MACAO, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The two most decorated Chinese golf stars, Zhang Lianwei and Liang Wenchong, will return to the Venetian Macao Open and attempt to bring the coveted trophy back to China for the first time in more than a decade.
The US$1 million tournament, taking place between 15 to 18 October at the Macao Golf & Country Club, is once again organized by the Macao Sport Development Board of Macao SAR Government along with the Golf Association of Macao.
Sanctioned by the latter and the Asian Tour, The Venetian Macao is supporting the iconic event as title sponsor for the fourth consecutive year.
Zhang, the only player to have won the Venetian Macao Open twice in its 16-year history, was the last champion from China when the Zhuhai native triumphed over Zimbabwe's Nick Price in a dramatic five-hole play-off in 2002.
Zhang went on to create history by becoming the first Chinese golfer from his country to win a co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour event and the first to compete in The Masters Tournament. His trailblazing success put China firmly on the world map of golf and his legacy has become an inspiration to many upcoming talents back home.
The five-time Asian Tour winner considers the Venetian Macao Open as one of his favorite events. In the tournament's history, the veteran star has only missed one appearance due to injury and has made the cut in every other edition.
Zhang said: "The Venetian Macao Open has a special place in my heart. I always play well here and will keep coming back as long as the organizers will have me!
"There is something about the tournament, the course and the whole experience, that brings out the best in me. To make the cut every time in Macao is something that I am very proud of and I am looking forward to keeping this record going this year.
"The competition will be very tough once again with Ernie Els, Anirban Lahiri and Scott Hend all there, but it is an honor to be competing with these champions, so I will make sure I make the most of it."
The 37-year-old Liang is the only player from China to have broken into the top-100 in the Official World Golf Ranking and he recorded a maiden win in Japan in June.
The 2007 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner is playing at the Venetian Macao Open for the third year in a row where he finished tied-40th and tied-11th in 2014 and 2013 respectively.
The father of two commented: "I competed in the Venetian Macao Open for the first time in 2012 and have grown to really enjoy it so I've made it a regular stop on my calendar.
"Many top players from around the region are here so you know it will get competitive and you need to be on top of your game to win. The tournament is in a good spot on the Asian Tour calendar and really sets the tone as we head into the latter part of the season."
Zhang and Liang will lead a strong contingent of Chinese players in Macao to compete against a high calibre field that including defending and 2013 champions, Lahiri and Hend, as well as four-time Major Champion Els.
China prodigy Guan Tianlang, who made headlines in 2013 when he became the youngest player ever to play (and make the cut) at the Masters, has already confirmed his commitment to play. Other young guns from China joining him are Hu Mu, Dou Zecheng, Chen Zihao, Li Chao, Cao Yi and Jin Cheng.