Nanjing, Nov 1 (SocialNews.XYZ) Zeng Liqi is back on home ground this week for the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge after a successful showing stateside in the second stage of the 2023 LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
The 17-year-old Nanchang native, a four-time winner on the China LPGA Tour over the past two seasons, put together rounds of 72-76-66-72 to finish equal 30th in Florida earlier this month. She now advances to the final stage of qualifying with 40 other players, reports Xinhua.
This week, the teenager is at Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Golf Club, where last year she won her maiden pro title by a commanding three-stroke margin. In the same tournament the year previous, she finished runner-up to Zhao Zhimeng as an amateur.
"I've played in the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge for four years in a row. Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Golf Club is my lucky course," said Zeng ahead of the start of the 500,000 yuan (68,310 U.S. dollars) CLPGA Tour tournament. "To me, it just feels so warm and nice here. The fans are great and it is here that I have had some of the biggest moments in my golf career as an amateur and as a professional."
Looking to spoil Zeng's title defence is Wang Xinying. In March, the Beijing native won the IOA Championship and currently sits 15th on the 2023 Epson Tour's Race for the Card. The Duke University graduate finished equal third at the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge in 2020 and equal eighth the following year.
"It's nice to be back, everyone has been so warm and kind to me here. A lot of good memories," said 24-year-old Wang. "You know, I can still remember every hole here. I would really like to break through on the CLPGA Tour. It would be wonderful to get my first CLPGA title here."
Cao Xinyu goes into the tournament as the top-rated amateur. Last week the teenager represented China at the 2023 Women's World Amateur Team Championship in Abu Dhabi, finishing T38 in the individual scoring. The Chinese team, which included Ni Zixin and An Tong, finished T30.
"The fairways were quite narrow last week. My driving and approach shots were good, but I had some regrets with my putting. I didn't make as many birdie putts as I would have liked. Overall, I'm still satisfied with my performance," said Cao, currently 133rd in the world amateur golf rankings.
"Through this tournament, I realized that there is still a big gap between me and amateur players from other countries and regions."