Five members of China’s national team are planning to attend the Ladies European Tour’s Qualifying School for the 2012 season at La Manga Club in Murcia, Spain this January.
They are all hoping to gain their playing rights as part of a development programme to prepare them for The 2016 Olympic Games.
The five would need to accrue Rolex Women’s World Rankings points to participate in the Olympics and so have all turned professional, however two players are currently under the age of 18 usually required for membership of the LET and would therefore require a special exemption from the LET’s Executive Director Alexandra Armas to attend.
Shi Xiao Ying, born 22 March 1982, is the oldest of the group aged 29 and missed the cut by one in Sanya, while team captain Li Jia Yun, born 29 Aug 1988, is second oldest aged 23 and missed the cut by two.
Zhang Yu Yang, born 23 July 1991, is currently aged 20 and tied for 19th at the Sanya Ladies Open, with rounds of 69, 77 and 67.
Wang Xin, born on 25 September 1994, is aged 17 and missed the cut by three strokes at the Sanya Ladies Open.
Lin Xi Yu, born 25 Feb 1996, is the youngest hopeful aged 15 at present, but has so far recorded the best results in professional tournaments. She tied for ninth at the 2010 Sanya Ladies Open aged 14 and claimed a share of fifth in the 2011 event last week with rounds of 71, 68 and 71. She also played in the US Women’s Open this year, where she missed the cut, but played through unusual circumstances with several weather delays.
Four of the five players are participating in the 2011 Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open this week where they will be keen to demonstrate their skills.
The Ladies European Tour does not have a representative from China in its membership but former Henderson Money List winner Lee-Anne Pace suggested that more experience on the international stage could only help China’s hopefuls to develop.
When asked in a press conference, she said: “First go to Q School. You know what to do as a golfer, how to practice and play. The first couple of years take a bit of getting used to, but being from South Africa, it took me a while to get used to the circumstances and for a Chinese player I’m sure it will be the same.”
The current world number one Yani Tseng of Chinese Taipei told reporters in a press conference that she felt golf’s inclusion in The 2016 Olympic Games offered a tremendous opportunity for Chinese golfers. She added that she would like to help junior golfers to learn from her experience.
Meanwhile, Jason Sun, president of Ren Tai Sports Industry Co. Ltd, Promoter of the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open, told media that there was 2500 years of history in Suzhou, home of Sun Tzu, author of ‘the Art of War’ and he wanted to combine these stories with golf.
He said through an interpreter, “This company has a plan: to be involved in the Olympics, since the Olympics are very big in China and we would like to contribute to the game’s development and I’m very satisfied with the progress the last few years.”