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Legendary links: Enjoying the very best of the Emerald Isle

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION

HKGOLFER.COM

VOTED THE REGION’S NO 1 GOLF MAGAZINE

NOVEMBER 2013

ISSUE 82

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| CONTENTS

HK Golfer Issue 82

November 2013

42 On the Cover:

Three-time Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez has confirmed his participation at this year’s event, which will be played 5-8 December at Fanling. Photo by AFP

Features

Plus…

42 | The Top 10 Hong Kong Opens

24 | In Focus

We delve into the archives and recall the most memorable moments from the championship’s distinguished 54-year history. By Alex Jenkins

A pictorial look back of the past 30 days – locally, regionally and globally. By The Editors

48 | The Greatest Comeback

33 | Tee Time

1990 Hong Kong Open champion Ken Green, who despite losing part of his leg in a tragic crash four years ago, has triumphed over adversity by getting back on the course and playing the game he loves. By Robin Moyer

Our watch editor takes a look at the best from Hong Kong’s first Watches & Wonders, which has left a lasting impression on Asia’s horological aficiandos. By Evan Rast

64 | Making it in Europe A profile on young American Peter Uihlein, who unlike his compatriots at least, is following a road less travelled. By Lewine Mair

70 | Hitting the Jackpot Long-hitting Australian Scott Hend overcomes Ernie Els – and the tricky course at the Macau Golf and Country Club – to claim his third Asian Tour victory of the year. By The Editors Patrick Leung (Lin); Daniel Wong (Liu)

76 | Emerald Greens Irish golf is synonymous with links courses – we take a look at the very best. By Andrew Marshall

82 | By Royal Appointment

58 58 12

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Enjoy the finest that Scotland’s scenic and historic Aberdeenshire region has to offer through our luxury travel partners By Stirling&Stirling

38 | Tales from the Box Our correspondent brings us another colourful look behind the scenes at life on the European Tour. By Julian Tutt

92 | Tee Time Profile An interview with Piaget CEO Philippe LeopoldMetzger, who talks to us about Watches & Wonders, ultra-thin timepieces and golf. By Evan Rast

94 | Tee Time Special A detailed history of one of Rolex’s most enduring models – the Cosmograph Daytona. By Evan Rast

98 | Golf & Investing / 5 Minutes With ... Shay Smart, one of Hong Kong’s leading PGAqualified instructors. By Alex Jenkins

HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION NOVEMBER 2013 • Issue 82

Editor: Alex Jenkins email: alex.jenkins@hkgolfer.com Editorial Assistant: Cindy Kwok Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Senior Editor: Roy Kinnear Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Contributing Editors: Lewine Mair, Robert Lynam, Evan Rast, Ben Oliver, Julian Tutt Published by:

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

76 D E PA R T M E N T S 16 Mailbag 20 Divots 31 Clubhouse 56 Around the HKGA 56 From the President

Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Derek Hannah Assistant Designer: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: ads@hkgolfer.com For purchasing information contact: sales@hkgolfer.com For subscription information contact: subs@hkgolfer.com 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: hkgolf@hkga.com handicaps@hkga.com In association with: www.thymedesign.hk

58 Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship

David Cannon / Getty Images

62 Player Profile: Michael Regan Wong

HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10A Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2012 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. 14

HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

HK Golfer is available onboard all Cathay Pacific and Dragonair First and Business Class cabins and in Singapore Airlines First and Business Class lounges.

HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer Mailbag PR Suggestion for Rory So Rory McIlroy will not return for this year’s Hong Kong Open, opting instead to take part in the Northwestern Mutual Challenge in California, which is being held on the same dates (5-8 December).

The 2011 Hong Kong Open champion has opted not to return for the event in December

While this tournament, which is hosted by Tiger Woods, boasts a top prize of US$1 million, it would have been a very good public relations move by the young Northern Irishman (and his management, whoever they may be right now) to play in Hong Kong. Let’s not forget: he was involved in two of the most exciting Hong Kong Opens in history (finishing runner up in 2008 and winning in 2011) and has generally played very well over the Composite Course at Fanling. The exception, of course, was last year when he missed the cut after receiving what is believed to be a large financial inducement to participate. At a time when he’s clearly not playing his best and receiving criticism for including on his schedule a variety of events that offer large appearance fees, a return to the Hong Kong Golf Club to try and better his 2012 result without an exorbitant cost attached would have gone a long way to help his rather crumbling reputation. Deciding to miss the event makes his previous comments about Hong Kong and Fanling, which he describes as one of his favourite cities and golf courses in the world, ring rather hollow. George Lau Via email

Well Done, Miguel I was delighted to hear that Miguel Angel Jiménez will return to defend his title at Fanling in December. For me, Jiménez is the most entertaining professional in the game – and obviously a brilliant competitor, as his three Hong Kong Open titles would suggest. A long-time supporter of the tournament – the Spaniard has played the event every year since 2001 – I for one will be cheering him on as he goes in search of not only a fourth title but also another piece of history: at the age of 49 can he break

his own record and become the oldest winner on Tour? Whatever happens, it’ll be great watching him try. Steve R Tai Po

A Royal Walk I think all of us Hong Kong-based golfers enjoy playing in Thailand – the Land of Smiles has to be the most popular destination for those of us who enjoy the occasional golfing break. To that end, and in response to Bruce Moore’s letter in the October issue, which continues the discussion about great walking courses, I would like to add my personal favourite: Royal Hua Hin. This is a delight to walk and every time I play it I am reminded of the staggering history of this tricky layout which, as many readers will know, is Thailand’s oldest course. Peter Gower Braemar Hill

We Want to Hear from You!

We’re delighted to announce that HK Golfer can now be downloaded on all Android and Apple devices. The HK Golfer iPad application continues to be available on Newsstand, while Android and iPhone users can now read the latest issue through Magzter, a global mobile magazine store. Simply download the Magzter app from either Google Play or the App Store. For more information write to app@hkgolfer.com

Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to letters@hkgolfer. com. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter (the first one that appears on the page) will receive a bottle of Champagne Deutz courtesy of Montrose Fine Wines.

Kimi Tai

HK Golfer on Android

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| DIVOTS

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Pethes Claims Croatian Crown

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HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

Joe Pethes took his game on the road this summer – and returned to Hong Kong with two trophies and plenty of stories to tell. Pethes, a regular Hong Kong Senior international who last year won the Hungarian International Senior Amateur Championship, returned to eastern Europe after a successful spell in Canada, where he won the Ottawa Valley Golf Association Men’s Senior Championship. The destination this time was Croatia – the Adriatic Golf Club on the Istrian Peninsula to be precise – where Pethes claimed the Croatian International Senior Amateur Championship by three shots thanks to rounds of 77 and 80. Pethes (pictured here on the right with leading Croatian player Vukadin Ivo), was full of praise for the picturesque course at the Adriatic Golf Club, which is only an hour’s drive south of Trieste in Italy. “The course was very impressive,” said Pethes, who will start as one of the favourites for this month’s Hong Kong Seniors Open Amateur Championship at Fanling, where he is a member. “It is carved out of very naturally hilly terrain in a beautiful setting. It is very tight and we played it in very windy conditions, which made it quite the challenge.” Croatia isn’t yet a well-known golfing destination, which begs the question, why did Pethes journey there? “Quite simply I enjoy travelling and I love to play golf,” explained Pethes, whose father was born in Hungary. “I look for interesting places where I can combine the two. It was a most enjoyable trip to a part of the world I’d probably never visit, but for the tournament. The Croatians were very hospitable and the weather was excellent.”

Stewart Wins HKPGA Order of Merit Amateur Terrence Ng finished in a tie for 20th at the 2013 Yinli & Nine Eagles HKPGA Invitational Series, a professional event, late October after carding three steady rounds over the Yinli Golf Club in Dongguan. Ng carded rounds of 72, 75 and 74 for a three-day total of 221, nine shots behind the champion, Poh Eng Wah o f Singapore. Ng’s amateur counterpart, Bibendum Leung, finished in a tie for 35th. With his tie for eighth at the tournament, Hong Kong James Stewart sewed up the 2013 HKPGA Order of Merit after a dominant year. Stewart, who came close to winning the Ageas HKPGA Championship at the beginning of the year, has been in a rich vein of form this season with wins at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club and the Hong Kong Golf Club in legs two and three. HKGOLFER.COM


| DIVOTS

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HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

Although he wasn’t at his best during the week, Hong Kong’s Shinichi Mizuno (pictured) finished in a share of 34th at last month’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which was held at Nanshan International Golf Club in Shandong province, China. Mizuno, 20, failed to shoot the scores his ball-striking deserved after missing countless chances on the greens over the four days. Rounds of 74, 76, 75 and 76 over gave him a total of 301 over Nanshan’s demanding Garden Course, 20 shots behind Korea’s Lee Chang-woo, whose victory earned him a much-coveted berth into next year’s Masters Tournament. Hong Kong’s other representative, 17-yearold Tiger Lee, agonizingly missed the cut by one stroke despite making birdies at his final two holes. “Thanks to Brad [Schadewitz, the national coach] my swing felt really good, but I had too many three-putts,” said Mizuno, a former West Island School student who now attends Doshisha University in Japan. Mizuno will now turn his attention to the Nomura Cup, which will be played in Thailand from 14-17 November.

The Passing of Arthur Hacker It is with great sorrow that we report the passing of Arthur Hacker MBE, a former contributor to HK Golfer, who died in his sleep on 9 October at the age of 80. Arthur, who wrote historical pieces and illustrated the cover of the August / September 2009 edition of this magazine (pictured), was a long-time Hong Kong resident, having arrived on these shores from London in December 1967. A painter, illustrator, historian and – most notably perhaps – creator of the antilitterbug character of the 1970s, Lap Sap Chung, during his time working for the Information Services Department, Arthur wrote and illustrated numerous books on both Hong Kong and China (British Hong Kong and Wan Chai are both must reads and available through the Foreign Correspondents’ Club) and was an extremely well liked member of the FCC, where we first met. Despite his surname, Arthur, who is survived by his brother George and sister Carlotta, was never a golfer – not even a bad one – but he will most certainly be missed. Farewell, Arthur, and thank you. HKGOLFER.COM


Local Focus A Splash of Brilliance Chinese Taipei’s Liu Yu-jui played this superb bunker shot from the back of the 18th green to help him claim his first Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship victory at Fanling in late September. Liu, who trailed Marc Ong of Singapore for most of the day, took advantage of a late collapse by Ong to add another title to his ever-growing haul. Earlier this summer, Taipeibased Liu claimed the Singapore Amateur Championship to secure his place in his national side. Doug Williams was the top-ranked Hong Kong player. The veteran holed a monster birdie putt on the last to finish in solo fourth. Photo by Daniel Wong


Asia Focus Lee Books Masters Berth Korea’s Lee Chang-woo poses with the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship trophy after cruising to a three-shot triumph at Nanshan International Golf Club in China’s northerly Shandong province late last month. Lee, 19, held his nerve in difficult conditions and emerged victorious over the elite field with not only the handsome silverware but also a place in the 2014 Masters Tournament, the prize for capturing the title. Lee also earned a place in International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship alongside runner-up Shohei Hasegawa of Japan. Hong Kong’s Shinich Mizuno finished the tournament in a share of 34th. Photo by Paul Lakatos


Global Focus King of the Cup Tiger Woods, seen here hitting his tee shot on the 12th hole during his second-day foursome matches at last month’s Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village, played an impressive role for the United States in their defeat of the International side. Woods, who had complained of back spasms during the week, earned four points from his five matches and, for the third time in succession, had the satisfaction of holing the winning putt. “It was a team effort this whole week,” said Woods, 37. The Internationals have only won this event once since it began in 1994, and that was 15 years ago in Australia. Photo by AFP


