Chinese golfer Zhang Xinjun will be joined by three
compatriots when he returns to New Zealand to compete in the
PGA Championship at The Hills later this month.
Zhang (25) shot a closing 67 to finish 25th last year when he
was the only Chinese player in the field.
This year, he will be joined by Kevin Huang Wenyi (30),
Indiana University graduate Henry Han Ren (24) and Li Haotong
(17) at the PGA Tour of Australasia event, which this year
marks the centenary of the PGA of New Zealand.
Toshinori Muto, who won his fifth Japan Golf Tour title at
last year's Kansai Open, Kang Kyung-nam, third on last year's
Korean Tour money list, Angelo Que, a three-time Asian Tour
winner from the Philippines, and Michael Tran, of Vietnam,
are among other Asian golfers signed up for the Arrowtown
In his rookie season in 2011, Zhang finished 13th at the
WGCHSBC Champions tournament and teamed with Liang Wenchong
in the World Cup.
Last year, he followed his NZ PGA debut with two wins on the
China PGA Championship Tour.
''I really enjoyed myself in Queenstown,'' he said in a
''The Hills is the most beautiful course I've played on, so I
know the other players from China and around Asia will really
enjoy competing there this year. It's truly stunning, like a
''The pro-am format is really interesting for me because you
meet famous sportsmen and businessmen. It will be fun going
back there with my team-mates.''
Australian Brendan Jones, third in last year's Japan Golf
Tour money list and a 12-time winner in Japan, is the
highest-ranked player in the field.
New Zealand's Michael Hendry will defend his title after
becoming the first winner under the new celebrity pro-am
format, while there will be interest in Mark Brown, who
recently qualified for the British Open.
English cricket great Sir Ian Botham and former Wallabies
halfback George Gregan will appear as ''celebrity players''.
Former All Black Justin Marshall, who partnered Jones last
year, former Wallabies captain Nick Farr-Jones and teenage
golfing prodigy Lydia Ko, the world's top-ranked women's
amateur, are among the amateurs appearing for a second time.
Steven Alker, the 2009 winner, will be back after missing the
event last year, when he went on to post a top-20 finish at
the British Open.
Other top Kiwis who will play include David Smail, Ryan Fox,
Gareth Paddison, Josh Geary, Brad Shilton, Phil Tataurangi,
Richard Lee and Perth-based Michael Long, while three-time US
Open champion Hale Irwin is also in the field.