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2017 U.S. Open in Review








Managed and serviced by The Old Course Hotel Ltd


HK Golfer Issue 125

July 2017

32 On the Cover:

Defending champion Tiffany Chan showed her grit as she did all week and refused to fade away, clawing back magnificently with five birdies in the final round of EFG HK Ladies Championship, and received the HK Golf Club Cup as the top HK finisher (tied-13th). Photo by Daniel Wong



30 | Interview

10 | Divots

Ben Wong talks about his victory in the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with playing partner Frankie Capan. Interview by Louie Chan

News and events from Hong Kong and the region. By The Editors

32 | EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open

A pictorial review of the last 30 days from around the world. By The Editors

Thailand’s Supamas Sangchan won the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open by one shot, and denied Tiffany Chan’s fairy tale title defence after last year’s playoff success as an amateur. By Louie Chan

38 | King of the Hills Brooks Koepka, one of the biggest hitters in the game, brought the longest U.S. Open venue to it's knees. By Louie Chan

46 | The Open Championship Preview Whoever lifts the Claret Jug come Sunday 23rd July will know he has been in a heavyweight title fight against the course, the elements and the finest line-up of golfers the world can presently provide. By Mike Wilson

52 | Shoot for the Stars

©USGA/Michael Cohen

Asia’s reservoir of golfing talent continues to grow deeper with the exciting emergence of new and young rising stars. By Chuah Choo Chiang

58 | Bunker Mentality

38 6


The PGA Tour is selling the game of golf in Asia short and is now expanding into Korea, Japan and even global domination on the cards with minimal resistance offered. By Mike Wilson

12 | In Focus

19 | Tee Time Few watches have the power to inspire like the Omega Speedmaster. By The Editors

64 | The Kilted Caddie Do you know why some golf traditions simply cannot and should not be changed? By the Kilted Caddie

70 | Golf Fitness A 12-week strength and conditioning training programme to improve the golf game and performance for any high handicapper. By James Honey

76 | Crossword This issue: “Come Together” - It’s Open Time! By Dr Milton Wayne

78 | Final Shot Nick Cowper, General Manager of PureForm Golf HK, talks about his college golf achievements and perspective on golf coaching and club fitting. Interview by Louie Chan HKGOLFER.COM

HK Golfer


Managing Editor: Louie Chan Contributing Editors: Dr Milton Wayne, Faye Glasgow, John Bruce, Nathan Goulding, Keith McLaren, Paul Jansen, Evan Rast, Mike Wilson, Robin Lynam. Art Director: Derek Hannah Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Administration Manager Cindy Kwok Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Published by:

TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION Times International Creation Limited 10B Lockhart Centre 301-307 Lockhart Road Hong Kong Phone: +852 3590-4153 Fax: +852 3590-4533

D E PA R T M E N T S 10 Divots 12 Global Focus 14 Asia Focus 16 Local Focus 19 Clubhouse 27 Around the HKGA 52 Notes from The Asian Tour 58 Bunker Mentality 64 The Kilted Caddie 76 Crossword

Photo Courtesy of Royal Birkdale Golf Club

78 Final Shot

In association with: Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: For purchasing information contact: For subscription information contact: Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email:

HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10B Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2017 by Times International Creation. Published in Hong Kong. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. PRINTED IN HONG KONG. 8




Tiffany Chan Blazes Final Round 63 on Stunning U.S. Debut

After a whirlwind week at the Hong Kong Ladies Open, the 23-year-old Olympian settled down to the business of establishing herself on the Symetra Tour, the second-tier circuit of LGPA Tour. Tiffany announced her arrival in the U.S. by shooting a stunning nine-under-par 63 final round to finish second by one shot at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic on her Symetra Tour debut. But after opening with rounds of 70 and 72 to start the final day at two-under-par overall, Tiffany was denied a maiden win in just her second professional event. Having walked away with a cheque for US$2,580 a week earlier at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open on her professional debut, Tiffany’s reward of US$12,311 lifted the former amateur up to 29th on the Symetra Tour order of merit. A top-10 finish on the money list will earn her a coveted spot on next year’s

LPGA Tour, with around US$50,000 - US$70,000 having been enough to reach that spot in recent Symetra Tour seasons. Thanks to EFG, the Swiss Private Bank, for a threeyear sponsorship deal, Tiffany does not have to worry about paying for flights and hotels for the next three years and can focus on increasing her bank balance. EFG is no stranger to the world of golf in Hong Kong, having been the principal partner of the Hong Kong Golf Association’s elite junior development programme bet ween 2009 and 2014. It was also during t he programme in 2009 when EFG met Hong Kong’s first golfing Olympian and the winner of the golf tournament at the 2014 World University Championships.

HKUAA Wins Annual Universities Alumni Event

Symetra Tour

The 4th Annual Hong Kong Universities Alumni Golf Tournament was held at Feng Huang Shan Golf Club (Phoenix Hill Golf Course) in Dongguan, China. In addition to the HKUAA Golf Team, alumni teams from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Canadian Universities Association, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Polytechnic University, City University, Baptist University and the Hong Kong Institute of Education participated in the Gross and Net Net Peoria Team Competitions. HKUA A Golf Team Captain Roddy Lau, supported by Team Executive Committee Member Edmund Wu, led team members: Andy Lui, Anthony Wong, Benny Chan, Evan Yung, Herman Yip, Ian Chung, Michael Lee, Sharon Lam, Simon Lo & Yvonne Wong. The HKUAA Golf Team had the lowest Team Gross Score and both the lowest Team NNP score. But the Tournament Rules only allowed each Team to win one prize, so, the HKUAA Golf Team accepted the Team Gross Champion. 10




Taichi Kho Wins Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship


Daniel Wong

Taichi Kho won the boys’ title in thrilling style with a final round of 69 before eagling the second play-off hole while New Zealand’s Rose Zheng also came through a tight battle to win the girls. The 16-year-old holds the Hong Kong Junior Open and Close titles, continued that form to win with a 54-hole total of 225 on the par-72 Sandbelt Trails Course at the Mission Hills Haikou resort. Having opened with rounds of 79 and 77, the Hong Kong national team member, who also won the HKGA Winter Junior Championship in December, carded a brilliant three-under-par final round – the lowest of the tournament – to catch Thailand’s Supawitch Songklod and then claim the sudden-death playoff with a 15-foot eagle putt. China’s Ma Bing-Wen finished one shot behind to take third overall and win the Boys’ 11-14 division. In the girls’ category, Zheng impressed with rounds of 72, 74 and 72 to finish on two over par, only one ahead of overnight leader, Sun Jia-Ze of China on 219.  Another Hong Kong player, Iris Wang Xin-Yi won the Girls’ 11-14 division with a score of 241, beating Jenny Chang Chih-Hsuan of Chinese Taipei on count-back.      The overall champions, Kho and Zheng were among a total of 18 players who were rewarded with an invitation to the Nicklaus Junior Championship in the USA this summer. The top three players in each age group have the opportunity to compete in the event, which is held on June 20-21 in Palm Beach County, Florida.



Global Focus JT Breaks the Lowest Score Record Justin Thomas shot a third-round 63 in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills - punctuated by an eagle on the 18th - to match Johnny Miller’s famed final round score from the 1973 U.S. Open. But his nine-under-par total was one better than Johnny’s eight under at Oakmont. Miller, the now TV announcer, seemed not enjoying the moment on Thomas’ recordbreaking round, “Taking nothing away from nine-under par - nine under is incredible with U.S. Open pressure,” Miller said. “But it isn’t a U.S. Open course that I’m familiar with the way it was set up.” Of course, Miller has a point. Erin Hills, which hosted its first major championship, has yielded unusually low scores for a U.S. Open. In addition to Thomas’ 63, there have been four other rounds of 65, and more players broke par on Saturday than during any previous third round at the tournament. But Thomas was three over in the final round and could only finish at tied ninth - certainly made Miller feel less bitter. Photo by ©USGA/Michael Cohen

Asia Focus Fantastic Fung Lifts Maiden Title Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung overcame nerves to secure a maiden Asian Tour title at the Queen’s Cup, and dedicated the career breakthrough to his father. His impressive 15-underpar 269 winning aggregate saw him joining countrymen Danny Chia, Airil Rizman and Ben Leong as winners on the region’s premier Tour. Fung is also the fifth first-time winner this season. The 27-year-old was the overnight leader, courageously holed a four-foot par putt on the 18th hole at Santiburi Samui Country Club for a closing four-under-par 67 and a onestroke triumph over Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond. Jazz, 21, kept on Fung’s coattail throughout a frenetic last day, staying bogey free for the second successive round to shoot a 66 while Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao birdied his last three holes for a 67 which gave him third place, two behind the new champion.  The slightly-built Fung paid tribute to his father, En Ping, who was with him on the holiday isle on what was also Father’s Day on Sunday around the world. Photo by Asian Tour

