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slightly raised greens on the Masters are not radically contoured but there are certainly right and wrong sides of the hole to putt from. The obvious exception is the putting surface at the par-five sixteenth which features three separate tiers. Failing to find the correct level will result in an extremely difficult putt. Getting down in two will put a definite jaunt in your stride as you head to the seventeenth. But it ’s really the muscular greenside bunkering – a mix of tiny pots and much larger irregular-shaped pits – that are the main hazards to avoid. While water plays a protective role on a number of holes – most memorably at the brilliant eighteenth, perhaps the strongest and most visually stunning par-four on the course – the bunkers rank among the deepest in the Middle Kingdom. They’re also plenty of them – at the glorious fourteenth, a par-four of little more than 300 yards, over twenty almost perfectly circular pots lie in wait for any drastically underhit approaches. It might sound unusual, and it is. But it works. It's also a great deal of fun - which is, as Engh himself would say, the whole point. The Open Course, while described by some as a so-say easier test because of its shorter length and less penal bunkering, is another rollicking

Hillview Haven

This Dongguan beauty, one of the best 36-hole resorts in China, should be close to the top of everyone’s play lists BY THE EDITORS

Background

A resort club situated near the fast-growing city of Dongguan, a 90-minute drive from the Hong Kong-China border crossing at Huanggang, Hillview opened for play in 1998 and offers two fine courses, a luxuriously-appointed clubhouse and first-rate accommodations in the form of a Sofitel-managed 100-room hotel. While many courses in China built during the mid-1990s golf boom were quick to call in big name architects – the likes of Nicklaus, Trent Jones, Jr., Gary Player and others of that ilk – the Hillview owners turned to Jim Engh, a then relatively unknown 35-year-old American who had managed designs worldwide for IMG clients such as Isao Aoki and Bernhard Langer. Hillview was only his second independent project (the first being Dragon Hills in Thailand) and his success here helped pave the way for a glittering career. Hillview was lucky. Named Golf Course Architect of the Year by Golf Digest (USA) in 2003, Engh has risen to the top echelons of his trade and his services are much in demand by 64

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high-end clients around the globe. It’s safe to assume his design fee has risen accordingly. Understandably, Hillview is popular: 1,000 members, their guests and visitors (while private, the resort nature of the club means outsiders are welcomed) play approximately 100,000 rounds over the two courses each year.

The Golf

Sited on a great piece of protected parkland, the two courses – the Open (made up of the A and B loops) and the Masters (made up of the C and D nines) – contrast each other perfectly. While the former is a cracker in its own right, it’s the Championship-length latter that has scooped any HKGOLFER.COM

number of awards and plaudits through the years. While undoubtedly challenging, the Masters isn’t the type of course that was designed to give golfers – regardless of whether they’re a twohandicapper or a twenty-handicapper – a really hard time. The rolling landing areas on the longer holes are generous, which encourage you to let fly with the longest club in the bag; the narrower fairways on the shorter par-fours require some thought. But on seemingly every hole Engh has given the golfer options from the tee, sometimes in the form of split fairways which add another exciting dimension to a round here. Where recreational golfers may come unglued is on and around the green complexes. The large HKGOLFER.COM

Need to Know Hillview Dongguan Golf Club

Green Fees (Visitors): RMB775-900 / 1,490 (WD/WE – includes caddie and cart fee) Contact: Ying Bin Road, Fucheng District, Dongguang, Guangdong; Tel: +86 (0)769 2220 9998; www.hillviewgolf.com Open Course (A/B) Yardage: 6,765/6,358. Par: 72. Architect: Jim Engh Masters Course (C/D) Yardage: 7,019/6,355. Par: 72. Course/Slope Rating: 72.3/126 (Back) 69.4/120 (Members) Architect: Jim Engh

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GLOBALTOURNAMENTNEWS

Clubhouse / Amenities

ride, one that offers a wonderful variety of holes. The standout is the fifth, one of the region’s great short par-fours. A risk-reward classic, the green on this dainty number can be reached in one with a solid blow of some 240 yards. But that’s all carry – carry over a lake and a lengthy serpent-shaped bunker. The fairway takes a more cautious route around the left side, although even if the percentage play is chosen, greenside mounding and run-off areas mean approach shots had better be precise.