CLUB

Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME

LUCKY THIRTEEN

HONG KONG’S FIRST WATCHES & WONDERS LEAVES A LASTING IMPRESSION ON ASIA’S HOROLOGICAL AFICIONADOS, WRITES EVAN RAST The Audemars Piguet Millenary Repeater HKGOLFER.COM

CONTINUED OVERLEAF HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

31


Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and managing director of organising body Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) emphasises that Watches & Wonders is entirely different from the Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie, which takes place in Geneva every January. “Unlike the SIHH, this is not a commercial event to All of the brands sell watches,” she says. “Rather it is to explain, presented their educate, and show latest collections, the craf tsmanship behind the pieces and most of which the patrimony of the should be arriving brands.” soon in Hong Highlights of the Kong boutiques. show include a historical and interactive exhibit called The Mastery of Time, and special areas set aside to demonstrate the different specialities involved in the making of a fine watch. Piaget’s booth, for instance, had a watchmaker creating their Altiplano skeleton movement on one side, and a gem-setter on the other. All of the brands presented their latest collections, most of which should be arriving soon in Hong Kong boutiques. Some of the maisons certainly wanted to give the show a bit more pizzazz by presenting never-before-seen models. Vacheron Constantin launched its Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 at Watches & Wonders. Named after its founder, Jean Marc Vacheron’s year of birth, this minute repeater follows the brand’s signature of understated elegance matched with impressive finishing. Made of pink gold, the watch features a flying strike governor within its 41mm joint-free case, which together Also on display was the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph LeBron James create the optimal chime. The watch also breaks two records, being the thinnest handwound Limited Edition (top), a 600-piece model co-designed by the legendary basketball star minute repeater movement at 3.9mm, and the thinnest minute repeater watch at 8.9mm. Another chiming model that deserves h irteen Swiss watch brands, all attention is Audemars Piguet’s Millenary Minute with their own fascinating stories of Repeater in rose gold. Also debuting at Watches & heritage, achievement, innovation Wonders, the handwound timepiece has a threeand creativity, brought their latest dimensional architecture with off-centre hours and best pieces to Hong Kong and minutes, plus small seconds in a 47x42mm in September for the inaugural pink gold oval case. The blued hands and gongs Watches & Wonders. The first of its kind in Asia, offer a striking contrast, complemented by a full the annual four-day event is aimed at passionate view of the more efficient, shock-resistant AP watch collectors in the region who want to escapement and double balance-spring. learn more about their favourite maisons and Also on display was the Royal Oak Offshore the people behind the timepieces, try on some Chronograph LeBron James Limited Edition, a special watches and enjoy a luxury boutique experience 600-piece model co-designed by the basketball multiplied tenfold.

T

CONTINUED ON PAGE 88

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HKGOLFER.COM


WE TAKE OUR WATERPROOF TESTING VERY SERIOUSLY With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop.

All the watches are designed and assembled by hand in Iceland. Only highest quality movements and materials are used to produce the watches and every single detail has been given the time needed for perfection. The quantity of watches produced is limited, giving them an exclusive and truly personal feel.

OFFICIAL HK AGENT: TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION LTD. CONTACT: JSWATCH@TIMESIC.COM +852-3590-4153

www.jswatch.com


CLUBHOUSE | LIQUID ASSETS

CHAMPION OF BUBBLES AS YEAR-END FESTIVITIES ARE NEARING, JULIEN YUNG MAMEAUX TELLS US WHAT SETS CHAMPAGNE APART FROM OTHER WINES AND HOW TO BEST ENJOY IT. LET’S SEE WHAT ALL THE FIZZ IS ABOUT.

T

here is no wine quite like Champagne. Adored The endless vineyards by people as diverse as Napoleon and Marilyn of Champagne, Monroe, the “sauté-bouchon” (literally jumping northeastern France cork), as it was once called, has been the dedicated potion of choice for magical nights since the 1600s. The epitome of the French art-de-vivre, the wine was born still, just like those of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but wasn’t destined to remain so. A series of mistakes, including early bottling, led formation to continue inside the bottle – and the effect of the sun and heat during transportation had turned the wine into a fizzy beverage by the time it reached the tables of European aristocrats. The “devil’s wine” quickly became the royal courts’ subject of extravaganza and was lavishly drunk outside of France in London, Berlin and Vienna. This period was named the “Belle Epoque” (1871-1914) and was a time of great profligacy, which was depicted on the bottles of Perrier-Jouet and Alphonse Mucha’s famous posters. Rarer Champagnes with powerful, fruity It took several major figures to define the prestigious standards of Champagne that we enjoy today. The iconic monk Dom Perignon, often mistaken as the inventor characters from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier of Champagne, devised key processes to refine sparkling wine production. Later, the grapes, such as those produced by Gobillard and demanding widow Veuve Cliquot designed the riddling system thanks to which a Bollinger, are known as Blanc de Noirs. Extreme cloudy wine could be made clear. This is one of the critical steps of the “Méthode subtlety can be found in a Vintage Prestige Cuvee of a grand maison like Roederer. Champenoise” (the traditional method). Whichever is poured into my glass, I always Queen Marie-Antoinette is said to have lent her breast to shape the Champagne coupe, the shallow, broad-bowled glass that is used in official ceremonies and love contemplating the 48 million bubbles that weddings. More recently Champagne-based producers Adolphe Jacquesson and grow bigger in size as they make their way to the William Deutz contributed to the evolution by tying the cage around the cork and surface. In these I picture myself travelling through the actual Champagne region of northeastern adding the metal cap on top. One may remember that at that time Champagne was deadly: with immense France. Not only is this the only area of production pressure in each bottle (triple that of a car tire), glass bottles would explode and that allows a wine to be named “Champagne”, loose corks would become airborne missiles. It’s still something to be wary of. When it is a place of endless beauty, with vineyards popping a cork at 40 km/h – it can reach speeds upwards of 100 km/h – it’s much stretching as far as the eye can see, and a warm and passionate people. Let’s pop a bottle and let more preferable to open it softly, an act that retains the Champagne’s effervescence. Champagne is best tasted at a temperature between seven and nine Celsius the Champagne flow. degrees (45 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit). Sometimes I enjoy it “frappé” – which involves To arrange an exclusive Champagne tasting tour, giving the bottle a flash chill in the freezer for a few minutes before serving. Most Champagnes are non-vintage blends of three different grapes: Chardonnay, sword sabrage etiquette and nights of drinking Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Champagne made exclusively with Chardonany, which in cellars, contact The Experience Company provide distinct flowery notes, are known as Blanc de Blancs, a French term that (www.TheExco.com) at +852 2179 3307 or email means “white from whites”, and are produced by notable houses like Pol Roger and contact@TheExco.com . Quote “HK Golfer” for a special discount. smaller boutiques such as Henri Lemaire. 34

HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

HKGOLFER.COM


At the end of a great day... ... a sublime experience

As Jim Murray said in his Whisky Bible, “…A whisky that gives you the will to live !” We chose this as our first release because we had never tasted a distilled spirit at once so old – and so young. Only a taste can tell you how splendid it really is. And when it’s finished (which is very soon, now) there may not be anything like it for a while; it took us many years to find these 1,348 bottles, and it will be a long search for its successor. Meanwhile, we suggest you have a look at our cognac 1950, 478 bottles of which have just been released.

lastdrop@hkgolfer.com; (852) 3590 4153 lastdropdistillers.com


NEW

NEW


| TALES FROM THE BOX

Good

Friends The much-travelled commentator, Hong Kong-based Julian Tutt, brings us another colourful look behind the scenes at life on the European Tour.

Daniel Wong (Tutt); AFP (Stenson)

A

Man in form: Henrik Stenson (opposite) became the first European player to win the FedEx Cup after a brilliant summer 38

HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

llow me to introduce you to two very good friends of mine, Denis and Alf. As yet they have not met each other, but it is high time they did. I am looking forward to meeting up with Denis again soon, when we travel to South Africa for their national Open. You may well be familiar with the wonderful, gravelly tones of Denis Hutchinson; a sound that is born of a lifetime of whisky and cigarettes. Most impressively he gave up the latter in his mid-seventies, some seven years ago, after much nagging from his doctor. He’s been the Voice of South African golf for 30 years or more. After 81 years in existence, he still regularly beats his age by six or seven shots, albeit playing off the senior tees, something that does not seem to merit favour here in Hong Kong. Denis has a brilliant short game even now. The trouble is it starts on the tee! But as he often points out, golf is supposed to be fun, and it probably is not if you’re hitting woods into every green. “Hutchy”, as he is universally known, has always been a fierce competitor. He’s one of the old school who just loves to play golf, but he still very badly wants to play well, and to win. He has the extremely rare – probably unique? – distinction of having played in a competition fourball with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, whilst representing South Africa against the USA in the World Cup, somewhere back in the dark ages. When he and I meet, we always play a game whereby we play level, but if either of us goes two holes down we get shots

until we are back level. However, for every hole that you do not win when you are getting a shot you pay a penalty of a pound sterling or ten rand or whatever. It is a very good game for players who are reasonably well matched and invariably goes at least to the 17th hole and normally the 18th. My ambition is always to get Hutchy fired up. If he is cruising I know I am in trouble, but when I play well and push him, it gets his juices flowing and he then either plays brilliantly or starts to lose and then he gets really grumpy. A grumpy Hutch is a great thing to behold, and normally means the trophy we always compete for is mine. (It’s actually a One Hundred Dirham note from the United Arab Emirates, where the competition first started ten years ago). But it is his grumpiness that brings me to Alf, or more appropriately ALF, an acronym that Hugh Mantle, an eminent sports psychologist, taught me years ago. (Hugh worked with Colin Montgomerie for many years and became his friend and confidante while Monty was going through marital hell, until being unceremoniously dumped in the way that rich and famous sportsman seem to think is acceptable; but that is another story). It is a very simple mind game to keep you focused on what you are trying to achieve, whilst not getting too technical. The idea is always to play with an objective. Of course you want to play well, and win, but how do you achieve that? Hugh says you should have a clear, and probably limited, thought process for any given day. It may be a swing thought, or a rhythm or target thought. So the “A” stands for “Accept”. HKGOLFER.COM


As soon as you have hit the ball, it is gone, there is nothing you can do about it. So rather than thrash around with your driver like a demented octopus, blinding and cussing, calmly watch the flight of the ball, acknowledging that its future is now out of your hands, but then move swiftly to the “L” for “Learn”. Did you do what you were trying to do, regardless of the direction of the ball? If so, well done, mission accomplished. If not, why not? How can you do better next time? Then forget it and go find your ball. Hugh says most players are incapable of concentrating fully for a round that might (sadly these days) last four or five hours. So the trick is to relax and switch off in between shots, but then have a mental key that clicks you back into the “F” word, or “Focus”, at the right time. For some people this is a 10m circle around the ball, for others it might only be when you start your pre-shot routine. Either way, full concentration on the objectives of the next shot is crucial to success. It may be too late to teach the old dog new tricks, but it’s just possible that ALF could help Denis. Maybe I won’t introduce them after all … Before we meet up, there’s the little matter of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to be resolved. Henrik Stenson goes there as the first European winner of the FedEx Cup in America, and the hottest player in world golf by some margin. The likeable and funny Swede, who loves a practical joke, has all the skill and shots needed to win in Dubai and seal a unique double that may stay unique for quite some time. The four previous winners of the Championship have one thing in common; apart from being top class players, they hit the ball a long way. Luke Donald’s impressive record of two third places and a ninth shows that length is not everything, but the Greg Norman-designed Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is a beast and if you can carry the ball 300 yards plus, straight down the middle, it is a huge advantage. Lee Westwood, Robert Karlsson, Alvaro Quiros and Rory McIlroy were all able to do that. So too can Stenson who has climbed the peaks and ploughed the troughs in a stuttering career that might have caused lesser men to implode. There is surely not a man on Tour who would begrudge him success there this time. He will need some stamina though as he has committed to all four tournaments in the new ‘Final Series’. From Dubai he goes straight to the lovely Glendower Club on the outskirts of Johannesburg to defend the South African Open, the title he won a year ago that gave notice that he was on his way back to the top. Incidentally it is a title HKGOLFER.COM

