If it’s possible for three generations of Chinese golf to already exist (modern China didn’t get its first course until 1984), they will all be proudly on display in the third round of the US$2.3 million BMW Asian Open, a European Tour event, today at Shanghai’s Tomson Golf Club in Pudong. Forty-two-year-old Zhang Lianwei, the trailblazer among Chinese pros, shares the lead at 5-under with Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, one stroke clear of Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke. Liang Wenchong, 29, China’s current No. 1 and the 2007 Asian Tour money leader, is tied for sixth, three strokes off the lead, along with teenager Hu Mu, a Florida-based, David Leadbetter-coached amateur who will enroll at the University of Florida this fall. And just one stroke back of that group, at 1-under, you’ll find big Li Chao, 28, the top player on China’s domestic circuit, the Omega China Tour.
“It’s great that there are four Chinese players in the top-15 after two rounds,” Zhang said. “This is the first time we’ve had so many Chinese players near the top at this event. Hu Mu’s performance is especially impressive, as it’s not easy as an amateur.”
It’s a beautiful day out, and Tomson is one of the few Shanghai golf courses close enough to city center that you don’t feel you are making a day-trip to Anhui Province. Admission is also free, according to City Weekend.
The top groups don’t tee off until after lunch time, so you still have plenty of time to get yourself in a taxi. Here are the tee times of the groups including Chinese golfers:
12:35: LI Chao, Oliver WILSON
12:44: HU Mu (A), Mark BROWN
12:53: LIANG Wen-Chong, Retief GOOSEN
13:20: ZHANG Lian-Wei, Robert-Jan DERKSEN
The Liang-Goosen pairing could be the one to watch today. The complete list of tee times can be found here. Greg Norman, making a rare European Tour appearance, is tied for 16th at even par. Rumor has it you might also catch a glimpse of his soon-to-be wife, tennis legend Chris Evert, out on the course, as well.
BMW Asian Open, Tomson Golf Club, 1 Long Dong Highway, Pudong, 龙东大道1号, Tel: 5833 8888. Free entry.
Zhang shares lead in BMW Asian Open, while Hu joins Chinese charge
Round Three Live Scoring
Round Three Tee Times
Official Site form BMW
ESPN.com series on pro golf in China
Photo of Hu Mu from the Asian Tour.