Chinese teenager Jin Cheng focussed on more amateur success

Published 10/09/2015, 3:55 AM EDT


SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Amateur golfers in Asia-Pacific will have little respite over the coming years with Chinese teenager Jin Cheng saying he has no plans to turn professional anytime soon.

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The 17-year-old, who counts world number one Jordan Spieth and Chinese great Zhang Lianwei as his role models, was crowned Asia-Pacific Amateur champion last week at the weather-curtailed 2015 edition in Hong Kong.

With the trophy also came a prized place in the field for next year’s U.S. Masters at the fabled Augusta National course in Georgia and also a spot in qualifying for the British Open.

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Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, 23, the world number 15, used the capturing of the amateur prize in 2010 and 2011 to help springboard a brilliant start to his professional career, with a first win on the U.S. PGA Tour last year.

Jin, though, believed such moves were a long way off for him.

“Probably not in the coming years, because I don’t think I’m ready for it,” he told reporters in a conference call on Friday after his “life-changing” win.

“I need more experience and learn more and learn my skills more.”

Jin, 19th in the amateur world rankings, will have the opportunity to gain some experience at next week’s Venetian Macao Open on the Asia Tour, an event won twice previously by Zhang.

His Hong Kong success is likely to result in a place in the field at the Thailand Golf Championships and also events on the PGA Tour of China, although he says his schedule is yet to be confirmed.

The Beijing native, who honed his talents playing night golf in Singapore as to avoid the mosquitoes and hot temperatures in the southeast Asia city state, was understandably looking ahead to the one confirmed date in his diary in April at the Masters.

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“I’m looking forward to everything there,” Jin said.

“I think Augusta is the dream of every golfer and now waiting for the dream to come true is exciting.”

He will be hopeful of being grouped with defending champion Spieth, who enjoyed a breakout season this year by winning the first two majors of the year, the Tour Championships and FedEx Cup bonus at just 22.

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“I think Jordan is someone to learn from, he isn’t that old and isn’t much older than me. Such big achievements at this age is just incredible.”

(By Patrick Johnston, Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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