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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 21:00 GMT
Zhang invite causes upset
Lian-Wei Zhang
Zhang's invite was at Augusta National's discretion
Two leading golfers on the Asian Tour have criticised Augusta National's decision to hand a Masters invite to China's Zhang Lian-wei.

Zhang will become the first Chinese-born golfer to tee up in the season's first major at Augusta on 8 April.

"He is a very good player but I believe there is a lot of politics involved," said Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.

India's Jyoti Randhawa said: "Thongchai should have got the invite, but he is Thai and Zhang is from a superpower."

"I believe it's all do with politics between America and China and if you looked at the individual merits of both Zhang and Thongchai.

"It is very good for Asian golf that Zhang was invited but it is a big surprise here in Asia that Thongchai was overlooked."

Jaidee added: "I am very happy for Zhang but I would have thought that maybe myself or Jyoti might have received an invitation before him."

Jaidee has won three events this year. He also clinched the Asian Order of Merit title in 2001, was runner-up in 2002 and third last season.

Randhawa clinched the Asian money list title in 2002 and played full time for a first season last year on the Japan Tour, winning the prestigious Suntory Open.

Zhang lands Masters invite
18 Mar 04  |  Golf

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