Golf World Cup to tee off in South China

Updated: 2011-11-23 22:54


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HAIKOU- The $7.5 million Omega Mission Hills Golf World Cup 2011 will tee off Thursday in Haikou, capital city of the Hainan Province.

A total of 56 players from 28 countries and regions will be competing in the four-day event, which is the highest level in team competition.

The last three editions of the World Cup were held in Shenzhen but is switched to the Haikou Mission Hills Club this year. The 72-stroke play includes two rounds of four balls and two of foursomes, beginning with the four-ball format on Thursday.

The field of players is headed by the defending champions Francesco Molinari and Edoardo Molinari from Italy.

Other favorites are Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, England's Ian Poulter and Justin Rose and the South African pairing of Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.

China's representatives at this year's World Cup are a completely new partnership of Liang Wenchong and 24-year-old Zhang Xinjun, who finished the 13th at the HSBC Golf Championships earlier this month.

The Zhang-Liang combination will resonate loudly with Chinese golf fans, as in 2009 the Zhang member of the team was 46-year-old veteran Zhang Lianwei.

However, this year the trail-blazing Chinese golfer, who won on The European and Asian Tours during a wonderful career, is stepping aside for his younger counterpart, the up-and-coming Zhang Xinjun.

"We have done some training in the recent days at the Mission Hills Golf Club," said Liang. "And I think the teamwork is good and hopefully we can enjoy the competition and get good result."

"It is my first time to present my country in such a top level competition," said the 24-year-old Zhang. "I feel a little nervous but I hope I can do well with Liang. We did lots of preparation and set up some strategy both in the fourballs and foursome."

The best result for China at the World Cup was the 11th place in 2007 by Liang and Zhang Lianwei.

From 2007, the Mission Hills will stage the Golf World Cup for 12 consecutive years.