Asia's Best Eye Success in the UBS Hong Kong Open
Friday, 29 Oct 2010:
A stellar line-up of Asian Tour number ones will bid for glory at the UBS Hong Kong Open from November 18-21.
Current Order of Merit leader Noh Seung-yul of Korea heads the powerful cast where he will make his debut in the prestigious US$2.5 million showpiece sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Decorated Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, who holds an unprecedented three Merit titles, China’s Liang Wen-chong, the region’s number one in 2007, and Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei, winner of the UBS Hong Kong Open in 2008, have also confirmed their participation in Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event.
“It’ll be my first time competing in the UBS Hong Kong Open and I’m looking forward to it. One of my goals for the remainder of the year is to break into the world’s top-50 and a strong result in Hong Kong will help me to achieve this,” said 19-year-old Noh.
“I have heard that it is a great championship. I was in Hong Kong two years ago and I enjoyed the city and the food was very nice!,” he added.
With one victory in Malaysia and four other top-10s this season, the teen titan is on track to become the youngest ever Asian Tour number one. “It will be special if I can make history by becoming the new number one. I will try my best,” said Noh.
Liang, who is China’s first Asian number one, has finished inside the top-15 at the UBS Hong Kong Open over the past four editions but is determined to hit top spot this year.
“It is one of my goals to win the UBS Hong Kong Open at least once in my career and I have had a lot of luck with UBS events in the past. I won a UBS gold bar with a hole-in-one a few years ago, and the tournament also proved to be key stepping stone to winning the UBS Order of Merit as Asia's number one.
“UBS has really elevated the event for everyone inside and outside the ropes, and the tournament has become a very important one in most players’ calendars. But on top of that, the UBS Hong Kong Open is extra special to me being so close to home I get to spend more time with my family and friends, and the support and encouragement I receive from the Hong Kong galleries - in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin - makes the atmosphere quite special too.” said Liang.
“I’ve played well in the championship over the years and hopefully, I can produce four really good rounds to give myself a chance of winning the UBS title and give something extra special for my supporters to cheer about.” added the Chinese star.
Lin is dreaming of glory at the UBS Hong Kong Open again, two years after pulling off one of the greatest shots ever witnessed in Fanling.
“It is an event which I hold close to my heart. It was fantastic to win the tournament in 2008 as the UBS Hong Kong Open is one of the most prestigious events in Asia. I enjoy playing in Fanling and I hope to contend again,” said the 36-year-old.
He ended Asia’s 10-year wait for a winner in Hong Kong in great style. While the list of champions is illustrious and includes nine Major champions, Lin’s recovery shot in the first play-off hole two years ago will forever be part of Fanling’s folklore.
Stuck in thick woods after an errant drive off the 18th tee, Lin produced an extraordinary recovery shot high over trees which landed several feet away for a birdie that kept him in the play-off against Rory McIlory and Francesco Molinari.
Lin then defeated McIlroy at the second extra hole, striking a radar-guided approach which stopped inches from the flag. “I still reminisce about my victory. And of course I remember the shot from the trees. It was a crazy shot. If I were to try hitting the same shot again, I don’t think I will pull it off. When I’m at home, I still watch the DVD of the tournament and will play that shot over and over again. It was an impossible shot,” said Lin.
Thongchai is one of Asia’s most successful players with a record three Order of Merit crowns and 12 career titles, which is a joint record. He finished second and third in the UBS Hong Kong Open in 2006 and 2007.
“The course is very challenging. You need to hit the fairways at Fanling to shoot a good score. I always enjoy going to Hong Kong and I’ve had some good results there in the past. Hopefully, we can have another enjoyable week,” said Thongchai.
The 2010 edition of the UBS Hong Kong Open marks a new era as it will be promoted by EurAsia Golf Ltd, the joint venture between the European and Asian Tours.
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