Cheng Predicts Bright Future for Rising China Talents

Cheng Jun (far left) celebrates with his triumphant Blue Team.

Beijing, China: Chinese golfing pioneer Cheng Jun capped a successful Sina Cup debut by captaining the Blue Team to their first victory at the Ryder Cup-style event.

With Cheng pulling the strings from the sidelines at Beijing Shadow Creek Golf Club, his talented line-up emerged triumphant 11-9 over the Red Team.

Going into the second and final day with a 5½ – 2½ lead after sweeping the four foursomes matches, the Blues did just enough in the 12 singles matches to claim another 5½ points and earn the title.

The two-day domestic event featured the Blue Team made up of six male professionals from the China Tour and six female amateurs. The Red Team, captained by Ye Liying, featured six female pros from the China LPGA Tour and six male amateurs.

With the conditions wet throughout the final day’s play, Chen Guixin delivered the winning point in the penultimate match, beating amateur Wu Showai 4&2 at the Nicklaus Design layout.

Cheng, winner of the 1997 Volvo China Open, praised the play of both teams whom he called ‘nearly equal’ in their skills level.

“The winners are those who played better over the three sessions. I need to thank my team for this lovely victory. They are awesome and surprised me. I believe that they all will have a great future,” said the 52-year-old Beijinger.

“The key for the Blue Team was the four foursome matches where we won all of them. If we had been tied or behind after the first day, the pressure would have been huge on our professional players,” he added.

Cheng demonstrated his experience in team events when he slotted Zhang Yue into the opening singles match. The moved paid off as the Hainan amateur thrashed China LPGA Tour veteran Liu Wenbo 4&3 to put the Blues up by four points.

But the Reds fought back, taking the next four points. Zhang Jienalin easily beat amateur Cao Yijing 5&3, while amateur Zhou Ziqin surprised professional Luo Xuewen 3&1. Chen Peicheng, another amateur, beat pro Liu Yanwei one-up and Wang Xinyin won her match three-up when amateur Zeng Liqi withdrew with injury.

With the score deadlocked at 6½ points, the Blues got two more points when Ye Wocheng defeated amateur Tong Yang 3&2 and amateur Ye Lei beat pro Liu Yiyi 2&1.

Du Mohan got a point back for the Reds in schooling amateur Lu Yuwen 4&2. Star amateur Yin Xiaowen, a three-time winner against pro fields, then dispatched China LPGA Tour pro Sui Xiang 2&1.

Zhang Huilin nearly had the winning point, but the China Tour veteran hit into the water at the last and halved his match with amateur Ding Wenyi. That set the stage for Chen Guixin, a two-time winner on the China Tour, to deliver the winning point.

At the 15th hole he made a 10-yard chip-in birdie from a bunker and at the next he had an up-and-down birdie.

Reds captain Ye said her team’s defeat came down to the inability to earn a point in the foursomes, something she took full responsibility for.

“On the whole my players played great. If anything, I should be responsible for this. I needed to be more careful about the foursome pairings,” she said.

“For the singles, we disrupted their plan. We were very confident. We lost by a little at the end of the day. But I should say my players were very tough. This is a great match for both sides.”

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