Liang seeks winning return to India


GURGAON, India – China’s Liang Wen-chong wants a winning return to India in the $2.1 million Avantha Masters golf tournament beginning Thursday as he mounts a bid to reclaim his place as Asia’s No. 1.

Two years after winning the 2008 Indian Open, Liang will be among the main contenders for the title at the DLF Country and Golf Club on the outskirts of New Delhi.

“It’s always nice to return to the place that brought you fond memories. I hope I’ll leave here with sweet memories again at the end of the week,” said Liang.

Liang, 31, won the 2007 Asian Tour Order of Merit, was fourth in 2008 and runner-up last year to Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

“I’d like to get my season off to a good start. I had a top-25 finish at the Sony Open in the United States back in January and I’m feeling good about my form,” Liang said.

The inaugural Avantha Masters is tri-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours with the Professional Golf Tour of India. It has attracted European Ryder Cup stars Darren Clarke and David Howell, beside a slew of Asian players that includes India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, the 2008 Asian No. 1.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won the Asian Tour season opener in Thailand on the weekend, is another of the local contenders.

Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, just one victory short of matching compatriot Thongchai’s record of 12 Asian Tour titles, is looking to extend his winning record after the title win in Macau last year.

“It’ll be nice to match Thongchai’s record, but I do not want to put too much pressure on myself,” said Thaworn.