PGA Tour

Chinese teenager sets sights on PGA Tour

Dou Zecheng (Gallo Images)
Dou Zecheng (Gallo Images)

Hong Kong - Teenage Chinese golfer Dou Zecheng sets his sights on Friday on becoming the first mainland player to win a PGA Tour card as he shrugged off a disappointing debut at the Hong Kong Open.

The 19-year-old crashed out of the event after failing to make the cut but he was looking to the future and a season playing in the United States on the Tour.

He won the chance after an outstanding season in the PGA Tour China Series - designed to put players on the road to securing American playing rights - where he was named Player of the Year and Order of Merit winner after four tournament wins.

"It's definitely great they had the PGA Tour China Series in China, which did bring a lot of foreign guys to play," he told AFP.

He singled out US golfer Charlie Saxon, who finished second in the PGA Tour China Series Order of Merit, as someone he had enjoyed competing against.

"He hits it long and straight, which you wouldn't see so much from Chinese players," said Dou.

The teenager, who only got his driving licence two days after winning the PGA Tour China Series when he returned home to Henan province, has played with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson at the Shenzhen International in April.

Dou said he was impressed with the top players' mental strength.

"When they make a bogey they come back with five birdies, and that's what we need to learn," he said.

Dao is following in the footsteps of Chinese golf sensation Li Haotong, who also won the PGA Tour China Series Player of the Year honours in 2014.

He said players such as Li represented the "next generation of Chinese golfers", but added he was determined to keep his feet on the ground.

"I wouldn't say I'm Chinese so I'm special - you've still got to play good on the PGA Tour," he said.

And he was under no illusions of the difficulties he will face settling into his new life in the US, where he will be based either in Las Vegas or Houston.

"It's really hard for players from China, they've got to travel and spend time in a different country", Dou said.

"And there are not a lot of (Chinese players) to talk to over there, which makes you a little bit lonely."

But he remains determined and said golfers such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were players who would inspire him in his career.

"They're players who make golf different," he said.

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