The 2013 Rookie of the Year will likely be someone a long way down the rankings, who probably has not even qualified for the Tour Championship; only the top 60 do. It is an obsolete rule that surely needs changing. that Denis Hutchinson won as an amateur way back in 1959, beating 13-time champion Gary Player in the process. Among the many things that will be decided in the coming weeks is the Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award. American Peter Uihlein is the standout candidate after a brilliant season in which he has leapt from the Challenge Tour to the European Tour with a dual ranking win in Madeira, and at the time of writing is 10th in The Race to Dubai. But bad luck, Peter: the rules state that the winner must be a European. Who is next in line then? Thailand’s outstanding young Kiradech Aphibarnrat, currently 33rd? Sorry – not European! The winner will likely be someone a long way down the rankings, who probably has not even qualified for the Tour Championship; only the top 60 do. It is an obsolete rule that surely needs changing. Whilst enjoying a cool glass of non-alcoholic refreshment on Fanling’s famous verandah the other day, a distinguished former captain of what was then The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club, lamented how disappointing and disrespectful it was to Seve Ballesteros that so few of the top players had deigned to show up for the Trophy he inaugurated. The sad fact is that the Seve Trophy has never “flown”, and my understanding is that this year’s will almost certainly have been the last. The Tour could have made a rule that required the qualified players to play – if they wished to feature in the next Ryder Cup. But the Tour is run by the players for the players, and one suspects that would have met with violent opposition from the powerful top end. How sad then, that yet another memory of the great player who did more than anyone to create the modern Tour that has given so much to these young men is to be discarded on the scrap heap. Denis, I know, will hate it. Alf will accept it, learn from it, and focus on new horizons, whatever they may be. HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

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TOURNAMENT PREVIEW | HONG KONG OPEN

The

55

th

Hong Kong Open

5-8 DECEMBER, 2013 THE HONG KONG GOLF CLUB

AFP

With a quality field – including three-time winner Miguel Angel Jiménez – setting their sights on Fanling early December, we take a look back at the glorious history of our national Open. Turn the page to read our compilation of the ten best championships, plus exclusive interviews with past Hong Kong Open winners Frank Nobilo and Ken Green. 40

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HK OPEN PREVIEW | TOP 10 CHAMPIONSHIPS

The

Top 10

Hong Kong Opens Alex Jenkins delves into the archives and recalls the most memorable moments from the championship’s distinguished 54-year history.

10 Up and Running, 1959 Playing for a prize fund of HK$2,000 stumped up by the South China Morning Post, the inaugural event might not have had the glamour of today’s tournaments, but it produced a very worthy winner in Taiwanese ace Lu Lianghuan. Lu, who was the head pro at Fanling at the time, would later go on to star at the 1971 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale where he finished second to Lee Trevino. Nicknamed “Mr Lu” by the British press, the Taiwanese became the darling of the Open galleries thanks to his cheery demeanor and bright-blue pork pie hat. Lu would later repeat his Fanling success with victory at the 1974 Hong Kong Open.

Clockwise from this page: Lu Liang-huan, the Hong Kong Open’s first winner; the legendary Peter Thomson, who claimed three titles; Colin Motgomerie, the 2005 winner, who took full advantage of James Kingston’s late collapse 42

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9 Three up for Thommo, 1967 Five-time Open champion Peter Thomson bagged his third Hong Kong Open title of the decade with his 1967 victory at Fanling. Thomson, who is credited with kick-starting the first series of professional events in Asia, was 38 when he completed his hat-trick and, with his enviably orthodox and rhythmical swing, invariably dominated proceedings at the Hong HKGOLFER.COM


8 Kingston’s Collapse, 2005

The f irst Hong Kong Open in the UBS sponsorship era started as it had finished with Omega the year before – with a another finalhole collapse by James Kingston. A 64 on Saturday had propelled the likeable South African into contention, and when overnight leader Simon Yates – who had a brilliant 61 in the third round – stumbled early, Kingston found himself in sole possession of the lead. Standing on the final tee with a one-stroke advantage over the newly installed European number one Colin Montgomerie, HKGOLFER.COM

Kingston was determined not to repeat his mistake from the year before where he hit his ball left with a three-wood. He didn’t. Taking a two-iron, the journeyman pushed his tee shot deep into the trees on the right. A chip back to the fairway was followed by an under-cooked wedge which spun off the front of the green. With the spectators expecting him to get up and down from a relatively straightforward position (and therefore extend the tournament into extra holes), Kingston semi-duffed his chip to 10 feet and then missed the putt. A huge groan reverberated around Fanling and Monty was crowned the winner. A teary-eyed Kingston told the assembled press: “I just messed up again for the second straight year. It’s obviously disappointing with the way I finished but that’s golf. I was just so nervous.”

Paul Lakatos (Thomson); AFP (Colin Montgomerie)

Kong Golf Club. The Australian, who favoured discussions on politics and listening to classical music to drinking beer and talking about sport, now runs a flourishing course design business.

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7 Norman Makes His Mark, 1979

Thirty-four years ago a young Australian pitched up at Fanling and wowed the galleries with his untamed blonde hair, good looks and aggressive golf game. Greg Norman had only turned pro two years previously but played like a seasoned veteran in winning the 1979 title. He would later add the 1983 Hong Kong Open to his impressive list of achievements. Despite only winning two majors – the 1986 and 1993 Open Championships – the “Shark” is considered a legend in his home country, inspiring tens of thousands of children – including this year’s Masters winner Adam Scott – to start playing the game.

6 Poulter Powers to Title, 2010

Charles McLaughlin (Poulter); Daniel Wong (Jiménez): AFP

The 2010 championship was another classic, with Ian Poulter sealing his 10th European Tour title with a tournament record total of 258 (22-under-par). But the Englishman was made to work every inch of the way. Poulter had a decidedly hot putter to thank after taking the second round lead with a jawdropping 10-under-par 60. Consistently hitting the ball to the centre of the small Fanling greens, the 34-year-old was rolling in 10-15-footers with amazing regularity. But come the final round and Poulter, who had followed up with a 64 in the third round, was having to fend off the challenges mounted firstly by former winner Simon Dyson and then Italian teenage phenomenon Matteo Manassero, who fought his way right back into the tournament with a magnificent 62. Rory McIlroy, who had fired the low round on day one with a 63, was in the hunt yet again, but faded over the closing holes. Poulter, who was playing with Graeme McDowell in the f inal group, made the tournament his own with an assured stretch of holes on the back nine, and could afford to bogey the last hole to claim the win by the slimmest of margins. For the record, Poulter made only two bogeys during the entire event, which highlights how unusually friendly the scoring conditions were at Fanling that week.

Clockwise from left: Ian Poulter holes out on the last in 2010; Greg Norman was a two-time winner of the Hong Kong Open; Miguel Angel Jiménez celebrates his third victory in 2012; David Frost, the 1994 champion; José Maria Olazábal with the trophy after his 2001 win 44

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5 Jiménez Makes History, 2012 History was made last year as 48-year-old Miguel Angel Jiménez became the oldest winner in European Tour victory after claiming his third Hong Kong Open title with a brilliant display of ball-striking. Making only two bogeys all week, the Spaniard held off the challenge of a rejuvenated Fredrik Andersson Hed to win by just one shot at an event that through up plenty of surprises along the way. Jimémenz aside, the veterans flourished at Fanling, with New Zealand’s Michael Campbell and Zhang Lian-wei of China featuring on the leader board for most of the tournament before falling back on an enthralling final day. But it was the form of world number one Rory McIlroy that raised more than a few eyebrows. The defending champion opened up with a poor 73 and, despite a bright start to his second round, went into freefall on the back nine to miss the cut. Twenty-four hours later, McIlroy was sunning himself on a Dubai beach with his tennis-star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. Not that Jiménez cared about any of that. With his trade mark cigar in hand, the Spaniard was effusive when asked about his remarkable longevity. “This is maybe the olive oil in my joints, and the nice Rioja wine and those things that keep you fit and flexible,” he beamed.

4 McClellan’s Miracle, 1994 American journeyman pro Craig McClellan stood in the middle of the 18th fairway of the final round needing an eagle two to force a play-off with South African stalwart David Frost. Incredibly, McClellan did exactly that by holing his seven-iron from 160 yards away, but succumbed to the pressure in extra time as Frost walked away with the title. Nevertheless, McClellan’s shot ranks alongside that of Lin Wen-tang’s [see 2008] as the finest (or luckiest) in the history of the event.

3 Olazábal’s Escape, 2001 Voted as one of the best shots ever at a European Tour event, José Maria Olazábal’s raking fiveiron from the trees on the last hole to set up an easy tap-in birdie provided one of the most exciting climaxes at a Hong Kong Open in living memory. Having trailed Adam Scott and Norway’s Henrik Bjornstad for much of the final round, the Spaniard paved the way for victory following a spectacular birdie-birdie-birdie finish. Speaking afterwards, Olazábal said: “You don’t finish with three birdies knowing you have to do it. I pulled it off with a bit of luck and one well executed shot.” HKGOLFER.COM

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Charles McLaughlin (McIlroy); Patrick Leung (Lin)

2 McIlroy’s Moment, 2011

Rory McIlroy (above) finally did it in 2011. After numerous close shaves, the Northern Irishman tasted victory at Fanling with a brilliant final-round display; Lin Wen-tang (right) plays this amazing shot from the trees on the 18th to defeat McIlroy and earn his first Hong Kong Open title in 2008, which was arguably the most thrilling championship in history 46

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Rory McIlroy says he loves Hong Kong, and Hong Kong certainly loves him, so it was with no small amount of pleasure to see the Northern Irishman finally seal his first win on Fanling soil with one of the greatest finishes in the tournament’s history. A f ter op en i n g w it h a s up erb 6 4 i n blustery conditions, McIlroy failed to make much headway over the next two rounds, carding lacklustre rounds of 69 and 70 to fall three shots off the pace set by Alvaro Quiros, the long-hitting Spaniard. But the final round was a different matter. W hile Quiros st r uggled early on Sunday to fall out of contention, McIlroy was magnif icent. Fend ing off t he t win challenges of Sweden’s Peter Hanson and playing partner Grégory Havret of France, the 22-year-old reached the 18th hole with a slender one-shot lead. Electing to go with a “hard three-wood” into the wind, McIlroy t ugged his drive ever so slight ly but it managed to defy science and instead of bounding out-of-bounds, kicked right and into a good lie in the rough some 95 yards from the flag. Not t hat t he tou r na ment wa s over. Catching his pitch maybe a groove too high, McIlroy’s shot found the treacherous greenside bunker. With Havret struggling to save par after f inding trouble off the tee , t he world nu mber t wo k new t hat a n up-a nd-down wou ld clinch t he t it le he so craved. But trust McIlroy – coming off the most impressive season of his career – to finish with aplomb. Splashing delicately from some distance below the level of the green, the shot landed softly and trundled unerringly – brilliantly – into the bottom of the cup to complete a marvellous 65 and a two-shot victory. Flinging himself into a celebration quite unlike any we have seen from him do before, McIlroy pumped his f ist and let out wild screams of joy. It was simply amazing stuff. “I wanted to win this tournament so bad ly si nce t hat play- of f i n 20 08, but f inally, to get this trophy in my hands, is very special,” said that year’s US Open winner, who f irst visited Hong Kong in 20 05 when he played t he Fa ldo Series International Trophy. “I’ve loved this city, I’ve loved this golf course, I’ve loved this tournament ever since I got here ... this is definitely one of my favourites.”

