As happy hunting grounds go, China is right up near the top on Marc Warren’s list. He created history there, after all, by joining forces with Colin Montgomerie to record Scotland’s first World Cup win and “always has nice memories of one of the highlights of my career when I go back there”.
Less well known is that the current Scottish No 1 used another visit to the same country to make his presence felt for the first time on a leaderboard featuring Tiger Woods.
“I finished fifth in the HSBC Champions in 2006 and it could have been better as my wedge shot hit the flag at the last and came back into the water,” recalled Warren as he looked forward to playing in the same event, albeit now one with WGC status, this week.
“I made a bogey when a 5 would have given me third and a 4 would have left me tied for second with Tiger.”
While there’s no Woods on this occasion as he recovers from the latest “procedure” carried out on his back, world No 1 Jordan Spieth heads the star-studded line-up at Sheshan International in Shanghai, where the American’s title rivals include Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson. “It’s a huge event and is being played on a golf course I really like,” added Warren, who is flying the Saltire along with Russell Knox after he came off the reserve list on Monday following the withdrawal of JB Holmes.
“I particularly like the greens on this course. There’s not as much grain as you normally get out in Asia.”
Sitting 20th in the Race to Dubai and 64th in the world rankings, the 34-year-old is looking for a strong finish in the last three events of the season.
“I’ve played in all the WGCs this year and the goal over the next three weeks is to take a step towards repeating that next season through securing my best finish in the Race to Dubai,” said Warren, who ended up 26th last year.
“I’ve really enjoyed all the big events I’ve played in this year. Once you get a taste for them, you don’t want to be sitting at home watching them on the telly.
“My first aim is to qualify for the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City (the second event on the 2016 European Tour schedule early next month) then I’ll put the clubs away for five or six weeks.”