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Chinese amateur Jin preparing in Columbia County for Masters Tournament

Masters invitee Jin works on game at Champions Retreat

Posted: March 29, 2016 - 11:02pm
Cheng Jin, an amateur from Beijing, China, practiced at the Champions Retreat Golf Club in March to work on his entire game and adjust to the weather before the Masters Tournament. Jin said practicing at the club has been very beneficial.    Photo by Chris Gay
Photo by Chris Gay
Cheng Jin, an amateur from Beijing, China, practiced at the Champions Retreat Golf Club in March to work on his entire game and adjust to the weather before the Masters Tournament. Jin said practicing at the club has been very beneficial.

Waves of pollen fell across Champions Retreat Golf Club as Cheng Jin hit balls on the driving range in mid-March.

The amateur from Beijing, China, worked on his game at the private Columbia County golf club in preparation for his first Masters Tournament appearance next week.

“It’s a lot of difference,” Jin said, adding that it’s still winter in Beijing. “It’s really cold back home.”

Jin spent the month of March mainly at Champions Retreat working on his game and getting acclimated to the Augusta weather. He also spent some time at Augusta National Golf Club, Sage Valley Golf Club and other places.

It’s much different here than in Beijing, which has indoor facilities. He said he can play on regular courses in the southern, warmer part of China.

The 18-year-old Jin qualified for the Masters by winning the rain-shortened Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in October. He opened the tournament with a course-record 62 and held on for a one-shot victory after rain washed out the final round.

“It’s like a dream that came true,” Jin said of playing in the Masters. “I’m really excited to play there. Augusta may be the dream of every golfer.

“The most important thing I’m trying to do there is enjoy the dream.”

Jin said the most memorable Masters he remembers watching was the 2010 tournament. That year, Phil Mickelson went eagle-eagle-birdie on Nos. 13-15 in the third round and went on to win his third green jacket.

“I watched that live on TV,” Jin said. “Pretty incredible.”

As for next week, Jin said he’d like to play a practice round with defending champion Jordan Spieth, who became the second-youngest player to win the Masters. In 2015, Spieth tied Tiger Woods’ 72-hole scoring record in Augusta with an 18-under-par 270 total.

“He’s doing so great at a young age,” Jin said about Spieth. “I really want to talk to him and learn from him.”

Jin said he’s working on his entire game in preparation for the Masters.

He also said practicing at Champions Retreat has been very beneficial.

“It’s hard to find a place like this where I can come out here and practice every day like at my home course,” Jin said. “I really appreciate this opportunity.”

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