Local Focus The Black Knight Was in Town Gary Player, nine-time major champion and golf legend, has visited the Hong Kong Golf Club again in late June. Player has visited Fanling on many occasions over the years with his first visit being over six decades ago. The ‘Black Knight’, now 81, took his time to enjoy a round over the historic Old Course and host a coaching clinic for juniors from the Club’s schools golf development programme. Thirty students from two schools in the North District attended a very memorable clinic held at the driving range. “It has been a real pleasure for me to return to play a round at one of Asia’s finest old clubs. The cherry on the cake for me was to see the great work that the Club is doing in making its facilities and golf professional services available to children from the community. Keep up the good work!” said Player. Photo by Copyright © 2017, Dave Sansom


Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME






1987 ITALY

Made especially for Italy

1997 “THE GOLDEN PANDA” Exclusive to Japan


40th anniversary

2013 DARK SIDE OF THE MOON First Speedmaster in ceramic

1959 FIRST OMEGA IN SPACE Worn by Walter Schirra

1972 ALASKA II (prototype) Pursuing the perfect space watch


For Switzerland’s 700th anniversary


40 years of the Speedmaster


With pioneering escapement

2014 APOLLO 11

45th anniversary



First electronic Speedmaster


Rare hand-crafted limited edition

1998 X-33

1964 A.C.P

Delivered to the Automovil Club Peruano


Celebrating 125 years of OMEGA


Built for the Space Shuttle


Worn in the TV series


1980 APOLLO 11

Quartz prototype for NASA

1995 APOLLO 13

25th anniversary

1999 APOLLO 11

2006 APOLLO 15




50 years of the Speedmaster

Apollo 13 45th anniversary

2000 APOLLO-SOYUZ 25th anniversary


Celebrating the XXIX Olympiad

2015 X-33 Si2

New approach for Solar Impulse


A prototype becomes reality


Worn by George Clooney

2008 “HB-SIA” GMT

Built for Solar Impulse

2016 CK2998

Inspired by the 1959 original

1957 “BROAD ARROW” The first Speedmaster Called the “Broad Arrow” due to its distinctive hands, this was not only the first Speedmaster, b u t i t w as als o t h e f ir s t chro n o gr ap h wristwatch in the world with its tachymeter scale on the bezel as opposed to printed on the dial - a feature designed for the benefit of racing car drivers. 1965 THE MOONWATCH First watch worn on the moon When Neil Arms trong and Buz z Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface in 1969, this Speedmaster model became the first watch ever worn on the moon. In fact, it has since become the watch that has served on the most lunar missions.

60 Years of Speedmaster 20



For enhanced readability


30th anniversary

Built for the European Space Agency


Celebrating the American-Soviet mission


Direct link to the Moonwatch of today

manual-wound Speedmaster

Favoured by pilots

35th anniversary


First watch worn on the moon

1987 SPEEDMASTER AUTOMATIC The “Holy Grail” for collectors This was the first Speedmaster that combined an automatic movement with a Moonwatch

2009 APOLLO 11

40th anniversary


First Speedmaster Master Chronometer


For OMEGA’s achievements in space


First bicolor

1995 MIR 365 DAYS

1969 MARK II

ALASKA I (prototype) Specially made for NASA



First Speedmaster Moonphase


365 days on MIR Space Station

Launched by Michael Schumacher



Celebrating the success of Apollo 13


First Speedmaster with meteorite dial


An online community tribute


First redesign

Anticipating the future

2011 APOLLO 15

The “Holy Grail” for collectors


Inspired by the 1957 original

2004 APOLLO 11

35th anniversary

2012 APOLLO 17

40th anniversary

40th anniversary



Simplicity meets iconic design

Return of the racing dial

case. For collec tors, finding an original piece can become an obsession full of disappointment, joy and despair – hence its “Holy Grail” nickname. 1997 40TH ANNIVERSARY 40 years of the Speedmaster To c e l e b r a t e 4 0 y e a r s o f t h e i c o n i c Speedmaster, Omega released this model in 1997 featuring a cream dial and front glass made from sapphire crystal – which was unusual for the time. Limited to 500 pieces and exclusive to Italy, it was also one of the first models with hands and a dial coated in LumiNova. 2007 50TH ANNIVERSARY PATCH 50 years of the Speedmaster Created in a limited edition of 5,957 pieces to commemorate the birth of the Speedmaster in 1957, this watch has a golden Seahorse printed on the dial, representing the emblem w i t h w h i c h t h e S p e e d m a s te r is m o s t closely associated. HKGOLFER.COM

2015 SPEEDMASTER ‘57 Worn by George Clooney T h e Sp e e dmas ter ‘57 is an inn ov ati ve wristwatch that salutes its legendary ancestor and has been designed to experience new adventures of its very own. The model recalled some features similar to its famous ancestor. George Clooney proudly wore this model for the international advertising campaign in 2015. 2017 SPEEDMASTER 38 MM Simplicity meets iconic design The refined 38 mm collection retains the famous look and 60-year heritage of the Speedmaster but also updates it with a pure and new aesthetic touch. For this ladies’ model, the diamond-paved bezel also includes a tachymeter scale on a brown aluminium ring. 2017 SPEEDMASTER RACING MASTER CHRONOMETER Return of the racing dial The distinctive minute-track style on this stainless-steel watch first appeared on a 1968 Speedmaster model, and it returns, this time on a matt-black dial. Other features on the dial include the orange markings and bevelled 18K white gold arrowhead indexes.

2017 Speedmaster 38 mm retains the famous look and 60-year heritage of the collection

Return of the racing dialorange markings and bevelled 18K white gold arrowhead indexes on a matt-black dial







Gaucho/David Griffen

t’s all about whisky this July. We’ve seen Scotch Whisky emerge in recent times as the preferred spirit category of choice for the new generation of drinker. Gaucho, the London-born Argentinian steakhouse held a Whisky Tasting Dinner featuring Glenmorangie Single Malt Whisk y in late June. An excellent opportunity to tr y four dif ferent whiskies from Glenmorangie with delicac y, smoothness and complexity, paired with some of Gaucho’s signatures and new items. Upon arrival guests will be greeted with a 10 years old Glenmorangie original-based cocktail with an American white oak finish. For starters expect Salmon Tiradito - mango, passion fruit, pomegranate and aji Amarillo paired with Glenmorangie The Original (10 years old), as well as the Braised Beef Back Ribs glazed in a hoisin and chilli orange sauce with sesame seeds, fresh orange and pickled chillies, paired with a 12 years old Glenmorangie Lasanta. Both dishes are recent additions to Gaucho’s new a la carte menu. For mains indulge in Gaucho’s ancho rib-eye - delicately marbled throughout for excellent and full-bodied flavours, paired with 18 years old Glenmorangie extremely rare. Dessert will include a blue cheese plate and whisky brownie paired with 12 years old Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. The menu will include one bottle of complimentary 10 years old Glenmorangie original. The menu will be available at Gaucho in July upon request. A la carte options will still be available. Gaucho lands in Hong Kong as the f lagship restaurant in Asia as it makes its entrance into a whole new market promising “the true essence of Argentina - its food, wine, culture and most importantly, the passion of the people”. Internationally renowned for succulent steaks and mouth-watering ceviches, Gaucho Hong Kong remains true to its elegant, individual style. The decor style is around the brand's iconic cowhide walls, rich black and white leather furniture, mirror panels and crystal chandeliers. The menu is headlined by steak cuts from the finest 100% grass-fed, free-range Argentine Angus beef - considered the best in the world. Cooking in the traditional Argentine way - cut to order, grilled and turned only once to seal the juices and enhance the f lavour. Gaucho’s culinar y st yle combines traditional Argentine cooking over open fire asado grills with modern “Nuevo Latin” tastes. Book your table at or call them on +825 2386 8090.



Cooking in the traditional Argentine way - cut to order, grilled and turned only once to seal the juices and enhance the flavour An excellent opportunity to try four different whiskies from Glenmorangie with delicacy, smoothness and complexity, paired with some of Gaucho’s signatures and new items

Gaucho is internationally renowned for succulent steaks and mouth-watering ceviches


Award-winning wealth management that is simply par for the course... I

offer wealth management advice to individuals, trustees and businesses, specifically designed around their individual circumstances. I take the time to get to know you and your requirements offering financial advice that adapts as your needs change. As well as addressing straightforward issues such as mortgages and insurance, I can help resolve more complex problems for clients, whether it be investment for growth, Inheritance Tax or retirement planning. Providing expert advice to help you achieve four principal financial objectives: • • • •

Build and preserve your capital Manage your cash and borrowings Protect yourself against financial risk Manage your business more effectively

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. An investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise.You may get back less than the amount invested. For further information, or to request your complimentary guide to wealth management, contact:

AGOST A.MAKSZIN Partner T: +852 28241083 E: Web:


The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives. Members of the St. James’s Place Partnership in Hong Kong represent St. James’s Place (Hong Kong) Limited, which is an authorised insurance broker by being a member of The Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers CIB, a licensed corporation with the Securities and Futures Commission and registered as an MPF Intermediary with Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority. St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc Registered Office: St. James’s Place House, 1 Tetbury Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1FP, United Kingdom. Registered in England Number 4113955.

