November 3, 2006 – History will be made on Monday, November 6 when 31 Hong Kong golfers tee it up in the first ever UBS Hong Kong Open qualifying tournament.
The local hopefuls will play the Old Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling in a straightforward 18-hole shootout for five slots in the main draw of the US$2 million showpiece.
“It will be a historic moment and the first step in making the UBS Hong Kong Open truly ‘open’,” said Iain Valentine, chief executive of the Hong Kong Golf Association.
“The UBS Hong Kong Open has a rich heritage and has grown into one of the most prestigious tournaments in Asia, so it is only natural that more and more players wish to take part.
“With this in mind, we have implemented this first qualifying tournament to give local players the chance to shine on the big stage.
“In future years, we expect the qualifying tournament to be opened up to overseas players so that any golfer, whether from Hong Kong or abroad, will have the chance to play in the UBS Hong Kong Open.”
Monday’s qualifying field will comprise 18 members of the Hong Kong Professional Golfers Association and 13 amateurs exempted by the HKGA.
Those who make it through to the main draw will face a stellar line-up that includes defending champion Colin Montgomerie, Major winners Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell, four-time PGA Tour winner KJ Choi, Asian Tour UBS Order of Merit leader Jeev Milkha Singh and Chinese No.1 Liang Wenchong.
The 48th UBS Hong Kong Open will take place on the Championship Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club on November 16-19.
Monday’s qualifying event is being run in conjunction with the Hong Kong leg of the Faldo Series Asia – also sponsored by UBS – meaning some of the young amateurs taking part will have their scores counting towards both tournaments.
The Faldo competition will see dozens of Hong Kong amateurs aged under 21 competing for six slots – four for men, two for women – in the Faldo Series Asia grand final at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, China, in February next year.
The man behind the Series, six-time Major winner Nick Faldo, welcomed the fact that the Hong Kong leg was being staged alongside the UBS Hong Kong Open qualifying tournament.
“The Faldo Series Asia aims to provide competitors with a combination of tournament experience and golfing education,” he said.
“The fact that the players will be competing against professionals and leading amateurs alike will be an invaluable education in itself, let alone if they earn a place in the UBS Hong Kong Open.
“I am grateful to UBS and the Hong Kong Golf Association for their role in making this happen and look forward to meeting the winners at the Faldo Series Asia grand final.”