Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Retief Goosen is hoping to finally add a BMW title to his collection when he makes his second appearance in the BMW Asian Open in Shanghai.

The two-time US Open Champion narrowly missed out on the BMW International Open in 2006 when he lost to Henrik Stenson in a play-off and finished joint 15th on his first appearance at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club last year.

“I would like to do better this week than I did last year but feel my game is better and I am looking forward to getting out there and putting in a good performance,” said Goosen ahead of the event sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour and China Golf Association.

“It is a good course, a good driving course. The landing areas are narrow. I am driving the ball well though. I played in Korea last week and drove the ball well there. I also want to finally win a BMW event. I lost in a play-off in Munich when Henrik won so hopefully I will be up there this week come Sunday.”

Goosen launches his bid to win a 15th European Tour title in the company of China’s Number One, Liang Wen-chong, and Germany’s Martin Kaymer, last year’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.

Liang is the standard bearer for Chinese golf and he too is hoping for a good showing in his home country as he carries the expectations of the home fans on his shoulders. Last year Liang became the first Chinese golfer to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit and two weeks ago made his Masters Tournament debut as only the second Chinese golfer to compete at Augusta National.

Last year he also became only the second Chinese golfer to win on The European Tour when he captured the Clariden Leu Singapore Masters and has set his sights on winning on home soil.

“I will try my best,” he said. “In China, I want to always play my best and show my best form to the fans.

“It was a great achievement (winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit) last year. I worked very hard to get to that point in my journey in golf and it was a great encouragement for the hard work that I have put in over the years. I hope more fans will follow the game of golf and learn about the spirit of the game. I know that a good performance this week will further boost the popularity of golf in China.”

Kaymer may not have the experience of his playing partners and will be making his first appearance in a regular tournament in China but the 23 year old has shown he has the game to compete with the best. As the World Number 31 he is the third highest ranked player in the field with one victory under his belt already this year – the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Kaymer’s only previous visit to China was five months ago when he represented Germany in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup and it is also his first BMW event in Asia, a new experience he is relishing.

“I am really looking forward to getting started,” he said. “I have a good draw with Retief Goosen and Liang Wen-chong. It’s different out here but the most important thing is that the golf course is good. I played it the last two days and it is tough. I’m also enjoying staying right in the middle of Shanghai.”

 

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