Three of the European Tour’s most celebrated Asian stars were treated to a unique experience ahead of the Volvo China Open as home favourite Li Haotong, Indian star Shubhankar Sharma and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat visited the Great Wall of China. The famous Chinese landmark, which is regarded as one of the seven modern wonders of the world, is visible from the host venue course, Topwin Golf and Country Club.
Li, Sharma and Aphibarnrat – all multiple European Tour winners – made the short journey up the mountain two days before the Volvo China Open teed off (late-April) to take in the spectacular views, while also being treated to a traditional Chinese musical experience.
After a performance of music on an instrument known as a Zither, all three players got to try out the instrument in the most spectacular of settings. While Li and Aphibarnrat had both been lucky enough to have visited the Great Wall on previous occasions, for Sharma it was an unforgettable first experience.
“Being here is such a great experience,” he said. “I just flew in from Houston in the morning, had a quick shower and came straight to the Great Wall. I’ve only ever seen it on TV and in movies so it is such a great experience to see it up close. “I’ve also only ever seen the Volvo China Open on TV and know that Jeev (Milka Singh) won it in 2006.
I’ve had a great season so a win this week would be really special. I haven’t seen the course yet but I will go practice, keep doing the things that have brought me success so far and see where it takes me. I’m confident in how I am playing and know I just need one good round to get going again.”
Li, who won the event to great fanfare in 2016, said: “It’s always a joy to be up here where the view is so beautiful – although I’m definitely more of a golfer than a musician!”
Aphibarnrat, meanwhile, was grateful to see a section of the Great Wall which he had never seen before and also just to get a new experience under his belt away from the golf course. “I definitely, prefer to hit balls than play instruments but today has been a great experience for me,” he said. “I usually only see the hotel and the golf course so to be up at the Great Wall and feel all that history is really exciting.”