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1 The Ultimate, 2008 The 50th anniversary tournament surely ranks as one of the greatest European Tour events of all time, but the fun started long before eventual champion Lin Wen-tang, Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari reached the closing stages. First there was Jason Hak, the 14-yearold amateur from Hong Kong who became the youngest player in European Tour history to make the cut. He celebrated making the weekend action by upstaging José Maria Olazábal – his playing partner in the final round – by outscoring the legendary Spaniard, 68 to 69. Then there was John Daly, who kept the driver in the bag and blitzed his way to a stellar 62 on Sunday. But what made this championship was the play-off, which saw Lin become the first Asian player to win the title since Kang Wook-soon in 1998. After pulling his drive into trouble on the first extra hole, Lin, with his opponents safely in the fairway, looked dead and buried. With nothing to lose, the Taiwanese, a regular on the Asian Tour, pulled out a short iron and fired his approach through the foliage, over the greenside bunker to within four feet of the cup. It was nothing short of miraculous, but the drama didn’t end there. McIlroy, who at the time was still without a professional tournament victory to his credit, pitched brilliantly to within tap-in distance, and after Molinari narrowly missed his HKGOLFER.COM

own 10-footer for birdie and Lin holed out, the play-off was down to two. Standing on the 18th tee for the third time of the afternoon, it was McIlroy’s turn to find trouble. Using his hybrid, his drive bounced off the Out of Bounds fence that lines the left side of the hole and finished in a horrible position at the bottom of a tree, not far from where Lin had made his great escape. Buoyed by his good fortune, Lin struck what looked to be a winning drive down the middle of the fairway. But then it was McIlroy’s turn to produce some magic. With 118 yards to go, but with no sight of the pin, the 19-year-old from Northern Ireland snap-hooked a gap-wedge loaded with spin that somehow caught the back of the green and stopped within 12 feet of the flag. High-fiving his caddie, the Irishman was justifiably delighted – but only for a moment, because Lin then pulled off another gem, firing his own wedge to within inches for a castiron birdie. Whipping his cap off to the roar of the crowds, it was this shot, rather than his previous miracle approach that showed his sheer determination to win. Up at the green, McIlroy faced a ghastly birdie putt: lighting quick, downhill and with significant left-to-right break. Perhaps not surprisingly, his effort sailed past, and after knocking it in for par the stage was set for Lin, 50 years after Mr Lu had won the inaugural championship, to tap his in for the greatest of victories. HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

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HK OPEN PREVIEW | KEN GREEN

The

Greatest

Comeback

Robin Moyer talks to 1990 Hong Kong Open champion Ken Green, who despite losing part of his leg in a tragic crash four years ago, has triumphed over adversity by getting back on the course and playing the game he loves.

W

i th five career wins o n t h e P G A To u r and three more international victories bet ween 1985 a nd 198 9, 32 -ye a r- ol d American golfer Ken Green was on a roll heading into the first round of the 1990 Martell Hong Kong Open. His clubs had gone astray somewhere over the Pacific, but arrived in time for a lively skins game with Bernhard Langer, Seiichi Kanai and Hong Kong favourite, Yau Siuming on the Wednesday before the tournament. “I remember the skins coming down to the last hole – it was Langer, myself and the local hero,” Green said recently. “Langer blew his tee shot, so it was down to the two of us. He (Yau) hit a fair shot just short of green and I hit a push shank about 70 feet right on the edge of green. He chipped up to tap-in and then I proceeded to hit this big breaker and it goes in the hole. “I’ll never forget the complete silence and then when they realized they hadn’t clapped, they all clapped. I understood it as they were rooting for their man. “I won $65,000 if I remember right,” said Green. There may have been some side bets, as his actual haul was US$59,000 of the US$100,000 pool in the inaugural Martell International Skins Game. Fifty-four thousand of those winnings came from that lengthy putt on the final hole. 48

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Langer, who had been playing like a champion, walked away with US$37,000; Kanai, the 1985 Hong Kong Open champion, had a rough day with his putter and pocketed only US$4,000 while luck-less Yau Siu-ming left with nothing. A s for t he tou r na ment it sel f, Green continued: “it was very wet and muddy.” So wet and muddy was the course that the third round was washed out and the foreshortened tournament was nearly cancelled as the rains on Sunday morning postponed the final round: the flight of Green and Yau Siuming, his closest competitor, did not tee off until 2:40 in the afternoon and finished precisely four hours later in the very last minutes of the gloaming. The sun officially set on 25 February 1990 at 6:25pm nearly in what is called nautical twilight, a time when the sun is six degrees below the horizon and sailors can still navigate using a visible horizon for reference. “I hate to say that the only real memory I have of the actual tournament was that I played well and I was always in total control and won the tournament,” said Green. Wearing his trademark bright green shoes, hat and glove, Green never relinquished his three-shot lead on that final day. Shooting a oneover-par 72 gave him a three-round total of 205, four shots ahead of compatriot Brian Watts, who would return to win the Hong Kong Open in 1993, and Canadian Danny Mijovic. Yau fell HKGOLFER.COM


Robin Moyer

Ken Green, Montreal, September 2013

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Robin Moyer (Green); The Standard (Hong Kong Open)

Wearing his trademark bright green shoes, hat and glove, Green never relinquished his threeshot lead on that final day at the Hong Kong Open. Shooting a one-over-par 72 gave him a three-round total of 205, four shots ahead of compatriot Brian Watts.

Green’s experimental bionic leg cost him (above) over US$40,000; celebrating his 1990 Hong Kong Open triumph with his former girlfriend (opposite) – it proved to be a profitable week for Green 50

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back to finish with a 76 in eighth place. The only other Hong Kong professional to make the half-way cut was Dominique Boulet who, in his first outing as a pro, finished with an even par 71 to tie with Langer in 19th place. Highly touted as the man to beat and ranked world number 17, Langer said at the time, “I had a horrible day. I played very badly and couldn’t get near the hole. (But) I enjoyed it here, and I’m sure if the weather was better the course would have played well. I’d love to come back here again sometime.” One good resu lt from t he persistent downpours was the tournament committee’s decision to hold future Opens in December

when Hong Kong’s weather is historically drier. And Langer returned to win the tournament the next year. Green had a reputation on the PGA Tour for being a bit of a wild-man, or at least a wildchild. Bored with practice he was known to hit full-on 3-woods off the carpet and through a narrow gap in the doors of his den to the golf course outside. He once had a beer delivered to him while playing a special event paired with Arnold Palmer, just so “I could say I had a beer with Mr. Palmer.” Often fined for swearing, he was usually portrayed by the media as “prickly” or having “temper issues.” Whatever he had, he combined it with a long run of bad luck. In 2009 on Interstate 20 near Hickory, Mississippi, Green’s recreational vehicle, which was being driven by his brother, Bill, blew a tire, ran off the road and down an embankment, hit a tree and took the lives of his girlfriend, Jeanne, Bill, and his dog, along with mangling his right foot and leg. Before the accident, Ken’s was called “a sad life” by journalists chronicling his rise and fall. Clinical depression, combined with gambling, divorces, drinking and financial disasters, led to him losing his fortune and his Tour card. Then came the crash, followed by the accidental overdose of his estranged 21-year-old son in 2010: it made for tough writing and tougher reading. After the accident he was given a choice by his surgeons: amputate the lower right leg, or give up golf. Ken loves golf, lives golf. His life has been defined by golf. He opted for the amputation. The amputation left him with a possibility of playing again, but also with constant nerve pain in his stump, a problem suffered by only a small percentage of amputees. “It’s like a tenth of the pain you get sticking wet fingers in an electric socket,” he said. “(Like) like being Tasered constantly at a low level. Sometimes I even act like I’m being Tasered.” Green is nothing if not persistent. He was determined to get his game back, to play a decent top 20 and leave the game on his own terms. Within five months after the accident he was tinkering with a new swing, one that didn’t rely on the power he used to derive from kicking off his right leg, a swing with a restricted turn with a little draw instead of the power fade he used so well in the 1980s. He might be missing a leg, but he has hands, hands that make for a magical short game. His Ryder Cup experience (Green played in the 1989 match at The Belfry) gives him a lifetime exemption to the Senior PGA Championship, but he will have to rely on sponsor’s exemptions for regular Champions Tour events. He has an annually renewable major medical exemption, but Green does not HKGOLFER.COM


In 2009 on Interstate 20 near Hickory, Mississippi, Green’s recreational vehicle, which was being driven by his brother, Bill, blew a tire, ran off the road and down an embankment, hit a tree and took the lives of his girlfriend, Jeanne, Bill, and his dog, along with mangling his right foot and leg. feel he can rely on the Tour’s claims that it will open up half a dozen events a year. In April 2012, he played in a special Champions Tour event, the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Tournament, a 54-hole best ball event, partnered with his long time friend, Mike Reid. The team finished 12-under. Green contributed two birdies and had become the first golfer with a prosthetic leg to compete in a tour event. “I thought I loved the game a lot,” said Reid after the round. “But I am certain that I would not have paid the price and would not have kept the dream alive that he has kept alive by virtue of his love for the game.” An operation in May 2013 reduced some of the pain in his stump, though there are still issues to be dealt with, mostly around the violent twisting that emanates from the swing HKGOLFER.COM

itself and causes a lot of friction where stump fits to prosthesis. In September he played all three rounds in a full-field Champions Tour event (where every shot counts), the Montreal Championship at Vallee du Richelieu Rouville, in Sainte-Julie, Quebec. He chose the Montreal tournament for his debut because the course is fairly flat, but still a real championship layout, not too long but with very tricky greens. It was recently renovated by Asia-based design firm Nelson & Haworth, who were responsible for the East Course at The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau. The fairways are soft, but the new greens are very firm. That is fine for Green, as it suits him not to have too many awkward stances and he has the touch of an angel around the greens. “I was so nervous on the first tee,” he said. “Like it was my first tournament. I didn’t want HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

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An operation in May 2013 reduced some of the pain in his stump, though there are still issues to be dealt with, mostly around the violent twisting that emanates from the swing itself and causes a lot of friction where stump fits to prosthesis.

Robin Moyer

Green, celebrating here as he walks up to the 18th green in the second round, put in a quite brilliant performance to make the cut in Canada (above). As far as comebacks go, this was among the greatest 52

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to screw up. Was hoping to break 80 and not embarrass myself.” On a sunny day with a little nip in the air, Green teed it up and promptly made a bogey on the first hole. On the second tee he pulled-hooked his drive left into the trees and had no option but a punch under the limbs to a raised green 220 yards away. He executed it perfectly, hitting a low runner that ended up just short of the fringe. One deft chip and a putt for par restored his confidence and calmed his nerves. Two more bogeys, two birdies and a lot of short game in between and the crowd at the 18th gave him a standing ovation as he ambled onto the green to make yet another par save to finish his first round at one over. Only 15 of the 80 players had scored better. Ken was four shots off the lead. The second round dawned cold and damp, the least ideal conditions for Green. He came to the first tee all bundled up, looking like Snoopy’s Red Baron, trying to keep warm. He looked absolutely miserable. But he played like a dream nailing three birdies against three bogeys to remain at one over. And the crowd cheered on. Green was the story of the tournament, an

inspiration for all. Alas, though the final day began with a birdie on the first hole, living through two days of the Cinderella story had just beat Ken down, physically and emotionally. One bird doesn’t offset seven bogeys and a double. Still, rounds of 73, 72, 80 for a total 225 beats a lot of wily old pros. “I’m very pleased with what happened this week,” Green wrote on his blog, which can be read at kengreenscomeback.com. “Today was just impossible for me. I had three things going against me and I’m just not that good a man yet. I had only one hour sleep due to discomfort, my wound opened and turned into a blood bath down in my socket and the cold wind was just too much for me. “I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made since June. Once I get this winter under my belt, I truly believe I will be much better and from there I just must play more tournament golf, so I can get my brain reacting to tournament golf. To be where I was before this myriad of problems hit today is just awesome. “Thank you all for caring and please know your support means the world to me.” With his new computer operated prosthetic, a wonderfully grounded girlfriend and lofty but realistic goals, his life may be back, and on a new track. “Maybe if I get little stronger it would be nice to go back (to Hong Kong) and continue my hope of bringing the story of hope and fight to the East.” HKGOLFER.COM


HK OPEN PREVIEW

Frankly

Speaking

Frank Nobilo, the golfer-turned-TV analyst, talks to Alex Jenkins about his victory at the first championship since The Handover – the 1997 Hong Kong Open.

