Asiad bronze medalist Du pumped for pro debut

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-11 19:50:18|Editor: xuxin
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TIELING, China, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Fresh off of helping China to a team bronze medal at the recent Asian Games in Indonesia, Du Mohan will take her game to new heights this week when the teenager makes her pro debut at the CLPGA Tour Tieling Longshan Golf Challenge.

With the 54-hole tournament teeing off Wednesday at Tieling Longshan International Golf Club in the northeast Liaoning province, the Beijing native said she wanted to come out strong for her maiden appearance in the paid ranks against a field of 78 players, many of whom she has played against for years.

"This is my first event as a pro, but I don't feel as if I were a rookie. I played my first CLPGA event in 2014 at the age of 12," said national team player Du who as an amateur played 25 events on the Tour posting two top-10 finishes in the process.

"Since then I have played four or five events each year on the Tour. So everything is familiar here, it feels like home."

Du said she felt she had something to prove, mainly to herself, after her performance at last month's Asian Games. The 16-year-old led the field at Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club by two strokes through 36 holes. As teammate Liu Wenbo claimed the individual silver medal, Du faded to a 74 in the final round to finish eighth, ultimately costing China the team gold medal won by the Philippines.

"The Asian Games could be a blessing in disguise. We might neglect our shortcomings if we won a gold medal. We might get slack," reasoned Du, who was also part of the China team that finished fourth at the 2018 World Amateur Team Championship (the Espirito Santo Trophy) earlier this month in Ireland.

"A good score for me (this week) is an even par. I will take one-under for three days. This might be a conservative goal but it is really a great challenge out there."

Other top Chinese set to tee it up this week at the 500,000 yuan (72,900 US dollars) tournament include Luo Ying, Yang Taoli, Liu Yan and Sui Xiang. The 19-year-old Sui currently sits fifth in the CLPGA Tour Order of Merit on the strength of two top-three finishes in eight starts this season.

The Guangdong native comes into Tieling with an in-form game after finishing equal fourth at the CTBC Ladies Open in Taipei earlier this month. The result was considered disappointing considering she took the lead into the back nine at the TLPGA Tour tournament.

"Definitely this is a tough course. There are many turtleback greens out there. Under par is a great score. I really want a win. This is my goal this week and for the rest of year," said Sui.

"I nearly made it in Taipei. Again, I don't know why. Maybe energy, mindset, focus, pressure but I lost again. No matter what it is, I will try to handle it this week."