Liang Wen-Chong (Getty Images)
Liang Wen-chong, China’s highest ranked golfer, will lead the home charge in next month’s Hong Kong Open, which returns to the spectacular Hong Kong Golf Club for the 13th time since the event became part of The European Tour International Schedule.
Liang, who is the only player from China to break into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking – he has since slipped back to 131st – will line up alongside Zhang Lian-wei, who finished tied 15th last year after two excellent opening rounds.
The 35 year old Liang will be heading to Fanling in form having taken 15th place in the recent WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, and earlier in the season he finished third in the Avantha Masters, tied third in the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity and tied fifth in the M2M Russian Open.
Liang, the first Chinese to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007, said: “Fanling has got a very long history in China golf. It’s a very special tournament. The Old course is so special and I always enjoy playing there. Since I turned professional, I’ve always played in the Hong Kong Open which I am looking forward to again.
“It is very important to keep the ball on the fairway at the Fanling course. It’s a very narrow golf course and I always enjoy myself whenever I am over there. There are a lot of fans who come out to watch the event which makes it more fun for the players.
“I always like to do well in the Hong Kong Open. If I can get a good feeling, I want to try to become the champion of the Hong Kong Open.”
Zhang, 48, has blazed a trail for golf in China in the last 20 years, becoming the first Chinese player to win on The European Tour, in 2003. He was also the first from his country to compete in the Masters Tournament, and has won five titles on the Asian Tour.
Indeed, the Hong Kong Open is the only national open in Greater China that he does not have in his trophy cabinet, and he would dearly love to add the title to his triumphs in the China Open (2003) and the Macau Open (2001 and 2002).
Joining China’s finest are Hong Kong-based players Timothy Tang and Wong Woon-man, who were members of the Hong Kong team which won the silver medal at China’s National Games in September.
The quartet of home hopefuls will join a strong field for the US$1.3million event from December 5-8, which is co-sanctioned by The European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association. It is the third event of The 2014 Race to Dubai, and one of the last on the 2013 Asian Tour schedule.
Miguel Angel Jiménez will defend the title he won in record-breaking fashion 12 months ago, when he became the oldest winner in European Tour history at the age of 48 years and 318 days.
Tickets are now available from www.cityline.com and www.europeantour.com/tickets.