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Ding, Liu lead by one at Volvo China Open

orisox.com | Updated: 2021-12-16 20:01
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Ding Wenyi [Photo provided to orisox.com]

Liu Yanwei and teenage amateur Ding Wenyi share the lead at the Volvo China Open after shooting opening rounds of three-under-par 69 at Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen.

Just two shots separate 14 players going into day two, and while the more experienced Liu also carded an opening 69 (-3) it was the towering figure of Ding who caught the eye playing alongside the tournament's marquee name Li Haotong. 

The decision by event organizers to play China's National Open behind closed doors because of the pandemic may well have benefited many of the 14 amateurs in the 108-strong field, including Ding - already the China Tour's youngest-ever winner.

"I wasn't great off the tee today so I missed a lot of birdie opportunities," said the 17-year-old from Beijing whose four birdies were marred by a bogey on the penultimate hole of his impressive opening round over the 7,145-yard course.

And Ding, who claimed his maiden China Tour victory in May only months after finishing runner-up at the 2020 Volvo China Open aged just 16, believed it could have been so much better.

"My reading of the greens has improved a lot and the putter was working well so it's an acceptable start to the tournament. But because I play a lot here, I'm very familiar with the course and three-under should have been five."

Sharing the lead with the high-flying teenager is 24-year-old Liu who finished third behind Ding in last year's Volvo China Open.

"My long game was good today and I made very few mistakes," he said. "There was little wind out there but if it picks up there will be some challenges especially on the closing holes."

Liu currently sits in third place on the China Tour Prize Money list and is clearly focused on what is the grand finale of the China Tour season. 

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