AFP

1997 was a really turbulent year for me. I had done really well in the majors in 1996 – I think I ranked only behind Greg Norman and Nick Faldo in the average finish statistic – and as a result I had taken my PGA Tour card for the year. But in what was effectively my rookie season in America I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my wrists, so 1997 really stands out for me professionally. I have played in Hong Kong so many times over the years, and at the time the Hong Kong Open, along with Malaysia, was the most established event in Asia. A lot of us from Australia and New Zealand would pass through because it was a great event to play and fun, too. Greg [Norman] won the event twice, so the Hong Kong Open was most certainly on our radar. Despite the arthritis I had been playing pretty well in the lead up to the event. I had won the Greater Greensboro Classic in April and headed to Hong Kong fresh off a victory at the Mexican Open. I had also been a winner in Indonesia that year. My memories of the actual tournament aren’t all that fresh – funnily enough the thing that sticks in my mind is playing snooker with Sam Torrance on the full-size table in the clubhouse – but I do remember going into the final round with the lead and then getting off to a poor start. I think I made a couple of bogeys. I was playing really solid though and I really took control with an eagle at the ninth [the 10th hole of the New Course, where Nobilo fired a 246-yard 3-wood to within a few feet of the hole]. That really got my confidence going and I was able to go on to win quite comfortably [by five strokes]. That’s 54

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Frank in Focus: Nobilo lines up a putt in 1990

what happens when you’re playing well and you take the lead – you get into another gear. Playing at Fanling was a joy, although you needed to adapt to the conditions – and in particular, the grain on the greens. In those days you could hit a putt and hear it fizzing as it rolled into the grain. Ben Arda [a successful Filipino golfer from the 1960s and 1970s] was just brilliant at handling it. He’d hit a shot onto the green 20 feet right of the flag and you’d watch open-mouthed as it tracked back towards the hole because he knew which direction the grain was growing. It was amazing. The other amazing thing about Fanling was the galleries that came out and supported. They really understood their golf and wanted you to play well, which gave you great motivation. I have an affinity with Asia – my wife is originally from Malaysia – and the Hong Kong Open is definitely one of the cornerstones of golf in the continent. The tournament helped keep golf alive in the region in the years before China became immersed in the game on a professional level, so it holds a very important place in history. HKGOLFER.COM


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From the President We’re now well and truly in Hong Kong’s peak season for golf and I’m delighted to be able to write about the success that players from the SAR have achieved over the past two months. As many will be aware from the last issue of HK Golfer – as well as through other news sources – the Hong Kong team claimed a memorable silver medal at the National Games in September. The National Games is known as the “Olympics of China” and the team – which comprised Jason Hak, Wong Woon-man, Timothy Tang and amateur Motin Yeung – put in a superb performance to finish second, behind hosts Liaoning, in what was an extremely strong field. Indeed, such was their display that they managed to finish ahead of Guangdong province, which boasted a side that included Chinese legends Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei, who picked up the bronze medal. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this result and I would like to credit not only the team and the coaches, but also the sponsors of both the HKGA and the HKPGA, the Home Affairs Bureau, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department as well as the golf clubs of Hong Kong, whose support made this achievement possible. Another who deserves praise is Hong Kong Golf Club member Doug Williams. Doug has enjoyed a quite outstanding season, earning multiple tournament victories along the way.

Attaining senior status – Doug turned 55 in February of this year – clearly agrees with him, because since his Hong Kong Seniors Amateur Close Championship victory earlier this year, Doug has been on a roll. At last month’s Hong Kong Amateur Open, which was held at Fanling, he finished as the top local player, notching three solid rounds to end the tournament just three strokes behind eventual winner, Liu Yu Jui of Chinese Taipei, who at the age of just 22 is some 33 years Doug’s junior. The following week, Doug won the Jockey Club Kai Sai Chau International Open in fine style, a victory he replicated later in the month at the Singapore Open Senior Amateur Championship. With our own Senior Open taking place from 13-15 November, Doug is surely the man to beat. Another man who has a definite Hong Kong connection is Miguel Angel Jiménez, who has confirmed his participation at next month’s Hong Kong Open. The Spaniard claimed last year’s title for his third win in our city and it will be great to welcome him back to the championship, which takes place between 5-8 December at Fanling. The Hong Kong Open has a proud and distinguished history and I, like all golfers in Hong Kong, look forward to another entertaining week of world-class golf. Finally, the HKGA is excited to launch a new patrons’ programme for brands or businesses who are interested to support golf in Hong Kong – in return for which there are a number of unique benefits on offer. Those interested to find out more should contact the HKGA office at hkgolf@hkga.com. William Chung President

Williams Claims Second Kau Sai Chau Title Doug Williams’ year just keeps getting better and better. The 55-year-old Hong Kong Golf Club member, who won the Seniors Amateur Close Championship on his debut in May, added the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau International Amateur Open to his evergrowing list of titles with a gutsy come-from-behind victory last month. Williams carded two birdies in the final three holes for a final-round 70 over the demanding Gary Player-designed North Course to pip overnight leader Terrence Ng by a shot. Williams finished with a three-round total of 223 (seven-over) to earn his second victory in the event. Zhang Juntao of Macau (227) finished in solo third, four strokes off the pace. Just three weeks later, the US-born Williams, a long-time Hong Kong resident, would claim a commanding seven-shot victory at the Singapore Open Senior Amateur Championship. 56

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HKGA | HONG KONG OPEN AMATEUR

Liu

Leaves it Late

A brilliant bunker shot combined with a 15th hole collapse by Singapore’s Marc Ong gave Liu Yu-jui victory at September’s Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship, writes Alex Jenkins.

C

Photography by Daniel Wong

hinese Taipei’s Liu Yu-jui claimed the Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship – and with it a coveted spot in next month’s Hong Kong Open – in one of the closes finishes in the tournament’s 82-year history late September. Twenty-two year-old Liu, who finished a distant second to England’s Edward Richardson at the 2012 edition of the event, posted a threeround total of 211 (one-over-par) over the New Course at Fanling to pip Singapore’s Marc Ong by a shot. Ong’s compatriot Jerome Ng finished a further stroke back in third while the in-form Doug Williams was Hong Kong’s best performer, three steady rounds earning the 55-year-old solo fourth. Liu had started the final round of the weather-delayed event one-stroke behind Ong but failed to make much headway as the 17-yearold Singaporean played almost faultless golf. Indeed, after a birdie at the par-5 14th, a hole that Liu could only par, Ong had extended his lead to three shots and had the trophy all but in his grasp.

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Liu poses with the trophy following his last-gasp victory; Ong (opposite) runs his first putt on the 18th way past the cup to set up a bogey

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Clockwise from top: Shinichi Mizuno fired a secondround 69 on his way to finishing in a tie for fifth; Humphrey Wong had contrasting rounds but still secured a top-10 place; Leon Philip D'Souza enjoyed a strong final round after getting off to a disappointing start; Singapore's Jerome Ng finds something to laugh about on the 18th

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But then disaster struck. The 15th, a dogleg left par-4, might only measure 395 yards off the tips but it has caused all sorts of problems for players over the years – most notably perhaps Scotsman Simon Yates, who got caught up in the trees flanking the left side of the fairway and made a triple bogey to lose his lead in the closing stages of the 2005 Hong Kong Open, which was eventually won by Colin Montgomerie. Ong fared no better. An ugly seven, the result of his own entanglement with foliage, dropped him back into a share of the lead alongside Liu, with Ng just a shot of the pace. After regulation pars on 16 and 17 and with only a shot separating the top three players, the championship looked destined to be determined by a play-off. It wasn’t to be however, with the 18th providing the final twist in what proved to be a roller-coaster ride of a tale. With Liu in the back bunker and facing an extremely difficult shot to a tight pin, and Ng having his own problems on the home hole, Ong was firmly in the driver’s seat after hitting his approach to 35feet. But then a piece of magic. Undaunted by his situation, Liu played a high-risk splash that just cleared the lip of the bunker and rolled to within two-feet of the cup. It was a tremendous shot in the circumstances and Ong, perhaps still reeling from his earlier error, proceeded to charge his first putt eight feet past and then lipped out with the comebacker. With little more than a tap-in for victory, Liu made no mistake to seal his first win in Hong Kong. “I was so focused on my own game that I HKGOLFER.COM


didn’t really know the state of the tournament, which probably helped me,” said Liu, who captured the Singapore Amateur title in August. “I feel sorry for Marc, who played so well for 17 holes today, but I was proud of the way I never gave up. It’s very satisfying to win.” Liu, who became the first winner from Chinese Taipei since Chan Shih-chang in 2004, was more than delighted with not only the fine old trophy, which dates from 1931, but also the news that he’ll be returning to Fanling next month to tee it up at the European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned Hong Kong Open. “I’m really looking forward to playing here again – but this time with the pros,” said Liu. “I’ve taken part in a few smaller professional events back in Taiwan but the Hong Kong Open will be much bigger. It’ll be a great experience I’m sure.” Joining Williams in the top-10 for Hong Kong were Shinichi Mizuno, who tied for fifth, Ian Chiang (tied 10th) and Humphrey Wong (tied 10th), whose fine 67 in the second round was bookended by scores of 81 and 75. HKGOLFER.COM

2013 Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship Results 1 2 3 4 5= 7 8= 10= 12= 17= 19=

Liu Yu-jui Marc Ong Jerome Ng Doug Williams Huang Chi Shinichi Mizuno Alastair Hall Jack Tsai Edgar Oh Ian Chiang Humphrey Wong Ryan McKinnia Thomas Tan Jeffrey Wang Lin Chang-heng Leon Philip D’Souza Tim Orgill Tang Kei-hin Xiao Jieyu

TPE SIN SIN HKG TPE HKG ENG TPE SIN HKG HKG UK SIN HKG TPE HKG HKG HKG MAC

73 67 71 70 69 73 71 70 72 73 71 70 76 69 75 75 69 75 75 72 74 74 77 71 78 72 72 75 74 74 81 67 75 76 75 73 75 76 73 76 73 75 76 73 75 80 74 71 74 78 73 77 75 74 74 75 77

211 212 213 214 219 219 221 222 222 223 223 224 224 224 224 225 225 226 226

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PLAYER PROFILE

Michael Regan Wong

Daniel Wong

Sixteen year-old Michael has enjoyed a solid season at both home and abroad and is one of several juniors hoping to play their way into the full Hong Kong international side next year. The Sout h Isla nd School st udent started 2013 in good order by firing an accomplished final round of 71 at the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship over the Lunar New Year holiday to finish the event inside the top 10, a result that secured him fourth place in the 2012/2013 HKGA Order of Merit. Two months on and Michael carded successive rounds of 76 at the Hong Kong Junior Close at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club to force a playoff with Justin Lok, which he would end up losing on the first hole. Undeterred, Michael would go on to earn a berth at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final after winning his age division at the qualifying event at Kau Sai Chau after rounds of 76 and 74. In between these two performances, Michael flew the flag superbly for Hong Kong by becoming the first local player in a number of years to make the cut in the Boys’ 1517 age division at the prestigious Callaway Junior World Championships in California. Understandably, given his consistent form, a first-round 80 at the Hong Kong Open Amateur at Fanling in September was a disappointment, but he roared back with back-to-back rounds of 72 to end up finishing as one of the top-three Hong Kong players in a share of 12th. 2014, you have to think, looks set to be a banner year for Michael.