Top-notch. While we’re firm believers that the clubhouse runs a distant second behind the course when it comes to determining the quality of a venue (miles behind, in truth), even the most traditional of golfers can’t fail to be impressed with Hillview’s immaculate nineteenth (or in this case, thirty-seventh) hole. Enormous and beautifully appointed – and not nearly as grandiose as your typical upscale Chinese clubhouse – the third-floor restaurant serves up a more-than-decent array of Chinese and Western favourites, while the service is nearly faultless. The vast locker rooms are a joy, although the pro shop is surprisingly deficient when it comes to equipment. Although there is a good array of domestic products, many of the more familiar international brands are absent. This being China however – where all golf products are slapped with a hefty tax, making them significantly more expensive than Hong Kong – it’s always best to stock up before crossing the border. The rooms in the attached Sofitel are firstrate, making the decision to stay the night and play another round the following day all the more enticing.

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East London GC, South Africa, Jan 7-10 Charl Schwartzel claimed his fourth European Tour title after his final round 67 was good enough to help him secure the Africa Open in East London. The South African, the highest ranked player in the field at 66 and one of the favourites heading into the tournament, ended with a total of 272 - 20 under par overall - to edge out joint-overnight leader Thomas Aiken by a stroke. Another South African Jbe’ Kruger finished in third place on 18 under after his day four score of 70, while Trevor Fisher's 72 - the worst amongst the leaders - dropped the youngster into a share of fourth place with Chris Swanepoel and the two highest placed foreigners in the field, Englishman James Morrison and Rick Kulacz from Australia.

A class act. If only it was closer to Hong Kong…

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Verdict

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1 2 3 4 4 4 4 8 8 8

Charl Schwartzel Thomas Aiken Jbe’ Kruger Trevor Fisher Jnr Rick Kulacz James Morrison Chris Swanepoel Michiel Bothma Pelle Edberg Branden Grace

67 70 68 67 67 67 69 70 69 68 67 70 66 66 71 72 72 69 67 67 68 70 69 68 71 68 68 68 69 69 70 68 69 68 70 69 70 70 70 66

272 273 274 275 275 275 275 276 276 276

€158,500 €115,000 €69,200 €38,825 €38,825 €38,825 €38,825 €20,800 €20,800 €20,800

ABU DHABI GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

Abu Dhabi GC, UAE, Jan 21-24 New world number six Martin Kaymer secured his second Abu Dhabi Golf Championship title and hopes the victory will be the catalyst to a highly anticipated Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor later this year. After winning his maiden title in Abu Dhabi in 2008 with a nervous four shot wire-to-wire victory, the 25-year-old German needed every ounce of experience gained from adding three wins since to edge out Ian Poulter in a gripping final round duel. Overnight leader Kaymer, who also finished second last year, birdied the f inal hole at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to card a bogey free final round six under par 66 and win by one. 20-year-old star Rory McIlroy claimed third spot after finishing a further shot adrift. 1 2 3 4 5 6 6 8 8 8

Martin Kaymer Ian Poulter Rory McIlroy Shane Lowry Louis Oosthuizen Ariel Canete Rhys Davies Anders Hansen Soren Hansen David Horsey

67 67 67 66 65 70 67 66 66 69 67 67 68 65 71 67 67 71 68 66 70 75 74 64 66 68 72 67 69 70 68 67 72 67 68 67 73 66 70 65

267 268 269 271 272 273 273 274 274 274

€250,000 €166,660 €93,900 €75,000 €63,600 €48,750 €48,750 €33,700 €33,700 €33,700

JOBURG OPEN

Royal Johannesburg and Kensington GC, South Africa, Jan 14-17 Charl Schwartzel cruised to his second straight European Tour title in his home city with a six shot win at the Joburg Open, further extending his early lead in The Race to Dubai. The Africa Open winner coasted around the East Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington in a five under par 66, following rounds of 63, 68 and 64 for a 23 under par total. That was far too good for the chasing pack, with Schwartzel’s fellow South African Keith Horne sharing second with Darren Clarke on 17 under following a best of the day final round 64. 1 Charl Schwarztel 63 68 64 66 261 €206,050 2 Darren Clarke 63 69 67 68 267 €119,730 2 Keith Horne 68 65 70 64 267 €119,730 4 James Kamte 67 66 69 68 270 €58,760 4 Danny Willett 65 67 70 68 270 €58,760 6 Soren Hansen 66 70 68 68 272 €36,108 6 Joost Luiten 66 69 69 68 272 €36,108 6 Hennie Otto 67 66 69 70 272 €36,108 6 Peter Whiteford 66 69 70 67 272 €36,108 10 Josh Cunliffe 68 70 67 68 273 €24,375

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