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Liang sets sights on US Open ticket
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08:32, May 23, 2008

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China's Liang Wenchong will try to complete his "grand slam" of major tournament appearances by qualifying for the US Open in Japan next week.

The reigning Asian Tour No 1 has registered for the 36-hole qualifier at Ibaraki Country Club's West Course in Osaka on May 26. His goal is to make it to Torrey Pines, the venue of the US Open in June.

"This is the first time I'm going to compete in a qualifier for the US Open and I'm hoping to get through," said Liang, who became the first Chinese to lift the Asian Tour's Order of Merit crown last season.

The 29-year-old made his major debut at the US PGA Championship last season and was invited to play in the US Masters last month. As Asia's No 1, Liang automatically qualifies for the British Open in July, making the US Open the only major not yet listed on his impressive resume.

The talented Chinese has shown a recent return to form, finishing second in the Japan PGA Championship last weekend. Liang admitted his early-season performances were not his best, which he said was due to his anxiety heading into his Masters appearance.

"When I received the invitation to the Masters, I had all sorts of thoughts in my mind and it affected my game and preparation," Liang said. "But now, I feel like I'm starting to play my best golf again."

Liang will be one of a select group of Asian Tour stalwarts attempting to qualify for the US Open. Thai duo Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant and Filipino Artemio Murakami will also be competing.

Prayad, the stocky Thai winner of the Volvo Asia Masters in Bangkok last December, hopes a successful showing at Ibaraki will help him redeem himself after an injury forced him out of the US Masters midway through the second round.

Thaworn's only major appearance was at the 2006 British Open in Royal Liverpool where he finished a respectable joint 31st after sitting in the top 10 at the halfway point.

Murakami, winner of the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia last season, will be looking for his first major appearance.

Angel Cabrera of Argentina is the defending champion of the US Open.

Source:China Daily

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