Amateur duo prepare to make tournament debut following success in Qualifying Tournament
Taichi Kho and Matthew Cheung will represent Hong Kong at the 59th edition of the UBS Hong Kong Open, when the tournament tees off at the Hong Kong Golf Club in November.
The two amateurs secured berths at one of Asia’s most prestigious tournaments following their first and second place finishes in the UBS Hong Kong Open Qualifying Tournament which finished on 29 September.
Sixteen-year-old Kho extended his two-shot overnight lead to finish with a nine-under par score, four shots clear of second-placed Cheung who finished on five-under par after 36 holes.
With his father once again on his bag, the self-assured Discovery College pupil held his nerve to make three birdies on the front nine of the New Course and a further pair after the turn; a bogey on the par-four 15th, the only dropped shot for the round.
Qualifying for the UBS Hong Kong Open for the first time, Kho said: “It feels really great. It’s always been one of my goals to qualify for the Open. It hasn’t really sunk in yet but it feels great. I was pretty nervous coming into today but I managed to stick with the plan and stayed focused.”
“I haven’t really thought about the UBS Hong Kong Open just yet – my first target will be to make the cut and take it from there,” added Kho.
Cheung put in a strong back nine to bring him into contention for one of the two places on offer. Tied in third place overnight, three consecutive birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16 put him clear of third-placed Terrence Ng, who settled for three-under par after 36 holes.
The 22-year-old from Tai Koo, who celebrated his birthday today, is another tournament debutant, and like Kho, a member of the Hong Kong Golf Association’s elite amateur squad.
“I hit a lot of good shots and had a really good day. I had a great caddy in Michelle [Cheung] who was really good at keeping me in the moment; we laughed a lot and just had a good time. It was also great to have my dad out there supporting me,”said Cheung.
Looking ahead to November, Cheung added: “I’m super excited – it has always been a goal to play in the UBS Hong Kong Open. I’ve got a lot of tournaments to play in the next six weeks so hopefully, I will just keep improving.”
“One of our primary objectives in sponsoring the UBS Hong Kong Open is to make golf more accessible to a broader audience in Hong Kong. I am sure that the participation of top local golfers in the tournament will be a considerable stimulus in building interest within the community,” said Amy Lo, Chairman and Head of UBS Wealth Management Greater China and Country Head of UBS Hong Kong.
“We wish Taichi and Matthew the best of luck at the Hong Kong Golf Club and hope, one day, to see a home-grown talent win the trophy,” added Lo.
Played in hot conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the qualifying event saw 26 amateur and professional Hong Kong nationals compete for a starting berth in the 23 – 26 November tournament and the opportunity to test themselves against some of the biggest names in the game, including Masters Champion, Sergio Garcia.
Arnold Wong, Captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club, added: “We extend our congratulations to Taichi and Matthew on successfully qualifying for this year’s UBS Hong Kong Open. They have both played some excellent golf over the last two days and are deserving of their places in the tournament. We look forward to seeing them back at the Hong Kong Golf Club at the end of November where I am sure they will give spectators plenty to cheer about.”
The UBS Hong Kong Open is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours as well as the Hong Kong Golf Association and will be staged on the Composite Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling between 23 and 26 November 2017.
The UBS Hong Kong Open 2017 is an accredited event celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The HKSAR Government and HKTB fully support the UBS Hong Kong Open.
To commemorate the Anniversary, the HKSAR Government is joining organising a wide variety of activities and events under the theme “Together, Progress, Opportunity”.
For more details on 20th Anniversary events and activities, visit: www.hksar20.gov.hk/eng