Long-term financial security

The quest for wealth

The path to long-term financial security is strewn with uncertainty and complexity. Agost A. Makszin, Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management explains the five principles which can help keep you on track. There was a time when saving and investing for the future was considered a relatively uncomplicated affair that felt many steps removed from the intricacies of finance and global economics. Progress in recent decades – from the sophistication of everyday technology to the ready availability of round-the-clock services – has simplified many parts of our lives. But it has brought more complexity too, particularly in matters of personal finance. Research consistently shows that many people find the decisions they need to make on saving and investing difficult, despite the profusion of information available.The paradox is that this confusion has deepened as financial services have modernised. The real danger is that people disengage from the process of how to create the wealth they need for their future. While many things have changed, there are a number of constant principles on which investors should base their strategy to help fulfil their financial aspirations. The key rules that investors should follow in their quest for wealth are simply: 1.

Make sure you have sufficient money on deposit for your short-term needs.


Guard against inflation.


Invest for the longer term.


Diversify your investments.


Find the very best managers.

Old habits All over the developed world, savers are enduring the lowest returns on cash for centuries; but many remain wary of stock markets, despite their recovery from 2009 lows. Instead, many continue to accumulate cash; perhaps, overwhelmed by choice, it is easier to cling to old habits. But disappointing rates are expected to endure and the eventual rise will be slow and low. In such an interest rate environment, those who wish to achieve meaningful returns will need to reassess their savings on deposit. However, cash does still play a vital role in an investment strategy, and enough should be kept on deposit. As Chris Ralph, Chief Investment Officer of St. James’s Place, says: “If you maintain adequate liquidity, you should avoid the need to sell long-term investments at a bad time. As a guide, you should have enough to be able to sleep at night, and cover both expected needs and unforeseen emergencies.” Loyalty’s return Investors who hold enough cash can ignore passing market

sentiment; while those with short-term horizons are more likely to be disappointed. Over the long term, investment in real assets, such as equities, provides the best chance of inflation-beating returns. When the ‘dotcom bubble’ burst in March 2000, global equities tumbled for three years; share prices rose until the 2008 financial crisis took markets to a low in March 2009. Since then, shares have climbed again, with ups and downs along the way, to near-record levels. Ralph comments: “Investors cannot consistently and successfully time the markets, but those who hold assets for extended periods can reap the cumulative benefit of time’s smoothing effect on market fluctuations and unforeseen events.” No one knows what will happen to share prices in the short term, but those who invest over a longer period – say five years or more – are likely to be better off than they are today. Steady attrition One persistent obstacle that an individual will need to overcome on the road to wealth creation is inflation. Even modest levels of inflation can erode cash in a low interest rate environment. And all of us at some point in our lives are likely to live through at least one period of significant inflation. The effects of inflation can be as severe as a sharp fall in markets. However, whereas market dips are usually followed by recoveries, inflation permanently reduces the value of your savings. While you should hold money on deposit for short-term needs, there is significant risk in trying to play safe by putting all your money into cash-like investments. When investing for the long term, you should keep an eye on inflation. The importance of diversification The old adage that investors should not put all their eggs in one basket still rings true. As well as the appropriate level of cash,


it is important to diversify as widely as possible across different investments that can protect against inflation. “The trick is to ensure that the selection of assets won’t react in the same way to market events or economic changes,” says Ralph. “Just as investments will not rise at the same pace or time, you should ensure that they do not fall at the same time either.” Shares, bonds and commercial property are examples of assets that can provide growth. Investing in funds rather than individual investments also ensures that money is more widely spread. And by investing in a selection of funds that diversify across different shares, sectors and regions, as well as asset classes, investors will be better placed to withstand shifts in economic and financial conditions and achieve above-inflation returns over the long term. Pathfinders Different managers have different styles and assets; but many invest in the same way, so variety is no guarantee of diversity. There are a large number of fund managers to select from; some are excellent, some are very good, and some are not. “It is critical to have an investment approach that gives the best chance for your money to be with good managers,” advises Ralph. “Understanding how your adviser researches, selects and monitors the fund managers should be high on your list of priorities.” There are no paths for investors that are risk-free and there probably never were. Making an informed and confident choice is not an easy task. The key to building long-term wealth is a realistic

Agost A. Makszin Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management Tel: +852 2824 1083 / +852 5588 2212 Email: Web:

assessment of needs and goals that reflects a level of risk that feels comfortable. Individuals are often reticent about reviewing their approach to wealth creation; but advice is the key for a planned, long-term investment strategy and for peace of mind. The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise.You may get back less than the amount invested. Equities do not provide the security of capital associated with deposit accounts subject to the Deposit Protection Scheme. To receive a copy of The Investor, the magazine produced by St. James’s Place Wealth Management, please contact me at or to arrange an obligation-free meeting please call me on 2824-1083 / 5588-2212. DISCLAIMER: The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives. Members of the St. James’s Place Partnership in Hong Kong represent St. James’s Place (Hong Kong) Limited, which is an authorised insurance broker by being a member of The Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers CIB, a licensed corporation with the Securities and Futures Commission and registered as an MPF Intermediary. St. James’s PlaceWealth Management plc Registered Office: St. James’s Place House, 1 Tetbury Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1FP, United Kingdom. Registered in England Number 4113955.


From the President

Among the many sports of the world, perhaps not many have as misunderstood reputation as golf. To some, the sport of golf may seem an antiquated, elitist or backwards institution. But as those who play it know, the golf governing organisations and golf itself is preparing to make leaps and bounds to modernise and adapt to the 21st century. In late April, the Hong Kong Golf Association was honoured with an invitation to attend the 10th R&A International Golf Conference. The centrepiece of the conference was naturally the upcoming golf rules modernisation, scheduled for 2019. The R&A has focused on making the game more streamlined, appealing to the upcoming generations of young golfers, and accessible to beginners and amateurs, while at the same time respecting the tradition and spirit of the original Rules of Golf. Not only that, but sessions focusing on supporting amateur golf were heartening to me. Given that Hong Kong has a vibrant amateur golf scene, with many local competitors who head overseas to represent our city, these efforts on making golf more accessible to and supportive of both fresh inductees into the game, are a great boon for this city. Part of the R&A’s efforts to modernise and revamp the rules of golf is, particularly, to make it easier to translate it into the many languages of the world, and to make it more open to the different conditions that golf is played in. When the original Rules of Golf were first compiled in 1744, who could’ve imagined a tiny fishing village in the South China Sea would one day become dynamic golfing city? I must mention and congratulate our CEO, Danny Lai, and his team, who came in second in the golf competition for delegates at the Old Course. And many thanks to the R&A for inviting the HKGA, and many other delegates from around HKGOLFER.COM

President Harald Dudok van Heel (centre) attends the 10th R&A International Golf Conference

the world, to discuss and be a part of what promises to be an exciting new phase in the history of golf. Harald Dudok van Heel President Hong Kong Golf Association

Danny Lai, CEO of HKGA (far right) and his team came in second in the golf competition for delegates at the Old Course HK GOLFERăƒťJUL 2017



Doug Did It

Again The American-born Doug Williams defended his title by a huge margin of 12 shots. Williams’ three-round total of 205 speaks for his dominance of local senior golf scene, writes Louie Chan.


es, he did again! Douglas Williams claimed his fifth Seniors Close Amateur title at the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club. The defending champion started the final round with a 9-shot cushion over Antony Happell and Joseph Pethes, both tied at second after two rounds. But Chung, the former HKGA president, climbed back to second place with a closing one-under par 69. Chung, Williams (67) and Philip Woolcott-Brown (69) were the only 3 players carded under-par in the final round.


“I’m 59 now. I won the first time when I turned 55. So, it’s fifth time in a row. I came here this week playing well and putting well. I made 17 GIRs today but to be honest, I wasn’t really making any putt. I was putting well but it’s not really going in,” said Williams. “Anyway, my game was really solid. Somebody shot 69 (Kui Hing Wo) in the first round and I wasn’t leading - I was kind of happy! I told myself I could just play well to win this thing. That’s the vibe you need to have. I’ve got to play my best to win. But wins are never easy. You’ve got to manage yourself and it’s easy to make mistake.”

