Ghei leads Indian challenge at Pine Valley Beijing Open

May 3rd, 2008 - 12:04 am ICT by admin  

Beijing, May 2 (IANS) Defending champion Gaurav Ghei will spearhead India’s challenge against the best of Japan and China in the Pine Valley Beijing Open next week. The seasoned Indian star became the inaugural winner in the Chinese capital 12 months ago but this time around he will take on a field with players from the Japan Golf Tour, along with the Asian Tour and China Golf Association for the first time.

The enhanced prize money of a record US$1 million will be an added attraction.

Ghei said that last year’s victory in Beijing was memorable as it was his third victory on the Asian Tour and came just eight months after he ended a lengthy 11-year title drought.

“I wanted to win another tournament to prove to myself that my previous win was not a fluke and to do it in Beijing in such a short span of time was very satisfying. I put in a lot of hard work and it felt great to win it again,” said Ghei.

Ghei is one of the leading stars in the Asian Tour contingent which is headed to Beijing for the Tour’s 12th stop of a record 2008 season which has nearly US$40 million on offer.

Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant, third in Beijing last season, and proven winners Angelo Que of the Philippines, Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei, Korea’s Lee Sung, Australian Kane Webber and England’s Chris Rodgers are also in the elite field next week.

Adam Blyth, second behind Ghei last year and who recently qualified for his maiden British Open appearance, is also expected to challenge for the title once again.

Leading the Japanese assault to the Middle Kingdom includes Keiichiro Fukabori, Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Katsumasa Miyamoto, Hideki Kase, Hirofumi Miyase and Hiroyuki Fujita. The six players have won a combined of 35 tournaments in Japan.

Japan Tour regulars, Yeh Wei-tze of Chinese Taipei, and Fijian Dinesh Chand will also cross swords with the Asian Tour stalwarts.

Veteran Zhang Lian-wei, who was the halfway leader at the BMW Asian Open in Shanghai last week, will carry the Chinese challenge in the Beijing Open. A return to the Jack Nicklaus-designed course will bring back good memories for Zhang, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour, as he finished tied 10th in the event last year.

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