Keep an eye on Taiwan’s Chien Soon Lu

PARKER, Colo. – Here’s the story of the best player you’ve never heard of and, perhaps, the one to watch when it comes time to decide the 71st Senior PGA Championship Sunday afternoon.

If nothing else, Taiwan’s Chien Soon Lu is a survivor.

He became conditionally exempt for the 2010 Champions Tour season via last year’s Q-School, where he got the 12th and final spot with a birdie at the eighth playoff hole. He’s played in five Champions Tour events so far this year and has four top-10 finishes, good enough for 12th place on the money list with $323,000.

Still, if the name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s with good reason. Because of back problems, Lu was sidelined for most of the preceding decade; he played no golf from 2001-08.

“No surgery,” he explained though his caddie/translator, Sean Lin. “Physical therapy and herbal medicines.”

Added Lin, “Like magic!”

Make no mistake about it; Lu can play. He owns a dozen wins on the Asian Tour and 20 from the Taiwan Tour. Twice he was the Asian Tour Order of Merit winner.

Even after he missed eight years because of his back problems, he returned and immediately won.

When he finished his second round at Colorado Golf Club early Friday afternoon, his 4-under-par 140 was two shots out of the lead, but he was headed to the practice range for more work.

“Trying to hit it straighter in the fairway,” Lin said. “If you can’t hit fairways on this course . . .”

Then Lu chimed in, “No chance.”

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