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hkpga preview

The

Stage is Set ...

This month’s Ageas HKPGA Championship will boast a record prize purse and one of the strongest fields in the tournament’s 38-year-history

A

Daniel Wong

g eas, the title sponsor of the Hong Kong PGA Championship, has announced that prize money for the 2012 edition will increase by 25 per cent to HK$400,000. To be played from 21-23 May, the event also welcomes back major champion Wayne Grady, who memorably claimed the 1990 US PGA Championship at Shoal Creek. The Australian, who narrowly lost out in a play-off to Mark Calcavecchia at the 1989 Open Championship at Royal Troon, finished second to Shenzhenbased American CJ Gatto at the 2010 edition but was forced to retire because of injury after the first round of last year’s event, which was won by Frenchman Jean Van de Velde. “To pack away my clubs early last year was disappointing, so I’m really looking forward to getting to Hong Kong and competing. I feel like I’ve got some unfinished business to settle,” said Grady, who works as a commentator for the BBC and Channel Nine i n Au st ra l ia when he ’s not competing on the Champions Tour. “The HKPGA is a fantastic tournament, one which continues to go from strength to strength. Thanks to Ageas’ involvement, it has a really bright future.” 44

HK Golfer・MAY 2012

The 54-hole stroke play event will be played over three different courses, which is how the championship started life back in 1974 at the inaugural event. The first and second rounds will be held over the New Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club and Discovery Bay Golf Club respectively, while the Gary Playerdesigned North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course will host the all-important final round. Stuart Fraser, CEO of Ageas Insurance Company (Asia), said: “It’s all set to be an exciting championship, with the best Hong Kong profe ssiona l s going up against players from around the region for the title and a record prize purse. We’re delighted to welcome back Wayne, who has been a fantastic supporter of the championship, and look forward to witnessing three days of first-class golf. “The decision to increase the prize money underlines the growth of the tournament since our involvement started in 2010 as well as Ageas’ commitment to professional golf in Hong Kong,” added Fraser. In a further boost for the tournament, Lam Chih Bing, an Asian Tour regular who won the coveted Masters of Asia tournament in 2008, has also confirmed his entry. The longhitting Singaporean, who will be making his debut in the HKGOLFER.COM


HKPGA Championship Past Winners 1974

N Prathana

Thailand

1975

Not played

1976

R Magat

Philippines

1977

D Piloto

Philippines

1978

Lai Wai-che

Hong Kong

1979

Peter Tang

Hong Kong

1980

Lai Wai-che

Hong Kong

1981

Yau Sui-ming

Hong Kong

1982

Lee Parker

Hong Kong

1983

Yau Sui-ming

Hong Kong

1984

Yau Sui-ming

Hong Kong

1985

Alex Tang

Hong Kong

1986

Yau Sui-ming

Hong Kong

1987

Carl Mason

England

1988

Yau Sui-ming

Hong Kong

1989

Yau Sui-ming

Hong Kong

1990

Alex Tang

Hong Kong

1991

Yau Sui-ming

Hong Kong

1992

Tang Man-kee

Hong Kong

1993

Kyi Hla Han

Myanmar

1994

Kyi Hla Han

Myanmar

1995

Dominique Boulet

Hong Kong

1996

Lim Kian Kee

Singapore

1997

Lin Fu-chin

Taiwan

1998

Zhang Lian-wei

China

1999-2000 Not played 2001

Derek Fung

Hong Kong

2002-2003 Not played 2004

Dominique Boulet

Hong Kong

2005-2009 Not played 2010

CJ Gatto

United States

2011

Jean Van de Velde

France

championship, said he has high expectations. “Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in the world, so the opportunity to play in the Ageas HKPGA Championship was one I couldn’t resist,” said the 35-year-old Lam. “I don’t think my scores so far this year have reflected how well I’ve been playing, but I’ll be arriving in Hong Kong with confidence and the goal of winning the title.” L oca l professiona ls v y i ng for t he championship include t wo-time winner Dominique Boulet, 2001 champion Derek Fung, who placed third last year, Timothy Tang, who earned his Asian Tour card in 2011 and reigning Ageas Order of Merit winner Jimmy Ko. HKGOLFER.COM

Stars on show (clockwise from top): Two-time winner Dominique Boulet with 2010 champion CJ Gatto, Ageas CEO Stuart Fraser and HKPGA Chairman Daniel Liu; Lam Chih Bing of Singapore will make his HKPGA debut; major winner Wayne Grady returns for a third time

HK Golfer・MAY 2012

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1205TheStageIsSet  

HKGOLFER.COM 44 HK GOLFER・MAY 2012 hkpga preview Daniel Wong Stars on show (clockwise from top): Two-time winner Dominique Boulet with 2010...

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