Asian Golf on the Rise
The biggest stars in international golf may be in Shanghai for World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, but they face stiff competition from a talented field of Asian golfers. Hot on the heels of Hideki Matsuyama becoming Asia’s first-ever WGC winner at the tournament last year, there looks set to be another strong Asian challenge at Sheshan International golf club.
Local fans can look forward to an impressive showing from Chinese golfers in particular, a group that has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. It is two years since Haotong Li finished seventh at WGC-HSBC Champions, the highest ever PGA Tour finish by a Chinese-born player. This year the talented Hunan-born player shot a record-equalling 63 on the final day of the The Open Championship to claim a place in the record books, not to mention the 2018 Masters.
Haotong Li is by no means alone. 20-year-old Dou Zecheng, who also lines up at WGC-HSBC Champions this week, recently earned his PGA Tour card after winning on the Web.com Tour this summer.
When HSBC first brought the tournament to Shanghai over a decade ago, a major part of the ambition was to help grow golf in China. There is no doubt that the game has come on leaps and bounds, with China now an emerging golfing superpower. Initiatives such as the CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Program, a sustainable long-term structure and framework upon which the future of Chinese golf is being built, have had had a profound effect. Both Haotong Li and Dou Zecheng are graduates of the scheme, it’s going to be fascinating watching their progress this week.