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PLAYER FEATURE | PETER UIHLEIN

Making

it in

Europe

Lewine Mair talks to the young American Peter Uihlein, who unlike his fellow countrymen at least, is following a road less travelled.

U

AFP

nusually, there was no sign of any of the big five of Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews in September. Ernie Els shone to a degree but, other than the winner, David Howell, no one did more to make the event go with a swing than America’s Peter Uihlein. The 24-year-old narrowly missed out on recording the first 59 in European Tour history when he returned a 60 at Kingsbarns on the Friday, while he only lost out to Howell at the second extra hole of a sudden-death play-off. This son of Wally Uihlein, the CEO of Acushnet, has everything it takes – the looks, the grace and the game – to make him a crowd favourite. Again, the story he has to tell comes as a welcome antidote to the usual tale of Europeans defecting to the States. When, at the end of 2011, he failed to win his PGA Tour card, Uihlein took heed of Butch Harmon and Chubby Chandler, respectively his coach and his manager, when they concurred with his father's view that he should head for Europe. Peter had no doubt that they were right, though he will tell you that he was swayed rather more by the thought that he would be following the same path as his great hero, Adam Scott.

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“As far as I’m concerned,” said Uihlein, “Adam always does the right thing. He’s definitely a world player and that’s what I want to be.” (He has stressed as much many times since.) Though he did not play well enough in the European Tour’s qualifying system to pick up a full European Tour card, Uihlein started out on the secondary Challenge Tour where he finished his first year in 26th place. Not too many of the Challenge Tour habitués knew the first thing about the American or his father when first he appeared on their patch. England’s Simon Wakefield, who was demoted to the Challenge Tour for 2012, befriended the newcomer but he knew nothing of the young man’s background. “Peter,” said a bemused Wakefield earlier this year, “never mentioned anything about it. He was just a regular chap who mixed in with the rest of us no bother …”

When, at the end of 2011, he failed to win his PGA Tour card, Uihlein took heed of Butch Harmon and Chubby Chandler, respectively his coach and his manager, when they concurred with his father's view that he should head for Europe. Not, mind you, that Uihlein has ever had any problems in handling questions about his family when they do arise. There were plenty of occasions during his amateur days when friends would ask for a handful of golf balls. Peter, in turn, would issue a cheerful reminder that it was his dad who worked for Acushnet and not him. Even now, he enjoys pointing to how he has had the same set of blades in his bag since 2002. When Uihlein’s fellow players became aware of the situation, there were plenty who wondered why he had decided to join them when he could almost certainly have established himself on the PGA Tour via invitations. Not only would he have merited a few starts on the basis of the 2010 US Amateur Championship he won HKGOLFER.COM


Uihlein has been consistency personified in the latter half of the season, racking up a slew of top 10s to comfortably make the elite field at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai

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There were plenty of occasions during his amateur days when friends would ask for a handful of golf balls. Peter, in turn, would issue a cheerful reminder that it was his dad who worked for Acushnet and not him.

AFP

Clockwise from top: Uihlein is clearly enjoying his time in Europe and has won a new bunch of admirers and friends since crossing the Atlantic at the beginning of the year; Uihlein in action at the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews; like Rickie Fowler, Uihlein often wears the tangerine colours of his alma mater, Oklahoma State, on the course 66

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on his 21st birthday, but his family background would surely have come in handy. Peter, however, makes it abundantly clear that he has no interest in short cuts. “All of the opportunities I’ve had in golf have been earned,” he says with understandable pride. “None of them have been based on my last name.” Uihlein admitted that he found the Challenge Tour and its travels a tad uncomfortable at the start – and never more so than when he and Brooks Koepka, the American player sharing in his European dream, called for a taxi at an event in Kenya. The driver ignored their instructions and took them on a long and scary journey which, mercifully, would end without incident. That apart, the pair had a ball, visiting virtually every country under the sun. In South Africa’s Mossel Bay, they spent a couple of hours watching great white sharks from a sea cage; in Korea, at the start of this year, Uihlein had to pinch himself to believe that they were playing just 20 miles away from the North Korean border at a time when no one knew quite what to expect next from Kim Jong-un. The changes in temperature probably threw the two-time Walker Cup player as much as anything. In growing up in Florida, where he spent part of his schooldays at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Bradenton before heading for Oklahoma State University, he had HKGOLFER.COM


hated playing in a sweater. So much so that on those occasions when he did wear one, he would go through the rigmarole of taking it off to play a shot. In Europe, in contrast, there have been times when he has been cocooned in four layers. It was in May of this year that Uihlein won the Madeira Islands Open. It was a full European Tour event, but one which the household names chose to ignore. As a result he qualified automatically for the main tour, and though few expected too much of him among the big guns at the following week’s BMW PGA Championship, he found a liking for Wentworth and finished in a share of 12th. People were surprised at the easy assurance demonstrated by the young American when he was playing alongside the stars. There was the assumption that he must have been fraternising with top sportsmen since he was a toddler but, when questioned on that score, he was quick to explain that that did not apply. “Brad Faxon has been a long-time friend of my father’s but he was really the only ‘famous’ golfer with whom I had any contact before coming to Europe,” came his reply. On a slightly different tack, he could remember the excitement on that day – it was in 1999 and he was still only 10 years HKGOLFER.COM

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There was plenty of talk as to how the number of Americans going through the European Qualifying School system was largely down to “the Uihlein effect”. Heaven knows how many will survive to tee up at the start of the 2014 season but, even if they should come in force, they can be assured of a warm welcome.

AFP

In 2010, on the occasion of his 21st birthday, Uihlein defeated David Chung 4 & 2 in the 36-hole final of the US Amateur Championship at Chambers Bay. He would finish the year as the number one-ranked amateur in the world 68

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of age – when the then teenage Sergio Garcia turned up at the family home while playing in the Ryder Cup at Brookline. Since Wentworth, Uihlein has notched a couple of top-10 finishes in addition to a second place in each of the Wales Open and the aforementioned Dunhill Links and has all but secured his place at the end-of-season DP World Tour Championship in Dubai this month. The extent to which Uihlein is all about being the best golfer he can be shone through loud and clear on the East Lothian coast. On the Monday of tournament week, he posted the following note on Twitter: “Kingsbarns is one of my favourite courses in the world”. Four days later and he had an eagle putt to do a Jim Furyk and hand in a 59. The putt slipped by on the right but his 60 was still something to celebrate. Gary Player was among the first to send a congratulatory text. Uihlein had started the last round at St Andrews with a two-stroke lead. He had returned a 65 over the Old Course the day before and, it was not too long before he was in birdie mode again. But Howell was making even more and, where the 40-year-old kept churning them out, Uihlein missed a series of makeable putts down the stretch. None was more agonising than the 15-footer which got away on the final green. Though Uihlein was fully prepared to talk to the European Tour’s press officer after he had lost, this normally most erudite of men – he would not be out of place alongside his father in the boardroom – struggled to say a thing. You could tell, from the faraway look in his eyes that his mind was swimming with those missed putts. He just about managed a “Hats off to David!” before muttering something about Howell having holed the more putts. That, though, was the extent of it. A couple of hours later and he gave a slightly more detailed summation on Twitter: “Congratulations to ‘Howeller’, one of the classiest guys out there. Gutted I didn’t win but it was a great week at the home of golf.” At the time of writing, there was plenty of talk as to how the number of Americans going through the European Qualifying School system was largely down to “the Uihlein effect”. Heaven knows how many will survive to tee up at the start of the 2014 season but, even if they should come in force, they can be assured of a warm welcome. Certainly, no one will equate them with those overseas players who drop in on the UK solely to play in The Open or to pick up a useful dollop of appearance money.  Uihlein and those like him see the European Tour as a great place to be. HKGOLFER.COM


MACAU OPEN | REVIEW

Hitting the Jackpot

Long-hitting Australian Scott Hend overcomes Ernie Els – and the tricky course at the Macau Golf and Country Club – to claim his third Asian Tour victory of the year.

David Paul Morris

Scott Hend (above) hits his third shot at the 18th during the third round to set up a birdie; the Australian (right) celebrates with the silverware after comeback from a desperate start with three brilliant rounds

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A

ustralian Scott Hend hit the jackpot for the third time this season as he cruised to a commanding three-stroke victory at the Venetian Macau Open in mid-October. With an overnight four-shot lead, the big-hitting Hend comfortably held off the chasing pack at the Macau Golf and Country Club, closing with a four-under-par 67 to for a 16-under-par 268 total to add to his Asian Tour triumphs in Chiangmai and Taipei this year. India’s Anirban Lahiri matched the course record with a blistering nine-under-par 62 for second place while four-time Major champion Ernie Els of South Africa shared third with Elmer Salvador of the Philippines after a 67 and 66 respectively in the US$800,000 Asian Tour tournament. HKGOLFER.COM


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Hend, who picked up the champion’s cheque of US$144,000, was delighted to extend his magical season after opening his week with a dismal 74 and then going head-to-head with Els over three rounds.

David Paul Morris

Clockwise from top: Ernie Els hits his drive on the 15th; Hend smacks one down the closing par-5 18th; Els, alongside fellow players Thongchai Jaidee, Zhang Lian-wei and defending champion Gaganjeet Bhullar join the sponsors at the gala dinner 72

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Hend, who picked up the champion’s cheque of US$144,000, was delighted to extend his magical season after opening his week with a dismal 74 and then going head-to-head with Els over three rounds. “It’s important to win again this week, for the third time, it feels good. Thursday was a difficult day, mentally and physically. Then on Friday and Saturday, I started holing putts which I haven’t done the whole year even when I won a couple of weeks ago. I’ve holed my fair share this week,” said Hend, who averaged just 26.5 putts for the tournament. “Ernie is one of the best players in the world. I had my own goals and targets and I achieved my goal which was to stay patient, patient, patient. In the first four holes, I didn’t make any birdie. Ernie started to put some heat on me and all of the sudden, I hit a great shot on the fifth for birdie there. It was all about being patient. “Three wins in a year is definitely the best golf of my career. Who knows what’s going to happen in the next few months. There are some big tournaments coming up and it’ll be nice to perform well in those and be competitive. The year hasn’t finished yet,” added the Aussie, whose victory was his fifth on the Asian Tour. Els, who turned 44 the Thursday of the event, applied the pressure early on with birdies on two, three and six but a bogey on nine halted his momentum. “It was very frustrating. I started off nicely again and then made a soft bogey on nine. I couldn’t afford any mistakes. I needed HKGOLFER.COM


to keep the pedal on the metal but I made that mistake and I didn’t play the back nine all that well either. Tough weekend but I think Scott was very strong,” said Els, who was making his debut at the Venetian Macau Open. “I had four shots to make up and four shots is a lot to make up especially with the caliber of Scott. He deserved to win.” The 26-year-old Lahiri charged up the leaderboard to finish second, thanks to one eagle and eight birdies as he tied countryman Amandeep Johl’s course mark set in 2004. The Indian star, who has three wins on the Asian Tour, got to within two shots of Hend during the final round but was still delighted with his strong finish. “I got off to a great start, holed a 30-footer on the first hole. I played really good right from the start. Yesterday was a similar story but I ran into some trouble on the back nine. I’m glad I kept my cool and played solid in the end,” said Lahiri. “I changed my driver from yesterday. I’ve had major issues controlling the golf ball but I changed my driver and it gave me confidence having a club that I could control better. Hit it close on two to make eagle and kept hitting it close.” Salvador was delighted to tie Els for third place for his best outing of the year, with a cheque of US$45,200 securing his Tour card for 2014 after starting the week in 73rd place on the Order of Merit.   “I saved many pars and had a good putting day. My driving was a little wild but my irons helped me save a lot of pars. I’m happy that I’ve HKGOLFER.COM

saved my card for next year. It feels good to be tied with Ernie. He’s a superstar,” said the Filipino. Hong Kong’s Timothy Tang opened up with back-to-back rounds of 72 to make the cut before stumbling over the weekend to finish in 69th place. 2014 Venetian Macau Open Results 1