1 Doug Williams#

71 67 67



William Chung*

75 73 69


3 Anthony Taylor

72 76 70


4 Antony Happell

74 73 73


5 Joseph Pethes^

73 74 74


6 Philip Woolcott-Brown

78 76 69


7= John Ball

76 76 75


Kui Hing Wo

69 83 75


9 Chan Yuen Kow

76 76 76


10= James Barrington

78 80 72


75 78 77


Peter Aherne

Notes: # denotes 55-59 age division winner * denotes 60-64 age division winner ^ denotes 70 & Above age division winner Peter Reed was crowned 65-69 division winner

Daniel Wong

From left to right - Kui Hing Wo, John Ball, William Chung, Peter Reed, Yoshihiro Nishi, VP of HKGA, Douglas Williams, Joseph Pethes and Anthony Taylor 28



Williams’ three-round total of 205 speaks for his dominance of local senior golf scene HKGOLFER.COM




The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Champion Louie Chan talks to Ben Wong, who claimed recent victory in the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with playing partner Frankie Capan. Ben was born in Hong Kong and joined the HKGA junior programme at an early age. He has lived the last three years in The Woodlands, Texas and committed to play at Southern Methodist University in 2018.

©USGA/Chris Keane

Frankie Capan (left) and Ben Wong with the trophy at the end of match play at the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball




Louie Chan: It’s a tough win for you guys always being one down. Did you feel the similar spirit like Payne Stewart came back to beat Mickelson in 1999 there? Ben Wong: The four-ball is a tough test for all competitors. We had two rounds of stroke play and five matches to get the trophy. Even though we were down in two or three games, we stayed pretty patient out there, knowing that anything could happen in fourball. I think at a tough course like Pinehurst, the most resilient players will always hang up at the top: that’s what Payne was liked. His spirits were felt.

Ben Wong hitting his tee shot to start the final round of match play at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club

LC: When was the momentum changer for you guys? BW: The momentum changer was probably the birdie on 10th. It was a tough hole with a tough pin. It was something about the back nine that treated us well all week. Once I made birdie on 10th, we knew how to close out the rest. LC: Were the hole locations tough in the final? They were as the same as in the previous U.S. Opens (1999, 2005 and 2014). BW: The hole locations were very tough. However, it was fun knowing that we played the course as tough as possible. It was tough getting the ball close to the hole, especially with a long iron. I was fortunate enough to putt well that week, especially in the match play. We knew that if we kept giving ourselves good looks, a bunch of birdies would fall. LC: Frankie Capan is your playing partner and best friend. How did you guys meet? BW: Frankie and I met at a tournament called “Pars” when we were 7. I shot a 66 in the final round there with Frankie, and he shot a 64 in the second round of the tournament. Ever since we met up every summer, we played junior golf. Frankie caddied for me at the US junior in 2013. We’ve been best friends ever since.

Ben and Frankie met at a tournament when they were 7, played junior golf every summer and have been best friends ever since

LC: You have committed to play at Southern Methodist University in 2018. What’s your expectation of playing college golf? BW: College golf has been something I’ve looked forward to for quite a while. The college level is much more competitive than the junior level, but I’m excited to test my ability with the best. I don’t have many expectations for myself going into college. I’m just trying to take things one step at a time, be patient and enjoy it. LC: How did the Hong Kong Golf Association junior programme help you to become a successful golfer? BW: I joined the HKGA programme when I was little. The HKGA is a great programme that promotes golf to juniors in the right way. The programme led me to the right direction. I got opportunities to play in the U.S. against the best junior golfers in the world. The top tier coaches at the HKGA engrained my solid fundamentals at a young age. Without all the support from the HKGA, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. HKGOLFER.COM




Superb Supamas Thailand’s Supamas Sangchan won the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open by one shot, and denied Tiffany Chan’s fairy tale title defence after last year’s playoff success as an amateur, writes Louie Chan. Photography by Daniel Wong

2 Supamas Sangchan of Thailand has claimed her third professional tour title after easing to victory at the 2017 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open 32


1-year-old Supamas started the final day tied at the top with Yu Pei-lin but the player from Chinese Taipei faded to a threeover-par for the day to extinguish her chances of winning. Supamas never lost her lead, and despite a nervy finish with at both the 16th and 18th, she still finished with a 10-under-par total 206 to claim the HK$175,500 first prize. Supamas’ fellow countrywoman Renuka Suksukont and Hsieh Yu-ling of Chinese Taipei both carded solid rounds of five and four-under-par to end their campaigns at nine-under, a shot off the pace to take the runner-up spots.

The Bangkok based champion was flawless in the first two days, carding a total of nine birdies without a single blemish in 36 holes. Her rivals might have thought they had a chance when she dropped a shot for the first time in the 4th but the Thai player quickly dashed any hopes that she might fade with birdies at the 6th, 9th, and 10th. “This is my third year as a professional and my second time competing at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open. I feel like I am familiar with the course, and as I approached the 18th green I saw such a big crowd, which made me a bit nervous but at the same time very excited. I eventually bogeyed it but so glad it was enough to give me win,” said the 2017 HKGOLFER.COM

EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open champion. Defending champion Tiffany Chan started the final round at tied-15th but a tentative start with three bogeys in the first four holes put paid to her chances of retaining the title. However, the 23-year-old showed her grit as she did all week and refused to fade away, clawing back magnificently with birdies at the 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th and 12th. Hong Kong’s first golfing Olympian commented: “To have three bogeys in the first four holes is a little unusual for me on this course. I think I put a little bit of pressure on myself trying to gain some ground early on. Luckily, I scored well when I needed to get back on par, which helped a lot. I definitely have a lot to work on but overall, I am pleased with my performance this week, and the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open provided a really good experience for me as I begin my professional career. I am a little bit disappointed but I did the best I could. I hope golf fans enjoyed my performance this week, and I would like to thank them for supporting me all the way through under such hot and humid conditions.” HKGOLFER.COM

Tiffany turned professional in May after rounding out her amateur career playing for the University of Southern California and signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Swiss private bank EFG before the tournament started. EFG is no stranger to the world of golf in Hong Kong, having been the principal partner of the Hong Kong Golf Association’s elite junior development programme between 2009 and 2014. It was also during the programme in 2009 when EFG met Hong Kong’s first golfing Olympian and the winner of the golf tournament at the 2014 World University Championships. EFG’s support of Tiffany is a long-term one and it extends beyond the elite junior development programme in which Chan was a participant throughout her teenage years. When the Tuen Mun-native made the decision to pursue her university career and improve her golf game in the U.S. in 2013, EFG offered her financial support in the form of a scholarship. The partnership affirms the Swiss bank’s commitment to support one of Hong Kong’s best, to help kickstart her career as a professional golfer.

Tiffany Chan receives the Hong Kong Golf Club Cup as the top Hong Kong finisher (tied-13th) at the 2017 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open from Mr. Albert Chiu, Head of Asia Region, EFG International (Left) and Mr. Arnold Wong, Captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club HK GOLFER・JUL 2017


Tiffany Chan showed her grit as she did all week and refused to fade away

An avid golf fan, EFG International Head of Asia Region Albert Chiu said: “We are delighted to have Tiffany onboard as EFG Global Sport Ambassador for the next three years. She was already a standout when I first met her at the Hong Kong Golf Association elite junior programme back in 2009. Everyone at EFG was very impressed by her dedication, commitment, and determination to succeed, and over the years she has proven to everyone time and again that she is a real deal. We look forward to working with Tiffany, and we will do what we can to ensure she experiences a smooth and successful transition from amateur to professional.” “I am very thankful for EFG’s support over the past 10 years. I knew very early on I wanted to make golf my career, and EFG has always been by my side, supporting me. I will never forget when they jumped in to help me kickstart my college career with a scholarship, and without a doubt, that opportunity propelled me onto the most efficient and effective track to achieving my dreams. I am honored to be EFG’s Global Sport Ambassador and will do everything I can to make EFG and Hong Kong proud,” added HK’s golfing golden girl. 34


Now that the local star has turned professional, she has expressed her desire to do more to give back to the local community so those who look up to her can have every chance to use sport as a means to improve social mobility and carve out their own paths to success. To achieve her goal, Tiffany has announced that she will team up with the off icial charity partner of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open, Friends of Asia Hong Kong, to embark on a Corporate Social Responsibility course to empower and better the lives of disadvantaged youngsters through sports.



66 69 71


2= Renuka Suksukont


74 66 67


Chinese Taipei

71 68 68


4= Saranporn Langkulgasettrin


76 67 65


Leticia Ras Anderica


73 68 67


Chen Yu-ju

Chinese Taipei

70 70 68


7 Li Jia-yun


67 71 71


8= Zhang Yun-jie


69 72 69


Zhang Wei-wei


72 67 71


Kim Jin-min

South Korea

70 68 72


Yu Pei-lin

Chinese Taipei

70 65 75


Huang Ching

Chinese Taipei

68 68 74


Hsieh Yu-ling


Renuka Suksukont takes the runnerup spot

Celebration time!

