Beijing, April 1: Former badminton world number one Ye Zhaoying is trading her racket for a set of clubs this week in an attempt to become the first woman to qualify for the China Open.
The twice world champion is one of four women in a field of 93 players teeing off on Wednesday in the hope of claiming one of the last three spots at China’s $2.2 million national Open, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
Ye, one of the best shuttlers of all time, ended her 16-year badminton career after winning a bronze medal in controversial circumstances at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Team coach Li Yongbo later admitted he had instructed Ye to lose her semifinal to compatriot Gong Zhichao, who was considered to have a better chance of beating Dane Camilla Martin in the final. “I needed to take up another sport after I retired from badminton and quickly got hooked on golf,” the 34-year-old amateur said in a news release.
The leading three scorers over 36 holes at the Honghua Golf Club this week will qualify for the April 16-19 tournament at Beijing International Golf Club. The China Open is also sanctioned by the new OneAsia Tour and the China Golf Association (CGA). –Reuters