BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The country's top golfers - male and female - are in the Chinese capital this week as the second edition of the Sina Cup tees off Wednesday at Beijing Shadow Creek Golf Club.
The two-day Ryder Cup-style event provides a good showcase of the country's golf talent as the two teams - Red and Blue - feature six women pros paired with six male amateurs and six male pros paired with six female amateurs.
The format includes four fourballs on Wednesday morning, followed by four foursomes in the afternoon. Twelve singles matches tee off on Thursday.
The Red Team goes into the tournament as defending champion as under the guidance of captain Feng Shanshan it easily beat the Liang Wenchong Blue Team 17-7 last October at the Nicklaus Design layout in Tianzhu Shunyi district.
This year, veteran Ye Liying takes over the helm as Red Team captain with Li Jiayun as her vice captain. Ye's squad includes a solid six-pack of the China LPGA Tour's best in Liu Wenbo, Du Mohan, Liu Yiyi, Wang Xinying, Zhang Jienalin and Sui Xiang. The male amateurs include Ding Wenyi, Peng Bo, Cheng Peicheng, Zhou Ziqin and Wu Suowei, all of whom who played on last year's winning side, and newcomer Tong Yang.
Ye, a winner in Japan and the first Chinese to make the cut at the US Women's Open, will have to be at the top of her coaching game if she is to beat the Blue Team, this year coached by Cheng Jun.
Along with Zhang Lianwei, Cheng helped pioneer pro golf in China, reaching the pinnacle of his career with a victory at the 1997 Volvo China Open. With considerable experience in coaching team events, the Beijing native's squad this week includes China Tour pros Zhang Huilin, Liu Yanwei, Ye Wocheng, Jason Hak, Chen Guxin and Luo Xuewen. Bolstering the team is Yin Xiaowen, China's top female amateur who has won three times against the pros on the CLPGA Tour. She is joined by Cao Yijing and Liu Yuwen who both played in last year's Sina Cup, and debutants Ye Lei, Zeng Liqi and Zhang Yue.
All told, the field includes all the winners from the China Tour and the CLPGA Tour since the last Sina Cup.
"It's a great honor," said Chen on Tuesday about being named the Blue Team captain. "While there's been an insufficient quantity of tournaments during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sina Cup builds a fantastic stage for players, men or women, pro or amateur. Last year, I followed this event with great interest. Obviously, the Red Team was a little better and the Blue Team lost. However, our team is awesome and highly ranked."
He added there were two kinds of players in this event: winners and losers. "Those who prepare better and play better will win this. It's a 50-50 situation for us. Hopefully we can make it."
As defending champion, the Red Team will need 10 points for a successful defense, while the Blue Team will need 10.5 points to win.
Ye, winner of the 2011 Shanghai Classic, acknowledged her young squad faced a monumental task to repeat as champions against such strong competition.
"My players are really good, youthful and full of energy. The competition could be very tense against that great team," said the 42-year-old Fujian native.
"I am definitely well-acquainted with the female players and their games. They are very consistent from tee to green and good at their short game and could be great partners to those long-hitting male players.
"The victory we earned last year is in the books. We must keep our focus on the present and let everything rip. I believe that we would reap good rewards."