For Chinese teenage star Ding Wenyi there’s precious little time to dwell on what might have been.

In the first three-way play-off in Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship history last Sunday, Ding and compatriot Sampson Zheng were edged out by Australian Jasper Stubbs.

Courtesy of his dramatic triumph, Stubbs has earned starting places in the Masters Tournament and The 152nd Open Championship in 2024. 

Meanwhile, Ding has flown here to compete in this week’s Volvo China Open pondering what might have been after missing out on the grand prize by such a narrow margin.

Reflecting on the bitter taste of extra-time defeat at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, 18-year-old Ding was in philosophical mood.

Ding, last year’s US Junior Amateur champion who is 17th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, said: “It was a really great week. I thank all the people that support and create this tournament. 

“I think I did well. Just sometimes if you want to be the champion, you have to have some luck.

“Actually, on the last putt on the 18th hole before the play-off, I didn’t think I had a chance. But I didn’t give up. I made a par and I got into the play-off. 

“I didn’t feel nervous because I play a lot of tournaments and I know the champion sometimes is waiting for you. This time, it’s not mine … but that’s okay.” 

Rather than stew on the missed chance to appear at Augusta National and Royal Troon next year, Ding’s immediate focus has switched to Shenzhen’s Hidden Grace Golf Club this week, an establishment with which he has close ties, carrying its name on his cap.

It was in 2020 at this very venue that Ding finished runner-up at the Volvo China Open – the best performance to date by an amateur in the event.

“Last week had so many positives. I feel comfortable coming back to my country and hopefully get a good result this week,” he said.

“I played some tournaments on the Asian Tour this year and I am glad to come back here. I think there is still some way to go for me to win on Asian Tour but it’s not out of the question. I will keep the same routine this week. Hidden Grace Golf Club is in good condition, especially the greens.”

Based on his performance in Melbourne and his third-place finish in the Hainan Open on the European Challenge Tour four weeks ago, it would be no surprise to see Ding vying for the Volvo China Open title come Sunday.

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