Maybin’s Eastern promise

GARETH Maybin knows what it takes to win on Chinese soil. Back in 2008, Gareth secured his breakthrough win at the Qingdao Open on the European Challenge Tour.

Now the 29-year-old is among a six strong Irish contingent [Paul McGinley, Shane Lowry, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie, Graeme McDowell] that has made the long trip to Suzhou for the Volvo China Open which gets underway on Thursday.

Maybin was one of the first competitors to practice on the Jinji Lakes International Golf club course designed by South African legend Gary Player.

Player has created three sections of nine holes at Jinji Lake, Forest, Wetlands and Links, the latter two forming the formidable 18 holes over which China’s national open golf championship will be played.

The Wetlands nine measures 3,672 yards, the Links nine a fraction less at 3,654 yards, both halves par 36, the par for the 7,326 yard layout of 72 is certain to be tough to beat.

“I like the look of the golf course here in Souzhou and having been brought up on parkland course, I’m more at home with Wetlands than the Links although I’m really looking forward to testing myself against the course and what is a great field for the Volvo China Open,” he said.

With compatriots Paul McGinley, Graeme McDowell and 2008 Volvo China Open champion Damien McGrane already in the Volvo winner’s enclosure, Maybin is excited about his second appearance in the Volvo China Open, having recorded with a top 20 finish in Beijing last year.

The Ballyclare golfer has played sporadically this season but already has two top 10 finishes to his name.  including a fourth in the season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

“My game is good right now, steady without any fireworks but I feel as though I’m ready to take the next step up and hopefully can do something special this week,” he said.

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