Mimi Ho and caddiefather Danny Ho

Chole Chan in action

Tiffany and Steven Lam


Taiwanese Hsieh Yu-ling finished at nine-under to tie for second












PineCreek Golf Property Holdings Ltd does not provide Hong Kong properties


King of the

Hills ŠUSGA/John Mummert

Brooks Koepka, one of the biggest hitters in the game, brought the longest U.S. Open venue to it's knees. Starting Sunday one stroke behind 54hole leader Brian Harman, the former Florida State All-American fired a 5-under-par 67 - his third sub-70 round of the championship - to produce a four-stroke victory over Harman and world No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama, writes Louie Chan.



Brooks Koepka, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, holds the trophy at Erin Hills



Brooks Koepka hits his second shot on the 7th during the final round


©USGA/JD Cuban

Brian Harman reacts to a missed birdie putt on the 16th during the third round



Koepka revealed he received a motivational phone call from the world No. 1, Dustin Johnson, the night before he became a first-time major winner. “Dustin called me on Saturday night and told me to take one shot at a time, just to stay patient,” Koepka said. “It was a case of ‘just keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to win the thing. Just don’t get ahead of yourself’. “Because we played a Tuesday practice round together, he watched me play. I thought I played pretty solid on Tuesday. He said he was pulling for me and just hang in there. I felt like that has been the thing lately with me, why I haven’t really played that well - I’ve been trying to win so badly. I felt like I underachieved. And the more patient that I can become the more times I’ll put myself in this situation,” added Koepka. Koepka’s 72-hole total of 16-under 272 was four strokes shy of the championship record registered by Rory McIlroy in 2011 at par-71 Congressional Country Club, and it tied the Northern Irishman’s mark in relation to par. He also became the seventh consecutive firsttime major champion and the third American in a row to win the U.S. Open, the first time that’s happened since 2000 when Tiger Woods followed Payne Stewart and Lee Janzen. HKGOLFER.COM

Tommy Fleetwood hits his second shot on the 8th during the final round. He finished fourth at 11 under

Hideki Matsuyama made a late run with five birdies over his final eight holes to finish at 12-under tied-second

Top: ©USGA/JD Cuban; Bottom: ©Rolex/Chris Turvey

Through nine holes, it appeared the championship would come down to a KoepkaHarman duel, and when the former registered his first three-putt of the championship on No. 10 for a bogey 5, the two dead-locked at 13 under. Things could have unraveled for Koepka two holes later, but he converted a 9-foot par putt. That set the stage for his birdie barrage, including a 17-footer on the par-3 16th to reach 16 under. When Harman made a bogey 5 on the par-4 12th and a rare three-putt on 13th, any drama was all but removed. “I don’t believe in moral victories,” said Harman, the 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur champion who was vying to become the first left-handed golfer to hoist the U.S. Open Trophy. “I had an opportunity today, and I didn’t get it done. But at the same time, I don’t feel as though I lost a golf tournament. I think Brooks went out and won the tournament.” Matsuyama made a late run with five birdies over his final eight holes to get into the clubhouse at 12 under, but Koepka never wavered, producing a pair of pars on 17 and 18 to seal the win.


It was all part of a record-setting week at Erin Hills, the first course to host a U.S. Open in Wisconsin. Even though the wind blew the hardest it had all HKGOLFER.COM



Rickie Fowler took the first-round lead with a 65. But he could only finish with an even-par 72 to tie for fifth

Top: ©Rolex/Chris Turvey; Bottom: ©USGA/JD Cuban

Justin Thomas hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round. His 9-under 63 set the U.S. Open lowest score in relation to par record



championship - 15 to 25 mph - 18 under-par scores were posted on Sunday, bringing the total to 140, which surpassed the 124 registered in 1990 at Medinah Country Club. Koepka’s four-stroke victory is the largest in the last nine majors, dating to 2015 U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth’s four-stroke win in the 2015 Masters. Even more astonishing was the seven golfers who finished double digits under par, with Tommy Fleetwood (11-under 277) finishing fourth, and Bill Haas, 18-hole leader Rickie Fowler and U.S. Open rookie Xander Schauffele tying for fifth at 10-under 278. Those relationto-par numbers would have won all but two U.S. Opens: Woods’ 15-stroke romp in 2000 at Pebble Beach Golf Links and McIlroy’s eightstroke victory in 2011. A week that began with no Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, marking the first time since 1994 at least one of the game’s leading men wasn’t in the field at a major. It’s also a weekend without world No. 1, 2 and 3 - Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlory and Jason Day, respectively - for the first time in a major. For a Major championship that seemed to lack an identity, initially as a result of the perceived missing star power, Rickie Fowler initially filled the star void. He took the first-round lead with HKGOLFER.COM

Brooks Koepka poses with the trophy after winning the 2017 U.S. Open


A view of the flag on the 18th featuring Arnold Palmer at Erin Hills


United States

67 70 68 67


2= Hideki Matsuyama


74 65 71 66


United States

67 70 67 72


4 Tommy Fleetwood


67 70 68 72


5= Xander Schauffele

United States

66 73 70 69 278

Bill Haas

United States

72 68 69 66 278

Brian Harman

Rickie Fowler

United States

65 73 68 72


8 Charley Hoffman

United States

70 70 68 71


9= Trey Mullinax

United States

71 72 69 68 280

Brandt Snedeker

United States

70 69 70 71


Justin Thomas

United States

73 69 63 75



Top: ©USGA/JD Cuban; Bottom: ©USGA/John Mummert

a 65 and started the final round just two strokes back, but he never managed to close the gap and finished with an even-par 72 to tie for fifth. The Erin Hills Open was saved by Sunday’s breeze. After three days of record scoring that included Justin Thomas’ 9-under 63 - the lowest score in relation to par ever at the U.S. Open - balance and a bite were returned to the golf universe on Day 4. Sunday’s winds finally put the fear back in the golf, where it should be at the U.S. Open, and as is always the case the most fearless player emerged. Koepka completed his transition from a calm and confident player with plenty of potential to a bona fide star who didn’t blink when the game’s most demanding test finally arrived on Day 4. Beyond that calm exterior and limitless power, Koepka didn’t come to the PGA Tour with untold fanfare or enjoy immediate and unqualified success. Instead, he forged a much different path, starting out on the European Challenge Tour, the Continent’s version of the second-tier circuit, before moving onto the European Tour. He played tournaments in far-flung places like Kazakhstan and had to have extra pages put into his passport at one point because of his extensive travels. And most importantly he learned his trade. “I kept telling people last year after the Ryder Cup when Brooks figures out how good he is, he’s going to be a world-beater,” said Brandt Snedeker, who tied for ninth (8-under 280). Perhaps all he needed was the right venue with generous fairways, just like Erin Hills that fit Koepka’s game.


䐀爀攀愀洀 圀椀渀攀猀 椀猀 琀栀攀 漀昀ǻ挀椀愀氀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀攀爀 漀昀 䔀爀渀椀攀 䔀氀猀 圀椀渀攀猀ꀀ昀漀爀 䠀漀渀最 䬀漀渀最 愀渀搀 䴀愀挀愀甀⸀




Appointment Having made its Open Championship debut in 1954, and as it prepares this month for its 10th staging of the world’s oldest ‘Major,’ Royal Birkdale on the West Coast of England has the reputation for serving up intriguing and interesting as opposed to epic championships and this year’s 146th staging of the event is no different. As Mike Wilson writes, whoever lifts the Claret Jug come Sunday 23rd July will know he has been in a heavyweight title fight against the course, the elements and the finest line-up of golfers the world can presently provide.


Jocs Linckens/

n terms of history, Royal Birkdale is right up there: its first manifestation wa s a n i ne -hole layout , wh ic h opened 128 years ago. The course in its present form, 18 holes and 6 ,817-ya rd s, Pa r-72 op ened i n September 1894 and has since hosted all the great events in golf, including the 1965 and 1969 Ryder Cup and this, a 10th Open Championship. Accorded t he ‘Roya l’ pref i x i n 1951 by King George VI, three years later, the Lancashire course was hosting none other than the Open Championship, its iconic art deco clubhouse welcoming some of the finest players in the world. The legendary Australian Peter Thomson won the inaugural event at Birkdale, the



first of three Claret Jugs in-a-row, a fourth following in 1958 at nearby Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Thomson returned to Birkdale to take the title again in 1965, two of his five, ‘Majors’, won over the same seaside course. Royal Birkdale was back in Open action in 1961 when Arnold Palmer, a.k.a. ‘The King,’ the man credited with saving what had become an ailing event, crossed the Atlantic to lift the Claret Jug at just the second time of asking, having finished runner-up on debut at St. Andrews and going on to successfully defend at Royal Troon the following year. Roya l Bi rkd a le enjoye d t he honou r o f h o s t i n g t h e 10 0 t h s t a g i n g O p e n Championship, in 1961 when ‘Super Mex,’ Lee Trevino took the course apart in favorable conditions before going on to continue the HKGOLFER.COM

It's staying with me Harrington retains the Claret Jug he won at Carnoustie in 2007




But, can Harrington turn back the clock and win a third Open Championship, and a second at Birkdale this year?

