Chinese Taipei’s Lu Wei-chih hopes his life story will serve as an inspiration to many when he takes his place among the strong field that boasts over 20 Asian Tour champions at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) which starts on Thursday.
Lu, who is the only player from Chinese Taipei to win the Yeangder TPC in 2011, underwent a brain tumour surgery the following year in 2012.
From the highs of winning twice on home soil including the Yeangder TPC in 2011, Lu fell to an all-time low when he was diagnosed a non-malignant tumour in mid-2012.
However, the father-of-two has been making steady progress on his road to recovery, even getting back to the winner’s circle with his hard-fought victory on the Taiwan PGA Challenge Tour last week.
“I hope my life story can inspire many as it shows giving up is never an option. It has been a very tough journey but I persevered and focused on my training in hope of getting back to my competitive best.
“If I compare my health to last year, I’m definitely 50% better than what it was then. And of course, if you rate it against my pre-operations days, it’s just about 70% of what it used to be,” said Lu.
Lu’s victory on the domestic circuit was also his first win since he underwent surgery and he believes his positive outlook in life, which underlines the strength of the human spirit, has been the key.
“Every day brings new hope and its always improving, whether it’s my overall fitness or my form on the golf course.
“Obviously I hope to carry on my winning form from last week but to be honest, I also want to be realistic with my target. I’m not sure if I can reclaim the title as I’ll probably be lagging behind my rivals in terms of my fitness but hopefully the golf can tilt that balance,” said Lu.
Meanwhile Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena, who finished second at the Yeangder TPC twice in 2014 and 2015, is determined to end the week with a flourish.
As the highest ranked player in the field this week, the 21-year-old has been riding on a rich vein of form over the last seven months.
Currently fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Tabuena won his first Asian Tour title on home soil last December before going on to finish tied fourth and second in Singapore and Malaysia.
He also made his dream debut at the U.S. Open earlier this month after topping the sectional qualifying.
“I’m really happy with my game. I’ve learnt a lot the last couple of weeks especially at the U.S. Open and I believe my game is ready.
“This course suits my game. I’ve played well here where I almost won it twice and hopefully this will be my week,” said Tabuena.
Defending champion Shaun Norris of South Africa meanwhile managed to soak in the positive vibes upon his return to the Linkou International Golf and Country Club and is ready to pit himself against the region’s best players again.
“The win here was a massive step for me in my career and showed I’m capable I’m of winning more events on the Asian Tour.
“I’m looking forward to the week. I like to recall the shots that I made last year and the good feelings I had. I’m hitting the ball well and my putting is not bad either. So I’m definitely in for a chance to defend my title,” said the South African.
The Yeangder TPC is one of two Asian Tour tournaments to be staged annually in Chinese Taipei, with the other being the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
Established in 2010, the Yeangder Group renewed its commitment to sponsor the popular event for another three years.