October 5, 2007 – Talented 14-year-old Steven Lam will have the perfect motivation to do well when the UBS Hong Kong Open qualifying tournament tees off on Monday (October 8).
The Hong Kong amateur sensation is keen to make up for his disappointment at last year’s event when he missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would have got him into a playoff for the final qualifying place.
“I was very close to getting into the playoff 12 months ago and I’m hoping to do even better this time,” said Lam, a student at St Joseph’s College in Mid Levels.
“I would love to qualify for the Hong Kong Open for the first time and I will be doing my very best to achieve this.”
Lam will be the youngest of 39 competitors vying for five UBS Hong Kong Open slots when the 36-hole qualifying tournament is held on the Old Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling on Monday and Tuesday.
Fellow amateur Jimmy Ko will be looking to repeat his performance of 12 months ago when he successfully qualified for the Open. The 19-year-old has spent some time in the United States, where he has been playing in tournaments and working hard on his game.
Ko is currently in Taiwan representing Hong Kong at the 23rd Asia Pacific Amateur Golf Teams Championship – the Nomura Cup – meaning he will go into the qualifier with some recent tough competition behind him, as will his Nomura Cup teammates Martin Liu (aged 20) and the experienced Stuart Murray (41).
Other leading Hong Kong amateurs in the field will be former Putra Cup representative Alexi Van Damme and former Clearwater Bay Golf Club champion Adrian Leung.
The amateurs will be up against Hong Kong’s top professionals, including Dominique Boulet, who has played in 15 Hong Kong Opens and twice finished in the top 10, and Derek Fung, winner of last year’s qualifying tournament.
Wong Woon Man and James Stewart, who represented Hong Kong in the World Cup qualifying tournament, have automatic entry into the Open.
The US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open will be held on the Championship Course at Fanling on November 15-18.
The five successful qualifiers will join a stellar Open field that includes 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir, two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen, PGA Tour stars KJ Choi and Trevor Immelman and Chinese No.1 and current Asian Tour UBS Order of Merit leader Liang Wenchong.
The 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.
Four places for boys aged 12-21 are available in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by six-time Major winner Nick Faldo at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen on December 12-14.
Two places in the Grand Final are available for girls aged 12-21 and these will be decided at the Hong Kong Ladies Open Amateur Championship.
The Hong Kong competition is the fifth of 11 Faldo Series Asia events in 2007 in nine different countries.
“The Faldo Series Asia aims to develop tomorrow’s champions by providing competitors with a combination of experience and education,” said Faldo.
“The fact that the players in Hong Kong will be competing alongside professionals and senior amateurs will be an invaluable learning experience in itself; let alone if they earn a place in the UBS Hong Kong Open.
“My thanks go to UBS and the Hong Kong Golf Association for making this happen and I look forward to meeting the winners at the Grand Final in December.”