joined the Asian Golf Industry Federation.