Major Champions Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen, along with defending champion Colin Montgomerie, head to this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open in determined mood after strong performances in Shanghai.
Campbell and Goosen in particular played some magnificent golf during the HSBC Champions to share third place and the pair will be among the favourites at Hong Kong Golf Club.
Campbell arrives in Fanling on a high following a course-record equalling final round of 64 last Sunday lifted him into third.
“I am really excited about the three weeks coming up, starting with Hong Kong,” said Campbell. “I played it three or four years ago and finished top ten. My form is good at the moment. I finished second to Goosen a month ago and a top three this week so my form has finally turned the corner.”
Goosen, playing in the UBS Hong Kong Open for the first time, completed a successful defence of the Volkswagen Masters – China last month and came close to victory in the HSBC Champions but faltered over the back nine.
Montgomerie is returning to the scene of his thrilling one-shot triumph last year and he too will have gleaned plenty of confidence from his final round 67 at Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday.
“I’m delighted to be returning to the UBS Hong Kong Open as champion and cannot wait to get back to the Hong Kong Golf Club,” he said.
“I benefited from my fair share of luck on my way to winning last year, but it was a real honour to see my name go on the trophy alongside names such as Peter Thomson, Tom Watson, my European colleagues Ian Woosnam and José Maria Olazábal and also some of Asia’s best players.”
The US$2 million total purse for this year’s tournament marks an US$800,000 increase on 2005 as UBS underlines its commitment to Asian golf in general and the Hong Kong Open in particular.
“With this year’s boost in prize money, UBS has really established the tournament as one of the elite events in the region,” added Montgomerie, winner of 39 titles worldwide and a key member of Europe’s Ryder Cup winning Team.
“I’m looking forward to trying my luck at successfully defending the title, which I know hasn’t happened very often in the last 50 years or so.”
They will be part of a stellar field that also includes US PGA Tour winner KJ Choi, the 2006 Volvo Masters champion Jeev Milkha Singh and China's top player, Wen-Chong Liang.
The UBS Hong Kong Open - once again co-sanctioned by The European and Asian Tours - is one of the oldest and most prestigious golf tournaments in Asia. It was first staged in 1959 and has been won by some of the game's all-time greats, including Major Champions such as Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, José Maria Olazábal, Peter Thomson, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam.
|1||LARA, José Manuel||ESP||18||-15|
|T3||SINGH, Jeev Milkha||IND||18||-12|
|T6||JIMÉNEZ, Miguel Angel||ESP||18||-11|