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

‘A demanding, strategic championship links course where what you see is what you get, thick rough, narrow fairways, 100-plus deep bunkers best avoided at all costs, testing each and every club in the bag, and, especially, the putter.’ – Royal Birkdale 48


theme of launching a successful defence at Muirfield in 1962. The ‘Blonde Bombshell,’ American Johnny Miller, who has become one of the televised gol f ’s most respected pu nd it s won t he Open at Birkdale in 1976, but there was no successful defence, Tom Watson edging out Jack Nicklaus the following year at Turnberry in the epic ‘Duel in the Sun.’ Watson himself was to successfully defend his 1982 victory at Royal Troon with victory at Royal Birkdale the following year, while Thomson’s compatriot Ian Baker-Finch was to lift the Claret Jug at the Lancashire Links in 1991. American Mark O’Meara won the 1998 Open Championship at Birkdale, the only one of the nine championships held there to date to require a play-off, before, a decade later, Irishman Pádraig Harrington came to Royal Birkdale to defend the title he had won the

previous year in a dramatic playoff against Sergio García at Carnoustie. If Harrington’s victory was memorable, the genial Irishman whose amiability disguises a fierce will-to-win, saying afterwards with Claret Jug in hand, “I had a great year as the Open champion, so much so I did not want to give it back.” Then the shot that clinched it for him was truly momentous, a low cutting five-wood to within three-feet on the 575yard, Par-5, 17th, putt holed, eagle three, the job was done. Playing with an injured wrist, with Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter on the charge, and his playing partner, the legendary Greg Norman was also in serious contention. Harrington was under pressure with a capricious wind blowing on the toughest hole on the golf course. If there has been a better single shot in the history of ‘Major’ golf, I’ve to see it. But, can Harrington turn back the clock and win a third Open Championship, and a second at Birkdale this year? Probably not, as he is showing few signs of form, but returning to the scene of an epic HKGOLFER.COM


Justin Rose, then a callow 17-year-old amateur, burst to worldwide prominence at 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. 146th Open Championship, I suggest turning the clock back 19 years - yes, 19 years - and the 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Justin Rose, then a callow 17-year-old amateur, burst to worldwide prominence at 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. He holed a dramatic shot from the rough from about 50 yards for birdie on the 18th hole, to finish in a tie for fourth - still his highest finish - and win the Silver Medal as leading amateur by a country mile. The following day he turned professional, missing his first 21 successive cuts, before resurrecting his career with 19 professional wins, including the 2013 U.S. Open; the reigning Olympic champion is just the sort of player to potter and plug away around Birkdale, inconspicuous until the back nine on Sunday, keeping out of trouble. And he knows how and when to apply the rapier-like killer blow. As for the Asian hopes, once again, they rest first-and-foremost with young Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama. Royal Birkdale will be his fifth Open Championship, finishing in a tie for sixth on debut in 2016, but don’t expect the Claret Jug to be heading on a trip to Asia this year.

Justin Rose, the reigning Olympic champion, is just the sort of player to potter and plug away around Birkdale HK GOLFER・JUL 2017

AFP/Paul Vicente

victory can often spur a player on to great things - at 165th on the OWGR, 45-years-ofage, anything is possible. His compatriots, notably Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry look better equipped than the man with three ‘Major’ titles already to his name, although McIlroy now needs another Open Championship more than the Open needs him to win it, especially following his capitulation at the U.S. Open least month. Don’t expect one of those PGA Tour highball-flight, ‘target golf’ players to prevail at Birkdale this month, especially if the wind blows, which it almost always does. The 2017 champion will be a man who can keep his golf ball - and his emotions - under control and play percentage golf under pressure for four long days, over a golf course which is exactly what it says, ‘A demanding, strategic championship links course where what you see is what you get, thick rough, narrow fairways, 100plus deep bunkers best avoided at all costs, testing each and every club in the bag, and, especially, the putter.’ Do expect a European victory at this, t he 14 6t h Open Cha mpionsh ip. Swede Henrik Stenson looking to repeat the backto-back traditions of Royal Birkdale, his inform compatriot Alex Norén looking equally impressive, as is Belgian youngster Thomas Pieters, were he to win would become the first Belgian ever to hold the Claret Jug. World nu mb er- one D u st i n Joh n son certainly has the power to overwhelm the Birkdale links. But few will forget him carving a straightforward approach to the green out-of-bounds on the back nine of the final day at Royal St. George’s in 2011, or his sluggish recent surrender to Erin Hills in the U.S. Open, a course tailor-made to his game. Sergio García, a man now unburdened by the epithet of, ‘The best golfer never to win a ‘Major.’ A player with ten top-10 finishes in the Championship knows now he can convert contending into winning. His young compatriot, Jon Rahm, in the form of his life probably too inexperienced to follow in the footsteps of the man he is often compared to, the late, great Seve Ballesteros. If there were to be a ‘Home’ winner from the UK, there would be none more popular t ha n L ee West wood, t he ma n who has inherited García’s most unwanted moniker five top-10s, including runner-up in 2010, in 22 successive attempts at clinching a Claret Jug few would begrudge him. But to unmask the man who could win the


Photo Courtesy of Asian Tour


Rattanon Wannasrichan raced to a glorious home win with his 21-under-par 263 aggregate after opening with a flying 62 at the Thailand Open 52


Shoot for the


At a time when iconic Asian Tour legends such as K.J. Choi, Jeev Milkha Singh, Thongchai Jaidee and Y.E. Yang, are tipping the opposite end of the golfing scale by hitting past their mid40s age mark, a bunch of fearless young guns have since emerged to ensure more exciting days ahead for Asian golf. As Chuah Choo Ching writes, Asia’s reservoir of golfing talent continues to grow deeper with the exciting emergence of new and young rising stars.



Photo Courtesy of Asian Tour


“I have waited five years for this win. I am really proud of myself. I finally proved that I can do it,” said Rattanon 54


he latest spark to hit the Asian Tour scene in a big way is Rattanon Wannasrichan, a 22-year-old who claimed a stunning start-to-finish victory at the Thailand Open, which made a welcome return onto the Asian Tour Schedule following an eight-year lapse. Baby-faced Rattanon upstaged a top field at the Thai Country Club which included reigning Asian Tour No. 1 Scott Hend and 2013 Order of Merit champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat to secure his career breakthrough. His rise isn’t quite a total surprise. As an amateur, Rattanon showed glimpses of his potential by winning the Southeast Asian Games ‘double’ when he bagged the individual and team gold medals in 2011. He turned professional soon after in the following year, and cut his teeth on the domestic Thai circuit and Asian Development Tour in which he won the 2015 Taifong Open against several of Chinese Taipei’s leading stars including Lu Wei-chih and Chan Shih-chang. Rattanon’s learning curve maintained its positive trend when he finished 60th on the Order of Merit, thanks to top-10s in the

Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea and Venetian Macao Open to earn the last and final full Tour card for 2017. Two top-five finishes in Bangladesh and Chinese Taipei early this season provided the prelude to his Thai Open triumph in which he raced to a glorious home win with his 21-underpar 263 aggregate after opening with a flying 62. He averaged only 24 putts per round that week. “I have waited five years for this win. I am really proud of myself. I finally proved that I can do it,” said Rattanon. “I’m no longer afraid of anyone after the win. I’m feeling confident.” He joi ne d fel low you n g ster s Ja z z Janewattananond, 21, Danthai Boonma, also 21, and 23-year-old Natipong Sritong in the exclusive Asian Tour champions club which prompted experienced Indian Shiv Kapur, who finished second to Rattanon, to marvel at the rise of the Thai kids. “There’s just a big bunch of young kids coming up from Thailand and India especially,” said the double Asian Tour winner. I n a d d i t i o n , 18 -y e a r - o l d Ph a c h a r a Khongwatmai was ranked an impressive third on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit at the time of writing following two runner-up finishes HKGOLFER.COM

18-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai was ranked an impressive third on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit at the time of writing

in the SMBC Singapore Open, which featured Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia, and the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth. Away from Thailand, Chikkaranggapa S. and Shubhankar Sharma, both in their early 20s, are only a couple of promising prospects tipped to carry India’s flag on the international front over the next decade or so. Former Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri, who turned 30 at the end of June, is now at the prime of his career and plying his trade full time on the PGA TOUR which is bound to make him a better golfer. Young blood continues to flow in the veins of Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, who is already a threetime European Tour champion and he’s still only 21! Filipino hopes will rest squarely on the shoulders of 22-year-old Miguel Tabuena, who has won once on the Asian Tour. Long-hitting Gavin Green, 23, is Malaysia’s new hope, with two runner-up finishes in India and Chinese Taipei this season pushing him into the top-five of the Order of Merit. Of course, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama remains as the region’s shining light. At 25, he has already won four times on the PGA Tour, including this season’s Phoenix Open. With five top-10s in the Majors, Matsuyama will certainly drive the inspiration for the likes of Rattanon and company to shoot for the stars. C h u a ch C h o o C h i a ng i s D i re c t o r, Communication of the Asian Tour and is based in Malaysia. HKGOLFER.COM

21-year-old Shubhankar Sharma is a promising prospect tipped to carry India’s flag on the international front over the next decade or so







Kevin Kisner - hardly a sporting superstar - saying when asked about the new Tournament in South Korea, “We’re playing for US$9.25 million, but not all of us want to get on a plane and fly over there and play for it. I’d rather have a US$9.25 million purse in Aiken, South Carolina.”

