October 15, 2007 – PGA Tour winners Stuart Appleby and Arron Oberholser and defending champion José Manuel Lara have been added to the stellar line-up for next month’s UBS Hong Kong Open.
Confirmation that Appleby and Oberholser will be making their Hong Kong debuts brings to six the number of PGA Tour aces confirmed for the US$2.25 million showpiece.
Lara, meanwhile, will be attempting to become only the second player in history to win back-to-back Hong Kong titles.
Appleby, 36, has enjoyed a sparkling career in the United States with eight PGA Tour victories.
The Australian has registered three top-10 finishes this year, including an impressive showing at the Masters where he wound up joint seventh.
“I’ve heard plenty of praise for the UBS Hong Kong Open so I’m looking forward to making my debut in the tournament,” he said.
“The presence of several of my PGA Tour colleagues, together with top players from Europe and Asia, means it is going to be a tough event to win, but I’ll be giving it my best shot.
“I understand a few Australians have won the Hong Kong Open in the past, including such legends as Peter Thomson and Greg Norman, so it would be great to add my name to the list.”
California native Oberholser achieved his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour last year when he triumphed in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and he has recorded five top-10 finishes this year.
The 32-year-old will be aiming to become the first American champion in Hong Kong since Gary Webb in 1995.
The UBS Hong Kong Open will be held on November 15-18 at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling.
Appleby and Oberholser will join four other PGA Tour stars in the field – former Masters champion Mike Weir, two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen, world No.9 KJ Choi and rising star Trevor Immelman.
Lara, 30, will return to Hong Kong 12 months after his thrilling one-shot win over Filipino rookie Juvic Pagunsan.
“I have great memories of the UBS Hong Kong Open after my victory last year,” said the Spaniard.
“It was my first win on the European Tour and so it will be a special moment for me to return to Fanling to defend my title.
“I’m told that only one player has ever won back-to-back titles in Hong Kong so I’ll be doing my very best to match that feat.”
Taiwan’s Hsieh Yung Yo remains the only player to have won the Open two years in a row – in 1963 and 1964.
Chinese No.1 and current Asian Tour UBS Order of Merit leader Liang Wenchong has already been signed up to lead what promises to be a powerful Asian challenge.
Korea’s Kang Wook Soon was the last Asian player to win the Open, in 1998, since when European golfers have won the past eight editions.
Tournament title sponsor UBS hailed the confirmation that Appleby, Oberholser and Lara would be coming to Fanling.
“We are delighted to be able to announce that these three marquee names will join the 49th edition of the UBS Hong Kong Open, the heritage tournament of Asian golf,” said Kathryn Shih, Chief Executive of UBS Hong Kong Branch.
“Golf fans around the region will fondly remember the wonderful final-day display of defending champion José Manuel Lara last year at Fanling.
“Along with Arron and Stuart, one of the most consistent players on the US PGA Tour in recent years, these players will ensure the battle for a long-awaited next victory for Asia by players such as KJ Choi and Liang Wenchong will be a formidable challenge indeed.”
The UBS Hong Kong Open, promoted by Parallel Media Group, is again jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours and more star players will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Open was first staged in 1959 – making it the territory’s oldest professional sporting event – and has been held every year at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
The 2007 tournament will mark the third year of UBS’s four-year title sponsorship agreement.