The European Tour heads to Asia this week for the UBS Hong Kong Open. A strong field has assembled and it’s a crucial week for players looking to secure playing privileges in 2016.
After this event, the top 110 on the Race to Dubai standings will regain their card for next season so there could be some nervous moments as the tournament reaches its climax.
Scott Hend of Australia won this tournament last year, coming through a playoff against Angelo Que of the Philippines. Hend is back on the start sheet this year, but he’ll face stern competition from a strong field that includes a number of European major winners. Justin Rose will make a start, as will Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington.
Others to watch will be recent British Masters winner Matthew Fitzpatrick of England and European Open champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.
Four things to watch for at the UBS Hong Kong Open:
1. The battle to make the top 110 could be an intensive one. England’s Seve Benson is currently in 110th place but those outside the bubble will be trying to force their way in. Amongst those looking to pass Benson will be three of his countrymen. Matthew Nixon is 114th, Tom Lewis is 116th and Matt Ford is 118th. All three of those players will tee it up this week.
2. Miguel Angel Jimenez has enjoyed great success in this tournament in years gone by. He first won at Hong Kong Golf Club in 2005, he took the title again in 2008 and then won in consecutive years – 2012 and 2013. The 51-year-old is still competitive on the main circuit and is 23rd on the Race to Dubai standings.
3. Dustin Johnson will make a rare appearance on the European Tour for this event. The powerful 31-year-old will be looking to end his competitive year on a high by sealing a victory in Fanling. The last time Johnson played in a regular European Tour event was at the BMW International Open of 2013.
4. The course at Hong Kong Golf Club is one that demands accuracy and a strategic approach. Measuring less than 7,000 yards, it’s not long by modern standards, but it’s tricky with trees, water and small greens. The Hong Kong Golf Club was founded in 1889 and the club has been host to this tournament since 1959. It’s one of the few professional events to have remained at the same venue for such a long period of time.
This will be the 57th running of the Hong Kong Open and it’s been on the European Tour schedule since 2002. Since the tournament was first contested in 1959 there have been a number of notable winners including Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Tom Watson and, more recently, Colin Montgomerie and Rory McIlroy.