Scott Hend

AUS

74 64 63 67

268

US$144,000

2

Arnibarn Lahiri

IND

73 68 68 62

271

US$88,000

3=

Elmer Salvador

PHL

70 66 70 66

272

US$45,200

Ernie Els

RSA

71 65 69 67

272

US$45,200

5=

Antonio Lascuna

PHL

71 68 71 65

275

US$29,720

Daisuke Kataoka

JPN

71 66 69 69

275

US$29,720

7=

Adam Groom

AUS

70 69 71 66

276

US$21,200

Siddukur

BAN

69 66 70 71

276

US$21,200

9=

Steve Lewton

ENG

72 67 72 66

277

US$16,200

Baek Seuk-hyun

KOR

71 65 70 71

277

US$16,200

11=

Liang Wen-chong

CHN

71 72 66 69

278

US$13,480

Rahil Gangee

IND

73 67 66 72

278

US$11,586

13= Arjun Atwal

IND

72 69 68 70

279

US$11,586

Hung Chein-yao

TPE

70 71 68 70

278

US$11,586

Kalle Samooja

16

Thongchai Jaidee

FIN

68 71 69 71

278

US$11,586

THA

73 67 71 69

280

US$10,600

17= Prom Meesawat

THA

69 71 75 66

281

US$9,328

Dodge Kemmer

USA

75 67 68 70

281

US$9,328

Javi Colomo

ESP

75 66 69 71

281

US$9,328

Zhang Lian-wei

CHN

69 74 67 71

281

US$9,328

Scott Barr

AUS

68 69 70 74

281

US$9,328

HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

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SPECIAL FEATURE

ROLEX AND GOLF NO OTHER LUXURY WATCH BRAND HAS AN AFFINITY WITH THE GAME QUITE LIKE ROLEX, WHOSE SUPPORT OVER THE PAST 46 YEARS HAS HELPED REVOLUTIONIZE SPONSORSHIP IN SPORT. .

I

n 1967, Arnold Palmer became a Rolex The brand is also the official partner of the USGA, ambassador, marking the start of the brand’s the European Tour and title sponsors the world association with golf. Today, the Rolex roster rankings in the women’s game. of golf sponsorships has In recent times Rolex has grown to include the been very much behind the The link with golf names of some of the drive to bring golf into China in China has been game’s best known players. Despite the long heritage extended to the WGC- and traditions associated with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Golf in West, just over 25 years HSBC Champions, Phil Mickleson, Adam Scott, ago, the sport was practically which was completed non-existent in China. In 2010 Martin Kaymer and Annika earlier this month and Rolex signed a partnership Sorenstam are among the proud athletes to wear one of agreement with the China Golf which Rolex features the brand’s luxury timepieces Association and sponsored as an official sponsor. the first official translation of away from the fairways. The relationship has also the Rules of Golf into Chinese. grown to include major golfing competition It marked a determination by the brand, not just and for 30 years Rolex has been the sponsor and to be associated with sport but to further its reach official timekeeper of the Open Championship. into what is the world’s fastest growing nation.

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This link with China has been extended to the WGC-HSBC Champions, which was completed earlier this month and which Rolex features as an official sponsor. The tournament started life in 2005 when England’s David Howell held off the challenge of Tiger Woods at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai, the venue for all but one of the tournaments, to be crowned the inaugural champion. The following year, Korea’s YE Yang, who would later become the first Asian winner of a major championship, emerged victorious (again with Woods in the field) with a brilliant display of putting. 2007 saw Phil Mickelson – a frequent visitor to the tournament – claim the title for the first time, while Spain’s Sergio Garcia held his nerve 12 months later for success. Mickelson became the first two-time winner of the championship in 2009, the first year the event was accorded World Golf Championship status, HKGOLFER.COM

after being pushed all the way by Ernie Els, while Italy’s Francesco Molinari picked up the biggest cheque of his career with a gutsy win in 2010. The last two tournaments have been no less thrilling, with Martin Kaymer showing the kind of form that earned him the US PGA Championship in his 2011 victory, while colourful Englishman Ian Poulter, the hero of the European team’s Ryder Cup success of 2012, put on a fantastic display to win the title at Mission Hills 12 months ago.

Clockwise from opposite: Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, has been a long-time Rolex testimonee; the brand’s support for the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in China has grown from strength to strength HK GOLFER・NOV 2013

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GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide

Paul Marshall

Portmarnock pure: One of Ireland’s premier golf resorts lies within easy reach of the capital, Dublin 76

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Emerald Greens The exceedingly well-travelled Andrew Marshall compiles his list of the best links courses that Irish golf has to offer.

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olf, especially links golf, comes in no greater dramatic abundance than the Emerald Isle. Around the coastline the courses are spread like gems created by nature and linked together to form a necklace of beauty. Finding your way to these courses is all part of the adventure; travelling through a wild landscape of brooding mountains, past gurgling streams and ancient castles perched on top of windswept headlands. You may make a few wrong turns on the twisting and narrow roads, or have to wait for a flock of sheep to cross the road, but it is time well spent in anticipation.

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County Antrim

County Clare

Situated on the North Antrim coast, established in 1888 and included in every list of the world’s top 100 golf courses, the Dunluce Links at Portrush has long been regarded as a great test of a golfer’s skill, and had it been more suitable in logistical respects for staging a modern Open Championship it would almost certainly have held more than the one it did in 1951, when England’s Max Faulkner lifted the trophy. Calls for the course’s return to the Open Championship rota heightened following the 2012 Irish Open which was staged over this quite brilliant Harry Colt design. royalportrushgolfclub.com

Standing on the elevated tee of Doonbeg’s par5 first, eyes are drawn down a fairway that bucks and plunges like a raging river towards a large green protected on three sides by soaring dunes. The opening hole is a memorable start to this classic links, one that was designed by Greg Norman only a decade ago, but looks and plays like it’s been part of the landscape for over a hundred. doonbeglodge.com

Royal Portrush

Paul Marshall

Clockwise from top: Caddies at Doonbeg; the closing hole at the Greg Normandesigned Doonbeg; one of the finest anywhere – Royal County Down; a tricky test awaits at Portmarnock 78

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Doonbeg

Lahinch

A legend among links courses this tough west coast gem boasts a character all of its own. It’s a wonderfully quirky mix of dunes, rollercoaster greens and blind shots. This is perfectly illustrated by the short par-3 sixth, known as the “The Dell”, where the green is wedged between two hills. It’s only 140 yards in length, but it requires a blind tee shot over one of the hills to the putting surface all but hidden on the other side. lahinchgolf.com HKGOLFER.COM


County Cork Old Head

Built on a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Old Head has developed into one of the planet’s must plays. With the ever-changing sea breezes, and over 7,200 yards in length from the tips, the course provides a challenge for players of all levels. Nine of the holes play along the cliff tops, and all 18 provide stunning ocean views. oldhead.com

County Donegal Ballyliffin Golf Club

This firm favourite of Nick Faldo comprises a remarkable 36 holes that meander through the most beguiling of linksland, with rocky outcrops, perfect greens and enchanting views of the coast. The Old Links, which was originally designed by Tom Craddock and renovated by Faldo in 2004, undulates in the glory of its natural terrain, while the new Glashedy Links (designed by Pat Ruddy) is fashioned around the incredible dunes, and is notorious for its peatrevetted bunkers and its challenging open stretch. ballyliffingolfclub.com

County Down

Royal County Down

Royal County Down – the very words are enough to cause you to run back to the clubhouse shaking with fear. Laid out beneath the brooding Mountains of Mourne and enjoying a magnificent setting along the shores of Dundrum Bay, this superb track is never out of any magazine’s list of the world’s top 10 courses. Designed by Old Tom Morris for the princely sum of four guineas back in 1889, Royal County Down is an examination for any player, and with so many blind shots, the main challenge is to find a line from the tee and then hit it straight. Miss the fairways and you are severely punished as a minefield of bunkers, gorse and rough awaits. royalcountydown.org

County Dublin Portmarnock

Portmarnock is recognised as one of Ireland’s premier golf resorts with a course that combines all the charms of a traditional links layout with the challenge of the modern game. The gently undulating, luxuriously sprung fairways that to large and fast greens are punctuated by 98 strategically placed bunkers. Simply majestic. portmarnockgolf.com HKGOLFER.COM

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County Kerry Tralee

Representing the first European design of Arnold Palmer, Tralee Golf Club is a very fine links, and although only built in 1980 it has gained a reputation alongside that of the big guns of Ireland’s west coast. The par-5 second is a standout hole – a sweeping dogleg right with panoramic views of the entire course with the Dingle peninsula on the horizon. traleegolfclub.com

Waterville

Paul Marshall; David Cannon / Getty Images (Waterville)

Clockwise from top: Crashing waves await those fortunate enough to make it to Tralee, an Arnold Palmer design; an aerial view of magnificent Ballybunion; enormous dunes frame many of the holes at charming Carne; the wonderfully prepared European Club in County Wicklow; another aerial, this time at Waterville, in County Kerry

Golf here is a special experience – the beauty of classic links land surrounded by the sea, yet forever challenged and shaped by the elements. Over 100-years old, Waterville is rated among the top five courses in Ireland and the top 20 links courses in the world. Over the years, many great champions have made the pilgrimage to these mystical links to prepare for the Open Championship. “Everything about Waterville is truly spectacular,” said internationally acclaimed golf architect Tom Fazio, who was commissioned to update the Eddie Hackett masterpiece a decade ago. “The setting is one of the best I have seen for golf.” watervillegolflinks.ie

Ballybunion “Ballybunion is a course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build 80

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courses,” says links aficionado Tom Watson who warmed up on Tom Simpson’s venerable design for each of his five Open Championship victories. The Old course, which is complemented by another 18 – the excellent Cashen Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr – is a classic and has remained virtually unchanged since 1893. Forget the lob wedge and use your imagination: bump-and-runs and other creative shot making is the name of the game at Ballybunion. ballybuniongolfclub.ie

County Mayo Carne Golf Links

The special charm of Carne comes from its remote location and the journey required getting there – it’s a four-hour trip from Dublin airport some 300km away. The signature hole is the par-3 16th that drops steeply from an elevated tee to a green encircled by some of the biggest dunes in the game. The tough par-4 17th and the par-5 18th make for a memorable finale to this wild and rugged layout that leaves a lasting impression on all that play it. carnegolflinks.com

County Sligo

Enniscrone Golf Club Mondays at Enniscrone Golf Club are no ordinary Mondays. Believe it or not, they are reserved for Priests’ Day, with priests coming from all over Mayo and Sligo to compete. Once the men of God have gone out, you’ll have the opportunity to worship the course yourself. One hole that will etch itself in the memory is the mountainous 350yard par 4 13th, called “The Burrows”, which is like teeing off the summit of Everest, with a green nestled down at base camp below. If you’re a golfer who is religious about pure links, make sure to include it on your Irish golf adventure. enniscronegolf.com

County Wicklow The European Club

Crafted out of tumbling dunes by writer-turnedarchitect Pat Ruddy, this is seaside golf at its very best with monstrous dunes, fast-running fairways, greens that invite the pitch-and-run approach and dramatic views of the Irish Sea. Look out for the par-4 seventh, which has been voted one of the world’s greatest 100 golf holes. Tiger Woods still holds the course record of 67, shot on a preOpen Championship warm-up in 2002. On the tees of several of the par-4s he said: “Is this a par-5? Wow … what great optical illusions!” theeuropeanclub.com HKGOLFER.COM

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TRAVEL | SPECIAL

BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT ENJOY THE FINEST THAT SCOTLAND'S SCENIC AND HISTORIC ABERDEENSHIRE REGION HAS TO OFFER THROUGH LUXURY GOLF TRAVEL EXPERTS STIRLING&STIRLING.

