Chinese hopefuls aiming high as Canadian tour returns

The youngest player in this year’s PGA Tour Canada is China’s Ye Wocheng. However, playing in professional golf tournaments is nothing new for the 21-year-old Ye, who grew up in Dongguan, Guangdong province, and currently lives in Orlando, Florida.,Golf fans have also known about Ye for a long time.,In 2013, as a 12-year-old, he qualified for the Volvo China Open on the DP World Tour (then known as the European Tour). He was then and still is the youngest competitor in the history of that circuit. Four years later, he made the cut at the same tournament, establishing the DP World Tour record for the youngest player to feature over the weekend. He tied for 59th.,Ye joins three other countrymen this week at Uplands Golf Club as the PGA Tour Canada resumes operations after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. The tour last played an official event in September 2019.,Ye joins Cao Yi, a PGA Tour Series-China veteran and current Canada resident, and Liu Kaiwen and Wang Shouqian, as the four players from the Chinese mainland on the circuit.,Liu and Wang both played college golf in the US-Liu at the University of Washington, and Wang at Northwestern University. Ye also played college golf, at the University of Florida, but for only one year before he elected to turn pro.,He qualified for the PGA Tour Canada through a tournament in Weston, Florida, in March, when he finished second to Germany’s Alex Herrmann. Since then, he has been patiently waiting for the Canadian season to start, practicing, playing one-day tournaments near his Florida home, and attempting to qualify for events on the Korn Ferry Tour, the circuit a step above the PGA Tour Canada. Although Ye was unsuccessful in those efforts, he was happy for the experience.,”I’m getting a little tired of the one-day events, so I want to play in the real stuff, the four-day, four-round tournaments,” Ye said in anticipation of the Royal Beach Victoria Open, the first of 11 PGA Tour Canada tournaments in 2022.,It’s been a little less than a year since Ye was playing regular tournament golf, where he was earning world-ranking points.,Playing on the 2021 China Tour, Ye was dominant, winning twice-at the Sanya Classic and the Nanshan Open-and posting six other top-10s.,As he moves to a slightly higher level of competition, Ye feels well prepared after arriving in Vancouver last week and traveling to Uplands Golf Club on Monday.,”I’m feeling pretty solid and feel like I’m getting better and better the closer we get to this tournament,” said Ye. “I played on the PGA Tour Series-China and also the China Tour last year, so I have a good idea how pro events go and what playing a regular schedule is like.”,Cao is getting ready for a busy 14-day stretch with the season-opener this week followed by a trip to Toronto for the RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf and Country Club.,Cao is playing in that PGA Tour tournament by virtue of his stellar 2020 performances at four tournaments the PGA Tour Canada held for Canadian residents in the midst of the pandemic.,Officials canceled the RBC Canadian Open in both 2020 and 2021, so this is the first chance Cao has to take advantage of his invitation.,”I feel very honored to play on the PGA Tour even though I’ve played in the WGC-HSBC Championship before. But that was through a country exemption. This time I actually feel like I earned my spot for myself, so actually I’m really excited for the tournament,” Cao explained, referring to the exemptions awarded to him by the China Golf Association for the HSBC Champions in 2016 and 2018 at Sheshan International in Shanghai.,Before Cao leaves for St. George’s in Toronto, he has this week’s Royal Beach Victoria Open in British Columbia on his mind. It is one of the 11 remaining PGA Tour Canada tournaments this year.,”My goal for the season is I’m trying to get on the Korn Ferry Tour. That’s pretty obvious,” added Cao.,”I feel like since I’m 31, I feel my game is ready for the next level and to prove that this year on the PGA Tour Canada.”, ,