Kiwis eek out narrow win at first China-New Zealand junior golf match

Bolstered by local efforts to cultivate young talent, more Chinese youth are hitting the links and competing as top professionals.

Xiong Tianyi is the top-ranking Chinese junior golf player during the first China-New Zealand Junior Golf Team Competition held in Hangzhou from March 26 to April 1.

The first China-New Zealand Junior Golf Team Competition wrapped up recently in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

The match was held between 12 Chinese and 12 Kiwi players aged between 12 and 18. The players were divided into six groups according to gender and age. Match play was done in a two versus two format.

After three days of competition involving 36 match plays, the Chinese team lost by 3 points.

Kiwi female player Rianne Li and Chinese female player Fang Xinyuan were awarded Best Hole-in-One prizes, while male player James Tauariki from New Zealand received the Best Etiquette award.

The 16-year-old Huang Shang was the Best Player in the 16-18 age group. Huang was born in Hangzhou and is now attending high school in the US. He has been competing as a professional for three years.

“Actually our players were doing well,” said Chi Weiping, coach of the competition's Chinese team. “The capabilities of the two teams are close, but the Kiwi team performed better.”

Hangzhou-born junior golf player Huang Shang wins the Best Player in the age group 16-18.

According to Chi, the development of Chinese junior golf has been improving over the last three years. “It started out from almost nothing to now nearly 60,000 registered junior players across the nation,” added Chi.

The China Golf Association, one of the initiators of the event, has also been taking measures to support and cultivate more junior talent. Many CGA venues are open free, or at low prices, for junior players.

In Chi’s opinions, golf is not as expensive as many people think. A basic yearly cost for training a junior player can be as low as 20,000 yuan (USD$2,976), which includes equipment, venue rental and coaching.

As a sport, golf only regained a place in the 2016 Summer Olympics after being briefly featured in the 1900 and 1904 Games. Last year at the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Chinese national team won two silver and two bronze medals.

The 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games' golf competition will be held at the West Lake International Golf and Country Club.

The best Chinese players receive their awards.

The New Zealand team wins by 3 points.

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