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Chinese women golfers make history, men far behind world class

2016-08-22 08:35:00 Xinhuanet

China's Feng Shanshan celebrates at the awarding ceremony of the women's round 4 of golf at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 20, 2016. Feng Shanshan won the bronze medal.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Two Chinese women golfers made history with their respective feat, while their male counterparts lag far behind world class golfers as the 10-day event, which made its return to the Olympic stage after over a century, concluded here on Saturday.

On men's part, without top four golfers due to Zika virus concern, Justin Rose claimed gold medal for Britain, while the women's tourney saw world No. 5 Park In-Bee of South Korea come out the gold medalist.

Feng Shanshan, the 2012 LPGA Championship winner who was ranked the 14th, clinched the first golf medal for China in Olympic history.

Feng experienced an up-and-down period as her LPGA ranking has been down from top 5 to 14 early in 2016. She got back her momentum little by little in Rio, 19th in round one, then 13th, then 4th before the final day.

She once cut the deficit against leader Park to three shots, before finishing a bogey to Park's birdie in the 13th hole, only to see the gold medal further and further.

However, for herself and Chinese golf, a bronze medal really means a lot.

"This is actually the first time that Chinese athletes to compete in this event at Olympic Games. For four of us here, if anybody can have a good result, it will really change everything of golf in China. Finally I did it, which made me happier about it," she said.

Zhang Xiaoning, head of Chinese golf's governing body, emphasized on the influence of Feng's medal on the development of golf in China.

"It's a victory for Chinese golf. On the event's return to Olympics for over a century, Feng's finish on podium has made the dream of Chinese golf come true," he said.

According to Zhang, Feng's achievement will help to promote the sport in China, especially among teenagers.

"Undoubtedly, it's a huge encouragement for us," he added.

China's Lin Xiyu, ranked below-par 38th, also got her name in history as she became the first women golfer to have finished hole-in-one in Olympics.

Different from women's highlight, the Chinese boys still found it hard to compete with top-level golfers due to lack of experience in professional tournaments. Wu Ashun and Li Haotong finished 30th and 50th in Rio respectively.

Chinese golfers have been troubled by a slow start. For them, gaining as much experience as possible in professional tournaments will be vital in their preparation for Tokyo Olympic Games four years later.

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