PGA Tour’s Far Eastern Forays Are



Fair Part 2


AFP/Getty Images

As Mike Wilson continues to write, the US-based circuit is now expanding into Korea, Japan and even global domination on the cards with the minimal resistance offered and it’s bad for golf in the Far East. 59


AFP/Getty Images

Ty Votaw, who speaks on behalf of the IFPGAT, in addition to his role as Executive Vice President and CMO for the PGA Tour said, “Each member of the IFPGAT has its own communications teams, and no one is authorised to speak on behalf of the collective Federation without the consent of the other members.” 60


y Vot aw, who sp e a k s on b e h a l f o f t h e I F P G A T, in add it ion to h is role as E xe c ut ive V P a n d C h ie f Marketing Off icer for the P G A To u r s a i d , “ E a c h member of t he I F PG AT ha s it s ow n com mu n icat ion s tea ms, a nd no one is authorized to speak on behalf of the collective Federat ion wit hout t he consent of t he other members. Accordingly, I will not be answering your questions.” A convenient get-out-of-jail-free card indeed, and an apparent conflict of interests, the self-interest of the PGA Tour. Offering the eighth fattest prize fund in world golf, worth more than the Open Championship itself, whoever tops the CJ CUP leaderboard on 22nd October this year will bank a cheque for over US$1.5m, that’s 50% more than Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Scott Hend earned during the whole of 2016. PGA Tour players are notoriously reluctant to travel beyond their backyards, and if the attitude of world number 41, Kevin Kisner

- hardly a sporting superstar - they appear a bunch of pampered, overpaid and ungrateful brats, Kisner saying when asked about the new Tournament in South Korea, “It just seems like we should play at home, but I’m not sure where the Tour is trying to go around. “Obviously, they want to make it more of a world Tour, which is great. We’re playing for US$9.25 million, but not all of us want to get on a plane and fly over there and play for it,” Kisner adding, “I’d rather have a US$9.25 million purse in Aiken, South Carolina.” Kisner, who has earned almost US$2.2m so fa r t h is term wit hout wi n n i ng a Tou r n a ment a nd US $10.7m i n c a re er earnings with just one modest PGA TOUR victory concluded, “The economy is not growing fast enough in the U.S. to keep asking people to throw money at us.” It could be argued that in the case of the US$2.5m Japan Airlines Championship that there is currently no Japanese senior’s circuit, and that the LPGA Tour travels the world without criticism, both of which are true. But the first-ever Champions Tour event in Asia sucks sponsorship revenue and media HKGOLFER.COM

space away from the domestic scene, while women’s golf can realistically only support one major professional circuit at this time. Meanwhile, with tensions reaching feverpitch in the Korean Peninsula with a war of words between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, with both men threatening military action, the PGA Tour also declined to say whether diplomatic advice had been sought before confirming its first-ever Tournament in South Korea. PGA Tour golf is an acquired taste, and this correspondent is yet - and unlikely ever - to acquire it: homogenous players on lookalike courses, obstinately grudging grunting vapid insights into their latest round, statistics galore, strong allegiances to particular players based on state and/or college affiliations and on a purely practical basis. As the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES is reaching its denouement in South Korea, it will be breakfast time in New York and the middle of the night in California, hardly making for prime-time TV. But the harsh reality of the situation is that the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES is in the open capitalist market that America pays homage. There is no more worth US$9.25m than the CIMB Classic is worth US$7m, me a n i n g sp on sor s , me d ia out le t s a nd HKGOLFER.COM

ultimately local and regional Tours and their players will get burned, and golf in the region will be the loser. U n t i l t h e n , t h e P G A To u r i s , i n fact, starting covertly to begin with an additional sub-circuit, below the big-bucks WGC, ‘Majors,’ FedEx Finals and Players Championship tier. Just beneath the 20plus domestic events offering more than over US$6m prize funds, but well above both the Tour and the sprinkling of ‘Miserly’ events like the US$3.5m Barracuda Cha mpionsh ip a nd t he US$3m P uer to Rico Open. But anyone who has ever tried to cut a tempting, tasty gateau into too many thin slices, it begins to crumble, then there’s not enough cake to go round. The PGA Tour is selling the game of golf in Asia short, the Asian and KPGA Korean Tours have been sold down the river, CJ and the Jeju Government have been sold the proverbial pup, but could the insatiable, selfinterested juggernaut that is the PGA Tour care less? Not for a single nanosecond, because of its stock-in-trade, a microcosm of the free market capitalist economy the USA pays homage to, is to sell its soul to the highest bidder, seize the spoils and ignore the good of the game.

The US$750,000 CJ Invitational Hosted by KJ Choi has been a legitimate and authentic Asian Tour event for over four years HK GOLFER・JUL 2017




Traditions That Should Not Be

Changed AFP/Adrian Dennis

The Kilted Caddie explains why some golf traditions simply cannot and should not be changed…



Lee Westwood watches his shot played out of the rough onto the third green during the final round of the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield



I Getty Images/AFP

Henrik Stenson jumps over the famous Swilcan Burn on the 1st hole during the 2010 Open Golf Championship at St Andrews 66


am a big fan and follower of golf traditions. I like them almost as much as I like my beer, and they are as integral to our glorious and historical game with its near-mythical social status as the blessed amber nectar itself. Golf is imbued with many great and varied traditions. From the big post lunch serving of Kummel and afternoon two balls at Muirfield, to the early morning gunfire in St Andrews as the new Captain of the R&A drives into office. He hits a shot off the first tee of the Old Course and eager local caddies, which line the fairway, scramble and fight for his ball in the hope of winning a gold sovereign. Our traditions are quirky, unusual and part of our rich golfing heritage. The Muirfield two-ball format, which is now called ‘Scotch foresomes’ throughout the world, is ostensibly to facilitate members to ‘walk off’ their hearty lunches, of which the Honourable Gentleman’s Club is of course famous. However, it could also clear the head a tad after the consumption of the renowned Kümmel digestif, for that liqueur is not for the faint-hearted or lightly constituted.

This may now have worryingly penetrated Japanese culture, and this is how. A St Andrews caddie, George Murray, who lives in a beautiful flat overlooking the 18th tee of the Old Course was invited out to one of the premier clubs there with a friend, where they happily played their morning round. However, at lunch, they were each presented with a bottle of malt whisky. So, in true Scottish fashion and of course not to appear rude they duly consumed the whole bottle. Afterwards, they somehow made it out to play two balls. At least that is what George said he saw. The playing in of the Captain of the R&A hearkens back to when Queen Victoria’s you ngest son, L eopold , was becom i ng Captain. And they wanted to honour the moment in true heraldic fashion, and so a cannon was fired at the side of the tee in time with the ceremonious drive, and so it is done to this day. The Captain wins the Silver Club and the Queen Adelaide Medal. However, the whole occasion is given added spectacle as a significant number of local caddies line the fairway in the hope of retrieving the ball. The lucky chap who manages to grab it amongst HKGOLFER.COM


the next year’s Club Championship Finals Day, but unfortunately, they set the time to coincide with the start of a free champagne reception and that, as opposed to chugging up a severely challenging hill overwhelmingly swayed everyone, which was a pity. For ’professional golf ’ originated in this way, not by running up hills I mean but from evolving tradition. To conclude the R& A Autumn Meetings in the mid 19th century, members put money into a pot for locals, mostly caddies, to play. It was called the ‘put ins’ or ‘in puts’, and the fact was that the locals could end up playing for quite a healthy pot. A 20-year-old man called Tom Morris won the 1841 ‘put in’ with a score of 93 which was a record. This effectively is the progenitor of ‘professional’ golf. Now I am of the opinion that the ‘put ins’ is a very noble tradition indaeed and that it should be reinstigated as soon as possible. But for heaven’s sake chaps don’t set the match date to coincide with our annual knees up in The Jigger! Some traditions simply cannot and should not be changed. Hic.

