Tuesday, 14 October 2014
Players visit China's largest orphanage - the Chongqing Love Manor ()
Players visit China's largest orphanage - the Chongqing Love Manor ()

With play not set to get underway until Thursday, the players at the Shankai Classic presented by IDG have already had a rewarding time off it, as a three-strong Swedish contingent visited a local orphanage on Monday.

European Challenge Tour players Björn Åkesson, Joel Sjöholm and Joakim Lagergren joined local professionals Zhou Guowu, Quan Da and Huang Yongle on a visit to China's largest orphanage – the Chongqing Love Manor.

The facility opened in 2011, occupies a scenic setting in the Tieshanping Forest Park, a 40 minute drive from Chongqing Poly Golf Club, the venue for this week's US$350,000 event.

All three players spent time with the children, some of whom are physically disabled, by introducing them to golf through a putting game and presented clubs, hats and balls before sitting down to enjoy a specially-made golf-themed cake to mark the occasion.

Kangkang, a six-year-old boy who has lived at the Love Manor since 2011, siad: "I am so happy and excited to have famous golfers teaching me. I know golf from seeing it on TV but have never played it before. I want to be a professional golfer like them."

The visit was especially significant for Sjöholm as the popular 29 year old was born in a suburb of Santiago, Chile before being adopted at the age of three months and raised in Gothenburg.  

"My experience is similar to the kids here – I was born in South America and went to Sweden with my foster parents," said Sjöholm, who is known on Tour as El Toro. "I hope they can enjoy and love golf as much as me, as it is a great sport and represents respect and modesty, so I hope the game will have a positive effect on their growth."

Zhou, who comes into the event in good form after finishing in fourth place at last week's Nanshan Masters, said he was touched by the visit.

"It was a great pleasure to meet these lovely children," said the 24-year-old. "I see the hope and faith that they have. I am very lucky to be able to be healthy and be able to play golf. I hope more and more people will pay attention to their situation and that more and more places like the Love Manor can be built."

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