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HKGA | MIZUNO HK CLOSE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Martin

Closes it Out Twenty-five year-old set to make Hong Kong Open debut after scooping his maiden Close Amateur title in impressive style, writes Alex Jenkins. Photography by Daniel Wong

Martin Liu fires his approach to the home green during the final round of the Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship over the Lunar New Year 50

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“I was just trying to focus on my own game and get myself in a position to win … I had no idea I had done it until the final putt dropped.”

Clockwise from top: to the victor goes the spoils, Liu with the silverware; Oliver Roberts carded a brilliant 66 to take the lead heading into the final 18 holes; all smiles for Liu after the final putt had been sunk; Terrence Ng put in a gritty performance to finish second 52

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a r t i n Liu held h is ner ve to cl i nch h is maiden Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship – and with it a berth in this year’s professional Hong Kong Open – after an accomplished performance at Fanling over the Lunar New Year holiday. Liu, 25, fired a final-round 71 over the New Course to finish three shots ahead of secondplaced Terrence Ng, 19, on a total of 281 (oneover-par) after a topsy-turvy day which saw the lead change hands multiple times. The long-hitting Oliver Roberts, who headed the field after a sublime 66 in the morning, could only muster a 76 in the afternoon final round to share third alongside the defending champion, Max Wong Chen-kun, on 285. “I really can’t describe it,” said Hong Kong Golf Club member Liu, a graduate of George Washington University. “I was just trying to focus on my own game and get myself in a position to win ... I had no idea I had done it until the final putt dropped.” Liu started his final round solidly, turning in level-par 34, but still had plenty of ground to make up on the closing nine as both Roberts, as impressive a ball-striker as you’re likely to see in the amateur game, and Ng, who had got himself back into the reckoning with six birdies over the first 11 holes, surged ahead. HKGOLFER.COM


But the final stretch would prove decisive, with Liu keeping his composure admirably over the difficult final holes, while his adversaries fell back with a succession of dropped shots as the pressure began to tell. “I’ve come close before, so to win the event and earn a place in the Hong Kong Open is a truly great outcome,” said Liu, who made a crucial birdie at the par-5 14th to take the lead on his own. “I struggled a bit coming in – I was getting pretty tired and missed a few shots – but I stuck to my routine and managed to make a few putts at the end. It’s a great feeling to have finally done it.” As well as the coveted Hong Kong Open berth, Liu also earned a place in the Hong Kong qualifying final for the Mizuno Dream Cup, a pan-Asian series of events that culminates with the Gateway To The Open Mizuno Open, a Japanese Tour event to be held in May, as well as the MercedesTrophy Hong Kong Tournament 2013, which will take place on 23 May at Discovery Bay Golf Club.

Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship Results 1 2 3= 5 6 7 8 9= 11 12= 15 16= 19 20

Martin Liu Terrence Ng Max Wong Oliver Roberts Shinichi Mizuno Tim Orgill Ronald Totton Leonard Ho Max Ting Jeffrey Wang Leon D’Souza Jay Won Isaac Lam Humphrey Wong Winston Wu Stuart Murray Todd Hooper Lo Tsun Justin Lok Tong Siu-lun

72 69 69 71 74 70 70 70 71 72 70 72 70 73 66 76 73 70 69 75 72 73 74 73 77 72 72 75 70 75 74 78 71 74 76 77 74 69 73 82 72 79 76 75 75 74 80 74 79 72 76 76 76 70 75 82 71 77 78 79 77 76 77 76 77 75 75 79 77 71 78 80 76 73 80 79 76 76 84 73

281 284 285 285 287 292 296 297 298 298 302 303 303 303 305 306 306 306 308 309

WILLIAMS CROWNED ORDER OF MERIT CHAMPION Unfortunately Doug Williams was forced to withdraw from the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship due to personal reasons before a shot had been hit, but his fine play over the 2013/2014 season saw him claim the HKGA Order of Merit title. Williams, who turned 55 last year to qualify as a senior, finished with 62 points – thanks largely to a fourth place finish at the Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship, a tie for first at the Hong Kong Open qualifying event and a win at the Kau Sai Chau International Open – which was nine clear of Terrence Ng in second. Junior Humphrey Wong, 15, who made his debut appearance at the Hong Kong Open in 2013, finished a further seven points adrift in third place. US-born Williams, the 1982 Spanish Amateur champion, also won the (non-HKGA OOM counting) Hong Kong Seniors Open Amateur, the Hong Kong Seniors Close Amateur and the Singapore Open Seniors Amateur Championship in 2013.

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Defending champion Max Wong

Tim Orgill in action

Fanling member Jeffrey Wang got off to a hot start with rounds of 74 and 69

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Leonard Ho started the tournament brightly with a first-round 70

Shinichi Mizuno fired a third-round 69 to give himself a chance

Humphrey Wong drives at the par-5 13th

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