Big Asian coverage of NZPGA
Arrowtown’s NZPGA is generating huge press in China, which will be represented by four players as well as top Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Vietnamese golfers this year. Early coverage from English language mass circulation newspaper the China Daily and leading internet site sina.com, which have a combined daily readership of about a million, has ensured the tournament has reached China’s large English speaking population. However, writers travelling to Arrowtown to cover the tournament from the Travel Channel, Sina’s Golf Channel, Cool High Golf, Aviation Today and Golf Vacation and Lifestyle will ensure the tournament action will reach a potential readership of tens of millions. After ripping through the early stages of the tournament, but finishing in 25th place last year, 25-year-old Zhang Xinjun will be joined by compatriots Kevin Huang Wenyi, Henry Han Ren and 17-year-old Li Haotong at the PGA Tour of Australasia event. 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 of the Philippines, a three- time Asian tour winner, and Michael Tran of Vietnam are among other Asian golfers signed up for the event, which in only its second year at The Hills is fast gaining momentum. In his rookie season in 2011, Zhang finished 13th at the WGCHSBC Champions and teamed up with Liang Wenchong in the World Cup, then last year followed his Queenstown debut with two wins on the China PGA championship tour. ‘‘I really enjoyed myself in Queenstown,’’ Zhang said. He trains with Huang and Li in the China national team. ‘‘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 postcard.’’ The pro-am format was ‘‘really interesting’’ for Zhang because he was able to meet famous sportsmen and businessmen, as well as Hollywood actor Don Cheadle and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, he said. ‘‘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, while Michael Hendry of New Zealand will defend his title after becoming the first winner under the new celebrity pro-am format. As well as attracting top pro golfers from across the AsiaPacific region, over 30 international businesspeople will be participating as amateur players in the event, including leading businessmen from Japan, Korea and Indonesia.
Back to play: China’s Zhang Xinjun rips through the early stages of the NZ PGA Championship at The Hills last year. He will be joined by a four other top Chinese golfers, a large contingent of other Asian
players, press and businessmen on The Hills next week.