Par for China‘s primary subject shot a 1-under 71 on Thursday and currently stands four strokes back of Taiwan’s Chan Yihshin and one stroke back of playing partner Hsu Mongnan, also of Taiwan, who is tied for second place. Zhou got a big write-up (his first) on the Omega China Tour website:

Zhou Xunshu, who played with Hsu, finished joint-fourth on 71 despite playing in the spotlight of NBC’s cameras.

However, the close attention of a Beijing-based crew from the US television network didn’t put him off his game as he enjoyed a rare appearance on the leaderboard.

“I was so nervous when I saw the NBC cameras on my first hole (the 10th). I didn’t know they would be there,” he said. “At first I played well, but I later put two balls in the water. I’m still happy with my score,” said the smiley Zhou.

Zhou is one of many players on the Tour with interesting backgrounds. As a former security guard at a golf course, he has captured the attention of international media and was later interviewed by NBC for a programme on the Omega China Tour and the growth of Chinese golf.

On a day in which the Chinese Taipei duo enjoyed the upper hand, Zhou said he learned a lot from his playing partner.

“It was great for me to play with Hsu,” Zhou said. “He has wonderful course management and a dream short game. That’s exactly what we mainland players need, that kind of short game.”

Hsu was also complimentary about his playing partner. “Zhou outdrove me by 30-40 yards every time,” he said. “He really has everything in his game apart from international experience.”

By “attention of international media” they mean: I following him around at every tournament on the 2007 China Tour schedule (and some tournaments that weren’t on the schedule). NBC learned of Zhou from my ESPN.com piece from last November.

The NBC crew arrives in Shanghai tomorrow morning to interview me.