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China Tour puts off expansion plans

THE fifth year of the China Tour will not expand to 10 events as planned but organizers say that given the global downturn just maintaining the schedule at eight tournaments should be considered a success.

Nick Mould of organizer World Sport Group said the Tour, which was set up by the Chinese Golf Association (CGA) and tees off again this week in Xiamen, Fujian Province, had retained its title sponsorship deal with Omega, although the Swiss watchmaker has had to scale back its investment slightly.

"I think it's proven that no part of society is insulated (from the economic downturn) and that includes sport," Mould, World Sport Group's East Asia president, said.

Mould said plans to add to the tournament schedule this year had been put on the back-burner due to the economic downturn but was happy not to be looking at cutting events.

"You'll probably see eight events this year, as we had last year. To be frank, we wanted to be at 10 for 2009. But if we can do eight at basically the same level, in the current climate, that would be a success."

Mould said he thought the Tour had already started delivering with the success of Liang Wenchong, a winner on the Asian and European Tours, and the likes of Wu Ashun, who finished fourth at the Asian Tour's Thai Open this month.

Wu will be in the field at the Orient Golf and Country Club this weekend for the one million yuan (US$146,200) tournament.


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