November 18, 2008 – Miguel ángel Jiménez is looking forward to this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open as he bids to maintain his outstanding record at the tournament.
The Spanish ace has played in the event four times and has two wins and a joint sixth finish to his name.
Jiménez – champion in 2004 and again last year – is bidding to become only the third player to win the event at least three times.
He is also aiming to become just the second player ever to successfully defend the title.
The 50th edition of the UBS Hong Kong Open tees off on Thursday (November 20) at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling.
“This is a place I have always enjoyed coming to since 2004, when I won on my first visit,” said Jiménez.
“It is great to be back in Hong Kong and I hope to be able to defend the title properly.”
The Ryder Cup star was full of praise for Fanling’s par-70 Championship Course.
“This is a nice golf course. It is an old fashioned course where you need to hit the ball very well from the tee and place the ball well for the second shot,” he said.
“It is one of those golf courses which never gets old and is very interesting. It suits my eye and you need to shape the ball both ways. You need to focus on every single shot and you have to be on the low side of the pin as the greens are so fast.”
Taiwanese legend Hsieh Yung Yo holds the record for most Hong Kong wins with four – in 1963, 1964, 1975 and 1978.
He also remains the only player ever to have won back-to-back titles at Fanling.
Australian great Peter Thomson enjoyed three Hong Kong victories in 1960, 1965 and 1967.
Jiménez is aiming to join that elite club with his third Fanling success.
To be successful he will have to beat a top-class field in the US$2.5 million showpiece that includes former winners Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal and the legendary Bernhard Langer.
PGA Tour star Rory Sabbatini is making his debut at Fanling while two-time Major winner John Daly and former US Open champion Michael Campbell are also in the field.
An Asian has not won the UBS Hong Kong Open since Kang Wook Soon of Korea triumphed 10 years ago but the continent’s top players are lining up to end that run.
Leading the way is Jeev Milkha Singh, fresh from his brilliant victory at last week’s Singapore Open.
The Indian believes Asia’s barren spell at Fanling can come to an end this week.
“It all comes down to how sharp a player’s game is and how he is going to handle himself mentally in the last round,” said Jeev.
“The Asian players are used to playing on this course. The European players are very strong but the Asians have the game to win here.”
Other Asian contenders are likely to be Thai pair Thongchai Jaidee and Chapchai Nirat, Indian duo Arjun Atwal and SSP Chowrasia and Chinese No.1 Liang Wenchong.