American Tom Lehman chips on the second during the third round of the 2013 Open Championship HK GOLFER・JUL 2017

AFP/Adrian Dennis

the scrum of caddies (‘a pudgie’) gets presented a gold sovereign. I just missed out on this a couple of years back and was running to get to it against my golf writing nemesis Oliver Horovitz. But unfortunately, I slipped and went head over heels causing much amusement to the onlooking R&A members back on the tee, who thought I’d fallen into the Swilcan Burn. I seemingly just disappeared. My first club Mortonhall in Edinburgh has a wonderfully eccentric tradition called the Dewar Hill Race. Outside our clubhouse, there is a rather large and steep hill rising about 150m to what used to be the old 18th tee. Now the race involves running up this said hill and playing out the old par four 18th as quickly as possible. We ran it again as part of our Centenary Year celebrations, and very many brave and gallous members turned out. However, several looked hugely challenged afterwards. I got the best time with 3mins 57 and a par but Mr Keith McCall, ex-British Universities Golf Champion and R&A member, managed a birdie and won it on handicap. Time handicap that is. I tried to reinstate this as an annual event at the end of




HK Golfer Pinnacle BLACK

Louie Chan will work with Pinnacle BLACK for a 12-week strength and conditioning training programme to improve his golf game and performance and lower his golf handicap as the ultimate goal, writes James Honey.


Hip Stre ng Hip End th ura nc Hip Mo e bil i ty Trunk Ro Shoul tati de Shou r lde

y ilit on ob gth M Stren r


t Pinnacle BLACK, all athletes are subjected to specific screening measures to retain accountability with their goal, and ensure that all training is optimised. With Louie, we are embarking upon a 12week training programme specifically designed to improve his golf game, so naturally we put Louie through his paces with an initial profiling session utilising our Pinnacle Golf Screening to gauge his overall athletic suitability for golf, and to organise his primary areas of improvement in the first few weeks. The Pinnacle Golf Screening is an hour-long protocol specifically designed to assess the most relevant areas of strength, stability, mobility and work capacity for a golfer of any level, all tests scored from 1-5. We have included a selection of Louie’s best and worst measures here to display his priority areas, as can be seen there are a couple that were very obvious to begin with! Louie had fantastic mobility through his thoracic spine and shoulders, which requires no improvement. Louie’s main areas of focus were his strength deficit, and what will be a focus here is his hip strength. The capacity to stabilise and control hip movement in a golf swing is paramount, and Louie’s baseline strength in all areas of his hips was sub-par for golf performance. The following are some of the key exercises we would utilise for creating initial improvement here.


1 2 4




James Honey is an S&C coach at Pinnacle BLACK, and also the Lead S&C Coach of HKGA. Contact him today for a complimentary Pinnacle Golf Screening session and trial week at Pinnacle BLACK! Please contact or visit their website at HKGOLFER.COM

SIDE PLANK ABDUCTION Hip strength and stability is controlled by many individual muscles working in unison, and the hips integrate highly with the spine. The side plank is an exercise which reinforces proper spinal posture, whilst working the lateral hip and torso. Abducting (lifting) the top leg is harder than it looks! We are starting with 3 sets of 30seconds each side with the leg abducted, progressing the amount of time each session.

GOBLET SQUAT The squat is an essential movement pattern which creates stability and strength around the hip, among other joints. Louie is performing a ‘Goblet’ squat holding a dumbbell on his chest. Full depth with a neutral spine is important, and the musculature throughout the legs, torso, and specifically the hips will be worked appropriately. We are starting with 3 sets of 12 repetitions each session, with Louie aiming to progress the weight used whilst retaining perfect technique.

SPLIT SQUAT When performed properly, this exercise is fantastic for lateral hip stability and strength. As Louie displays here, his chest and torso are aligned directly above his back knee. As Louie stands, his hip and leg musculature is worked appropriately, providing he retains his perfect posture which is tough! This exercise can be loaded with weight which is an aim for Louie, and we are starting with 3 sets of 8 repetitions each side, with a slight pause at the top of the movement. HKGOLFER.COM



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A supremely elegant and classically styled mansion of natural Bath stone construction on this internationally renowned private estate Westbourn, Wentworth, Surrey, UK • Guide Price £23,000,000

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©2017 Dr Milton Wayne



1. Nearest city, legendary port and home of The Beatles!

5. See 1A

2. See 3D

7. Legendary design family, reworking here for 80 years

3. (& 2D) Defending Open champion, “Iceman” with finest final round ever

10. (& 7D) Last winner here in 2008, also won at Carnoustie the year before



1. (& 5A) Pipped “Mr Lu” here in 1971

4. See 22D

11. See 17D

6. See 20D

12. (& 13D) Aussie legend who won his 1st and 5th Opens here

7. See 10A

14. (& 19D) US legend who won his 5th Open here in 1983

8. See 16A

15. See 21A

9. See 25A

16. (& 24A, 8D) Aussie TV man, won only major here in 1991, before his game fell apart

13. See 12A

21. (& 15A) 1st Open win in ‘61 for head of his own “Army”

17. (& 18D, 11A) Wee low shot called for here, around the greens

23. Host town

18. See 17D

24. See 16A

19. See 14A

25. (& 9D) Outspoken US TV man, won his 2nd major here in 1976

20. (& 6D) Tiger’s old mentor and fishing mate, won here in 1998


14. Another 5 times Open winner, “J.H.”, reworked this course

22. (& 4D) Host course


WIN "THE GOLFERS" PRINT To enter, complete the crossword and send a scan or photo of the completed grid to, with “July Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 August 2017.

A luxury print, measuring 38” x 26”, has been produced and is available exclusively in Asia through the HK Golfer. Each print is accompanied by a printed key identifying each of the characters, and makes the perfect gift for any golfer. Yo u m ay a ls o v isi t H KG o l f e r Sh o p. co m, w r i te to or call us on 3590 4153 if you wish to purchase a print for only HK$888 (inc. free delivery).


ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES. Congratulations to Edward Liu of Sai Kung who won the May crossword.

Hill & Adamson, “The Golfers” HKGOLFER.COM




Nick Cowper Louie Chan talks to the General Manager of PureForm Golf HK about his college golf achievements and perspective on golf coaching and club fitting. When did you start playing - and where? I was first introduced to golf at three to four years old by my Grandfather, John Thomson, who moved his family to HK in 1970. I was born in Australia in 1982 and soon after returning to HK, we immigrated as a family to Auckland, New Zealand in 1985. My father would take me to the Akarana Golf Course in Auckland where I first learned to play. My mother unexpectedly passed away in the spring of 1993. I immigrated to the U.S. with my younger sister, father and stepmother. Four years later, we settled in Kennesaw, a small quiet suburban town just outside Atlanta, Georgia. It was then my real passion and determination for golf was ignited.   Do you have family ties in HK? My Grandfather John was the Chief Instrumental Engineer at HK Electric. He is a Scotsman and extremely passionate golfer, joined HKGC as a member later that year, playing every Sunday until he moved back to Scotland retired in the 1980s. Both of my parents grew up in HK. My father attended King George V School, and was quite the sportsman played hockey, rugby and soccer but never played golf. Len Cowper, my Grandfather on my father’s side, was the first pilot of Cathay Pacific Airways. He was married to my grandmother, Joy Drake, who was the 1966 Miss HK.

Richard Castka/Sportpix International

How often do you play? I don’t get to play on course too much nowadays as I spend most of my time fitting golf equipment and coaching at PureForm Golf HK. However, operating a facility with the best golf instructional and swing analyzing technology, I’m able to keep my golf game even better as it once was.  What’s been your best ever round? On May 7th, 2001 during my freshman year at Armstrong State, I shot a course and NCAA record 63 in the first round of the Southeastern Super Regional Conference Championship at 78


North Shore Golf Club, North Carolina. I went on to win that tournament and qualify for the NCAA Championship that year. That event and performance earned me NCAA All-American honors in my freshman year. I think that round was the day and moment I believed I could really play golf professionally.     Do you have a favourite course? HKGC is my favorite for its history and prestige. The stories my Grandfather has told me about the past great HK Open champions years ago always inspired me. Clearwater Bay definitely tops my list as one of the most picturesque golf courses I’ve ever played.  The 10th to 12th are such beautiful, well designed and challenging golf holes.   What is your perspective on golf coaching and club fitting? They are completely different. However, both are important aspects to evaluate your overall golf performance. The common misconception is that club fitting is just for the accomplished player. As a beginner, having the correct golf equipment will tremendously benefit one’s learning. One of the first things I work with a new student is assessing the equipment they are using. Properly fitting equipment including the correct weight, length, flex, lie angle, loft even visual design and aesthetics of the club head. We have developed our system to customize your improvement through better understanding of swing mechanics, coupled with equipment best suited to maximize your best swings.       Who would be in your dream four-ball? My dream four-ball would definitely be Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Justin Timberlake. All three at some point were my childhood hero! If you want to book a fitting session or lesson at PureForm Golf HK, please write to or call +852 3598 2958. HKGOLFER.COM

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