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The Donald Trump-owned Trump International Golf Links is as stout a challenge as you can find in the British Isles HKGOLFER.COM

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F Clockwise from top: Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Scottish estate; the sixth hole at Cruden Bay; a bedroom at MacLeod House; a quick tasting 84

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rom its dramatically imposing coastline to its picturesque villages and rolling hills, Aberdeenshire boasts some of the finest scenery that Scotland has to offer. And then, of course, there are innumerable golf links to be discovered in the land where the game was invented. Scotland’s cultural heritage is ever more accessible, and it would be possible to spend several months in the Highlands and still not visit every castle, notable garden, historic site and whisky distillery. Golf connoisseurs had long known the area above Europe’s oil capital, the city of Aberdeen, for a pair of Old World links – Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay golf clubs. Now thanks to the Trump organization, it’s development team and British architect Martin Hawtree, the Trump International Golf Links is making the headlines. Scot and former Ryder Cup Captain, Colin Montgomerie, went as far to say “it’s so far one of the best – if not the best – links courses I’ve ever played.” It is not often that a new course makes an impression in a country as blessed with quality courses as Scotland, but this new addition to the Scottish golfing scene is already being talked of as a

possible Ryder Cup and even Open Championship venue. At nearly 7,500 yards, the course is long and tricky, not least thanks to nearly 100 bunkers, including 18 on the 18th hole alone. It could well be the new king of all courses in Scotland. The Trump International Golf Links has certainly brought more attention to this very special corner of the home of golf. It’s neighbours, Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay, are now deservedly sharing some of the spotlight. Royal Aberdeen runs essentially out and back along the North Sea shore at Balgownie. After 126 years, the world’s sixth oldest golf club will host the European Tour’s Scottish Open in 2014. The pros will find that there is no finer outward nine in the game as its cuts its way through some wonderful dunes. The inland nine returns south and is on high ground so it’s more a battle with the elements. The five-minute rule to find your ball was made here in 1783 so maintain your pace! A traditional old Scottish links, it is well bunkered with undulating fairways. It has an excellent balance of holes, tricky par-3s, strong par-4s, and two classic par-5s, with the eighth protected by nine bunkers. The everchanging wind, tight-protected greens and a HKGOLFER.COM


magnificent finish makes Royal Aberdeen a test for the very best. Cruden Bay is a true links course. This is a spectacular track and a very challenging one too. For one thing, across much of the course are tall dunes that shape the holes and dictate much of the play. Tom Simpson modified the original 1899 Old Tom Morris layout in 1926. Simpson cunningly took a very good, traditional links course and developed it into a true test for the thinking golfer. Blind shots, a burn that winds throughout, vast sand dunes, the beach and a clever figure of eight configuration that has the wind coming in from the North Sea in ever-changing directions only adds to the challenge. With the soaring dunes, the views of the beach, and Slains Castle perched high above, there's nothing quite like Cruden Bay. The Castle, by the way, was the inspiration for Bram Stoker when he wrote Dracula. Aberdeen, the country's third largest city, is the perfect location for sampling some of Scotland’s finest culture and locally produced food, with the two bordering rivers of Don and Dee creating a beautiful backdrop to city life. It is a lively, cosmopolitan city fuelled by the oil industry and two universities. It is constantly buzzing with enough bistros, cafés, bars and nightspots to serve the thriving population. The city is also the gateway to Scotland’s largest National Park, a UNESCO Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area is the perfect destination for a relaxing holiday, with unique wildlife, such as red deer stags and golden eagles adding to the air of tranquility. It is an excellent location for outdoor activities such as walking, biking and wildlife watching. It is not that unusual for inspiring monarchs to leave their mark on the land where they once ruled. Scottish place names with royal connections HKGOLFER.COM

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McLeod House (top), home to an assortment of Scotland’s finest accommodations; pipers on display (opposite) 86

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abound, and from the Picts, Scots and Vikings right through to modern times different rulers have brought their regal names to the areas of land where they once held sway. This is particularly true of this area. It is now simply known as Royal Deeside and it is still frequented regularly by the present queen and royal family. Queen Victoria fell in love with the area in 1852 – she called it her “dear Highland paradise” – and you only need to spend a short time in the valley to understand why. One of the monarch’s favorite summertime retreats is Balmoral, where the Royal Family and their guests continue enjoy field sports, angling and the great outdoors. The nearby towns of Ballater and Braemar are also full of quaint little shops stamped with ‘By Royal Appointment’ and coat of arms. Each year Braemar invites people from all over the world 'to come over the hills' to attend the Braemar Gathering and Highland Games. The Gathering is always held on the first Saturday in September and it is perhaps the most famous and respected Highland Games anywhere. It features the finest Pipe Bands, Highland dancers and athletes in a beautiful setting surrounded by hills. The patron of the Gathering is Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family regularly attend the games. The region also boasts more than 350 castles. Whether you prefer the Disney kind or the gothic kind there is a castle for you here. Walt Disney is said

to have based the famous turrets of the Fantasyland Castle on Craigievar by Alford. Most of the castles have spectacular gardens, too. It makes for a fascinating castle trail. In his 1880 poem, The Scotsman’s Return from Abroad, Robert Louis Stevenson declared whisky “the king o’ drinks” and connoisseurs of fine spirits agree. There is no better place to experience the world’s finest whiskies – and the stories behind them – than Scotland. If whisky is your passion you’ve come to the right place to indulge in it. Aberdeenshire is home to more working distilleries than the rest of Scotland’s put together. ‘Royal’ Lochnagar appointed, by Royal warrant, and ‘Distiller to Her Majesty’ is the perfect place to discover how Scotch whisky is made. Watch as the distillery‘s team tends to the traditional mashtun, gleaming copper stills and fill casks at the traditional distillery, which retains much of its original charm. The Royal connection has meant a string of famous visitors to the distillery, many of them British prime ministers taking an hour or so off between meetings with the monarch of the day at Balmoral. The annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, held 2-6 May in 2014 May, is a fabulous opportunity to celebrate the food, culture, history, and of course the spirits that have shaped the way of life here. The best months for a visit are May through September, with the long summer evenings of late June and early July being especially memorable. HKGOLFER.COM


GOLF ITINERARY

NON-GOLF ITINERARY

WEDNESDAY 4 to MONDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2014

WEDNESDAY 4 to MONDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2014

DAY 1. WEDNESDAY: Arrive in Scotland and be met by your concierge. Travel to Trump International Links in Aberdeen. Check into the sensational MacLeod House. Relax before the Welcome Dinner.

DAY 1. WEDNESDAY: Arrive in Scotland and be met by your concierge. Transfer to the sensational MacLeod House. After an informal brunch, take a stunning drive to the amazing Duff House to see one of Scotland’s greatest art collections. Enjoy afternoon tea at leisure. Return to MacLeod House to relax before Welcome Dinner.

DAY 2. THURSDAY: Tee-off at Royal Aberdeen, host of the 2014 Scottish Open. Afterwards, enjoy a spectacular private falconry experience. This evening, chefs will prepare a BBQ with the best of Scottish produce. DAY 3. FRIDAY: Travel up the coast to the scenic Cruden Bay Golf Club. In the afternoon enjoy a Land Rover Safari at Glen Tanar Estate. DAY 4. SATURDAY: Journey to the picturesque town of Ballater, situated on the edge of Her Majesty The Queen’s Balmoral Castle estate. Visit Royal Lochnager distillery to enjoy a whisky experience. Soak up the outstanding scenery of the Cairngorms National Park before experiencing the Royal Breamer Highland Gathering attended by Her Majesty The Queen. Dine at The Chester Hotel, the finest restaurant in Aberdeen.

DAY 2. THURSDAY: Before a tour of the famous Huntly Castle, your concierge will escort you round the ancient city of Aberdeen, with its university, cathedral and historic harbour. Enjoy a champagne lunch before browsing boutiques in the city. This evening chefs will prepare a BBQ with the best of Scottish produce. DAY 3. FRIDAY: Whether a novice or experienced horse rider, you have the opportunity to gallop on the beach, before a gourmet picnic lunch in a secluded spot. Head to Glen Tanar estate for a Land Rover Safari. DAY 4. SATURDAY: Journey to the picturesque town of Ballater, situated on the edge of Her Majesty The Queen’s Balmoral Castle estate. Visit Royal Lochnagar distillery to enjoy a whisky experience. Soak up the outstanding scenery of the Cairngorms National Park before experiencing the Royal Breamar Highland Gathering attended by Her Majesty The Queen. Dine at The Chester Hotel, the finest restaurant in Aberdeen.

DAY 5. SUNDAY: After a relaxing morning, return to play Trump International Links once more. This evening, Fyvie Castle is the setting for a sensational Farewell Gala Dinner, and a traditional ceilidh.

DAY 5. SUNDAY: A professional guide will accompany you on a beautiful walk to the beaches of the Balmedie Estate. A lunch will be available at the clubhouse. This evening Fyvie Castle is the setting for a sensational Farewell Gala Dinner.

DAY 6. MONDAY: Luxury transport available for airport transfers.

DAY 6. MONDAY: Luxury transport available for airport transfers.

HOW TO BOOK Stirling&Stirling Scottish golf's luxury travel experts invite you to experience the very best of hte country – world-class golf, ancient castles, vibrant cities, romantic Highlands and Michelinstarred cuisine. Bookings for this itinerary, which can be extended to include St Andrews, should be booked by 31 December. For further information please contact scotland@hkgolfer.com. Readers are entitled to an exclusive discount offer of 10 per cent.

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 32

Clockwise from top: the Patrimony Contemporanie Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 from Vacheron Constantin; “Le Petit Prince”, a special IWC version of its popular Big Pilot’s Watch; the Emperador Coussin Minute Repeater XL Ultra Thin from Piaget; the Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon from Baume & Mercier; the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst from A. Lange & Sohne 88

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star himself. The selfwinding chronograph comes blue dial. The piece is the first of IWC’s Big Pilot’s in 18k rose gold, offset with a titanium bezel. The watches to feature the classic moon phase display, and this one in particular comes grey theme is a first for the Royal with the Little Prince gazing into Oak, and is echoed in the meganight sky. This special edition tapisserie dial and counters, the Piaget highlighted the in red gold is limited to 270 outsized, rubber-clad pushers pieces. and the hand-stitched crocodile its jewellery and The Pilot’s Watch Mark XXVII strap (which James insisted on). watchmaking Edition “Le Petit Prince” also The watch comes with James’ comes with a midnight blue signature engraved in blue on expertise with dial, but with a simpler display of the sapphire caseback. the Emperador hours, minutes, central hacking IWC presented two new seconds and date. As part of additions to its Pilot’s line, Coussin Minute the theme, the end of the celebrating the 70th anniversary seconds hand features a star, of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Repeater XL. representing the Little Prince’s The Little Prince. The Big Pilot’s home. Engraved at the back of Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” is equipped with the in-house the 41mm stainless steel case is the Little Prince manufactured 51613 movement with Pellaton on top of his asteroid, plus the series number. automatic winding and 7-day power reserve. Only 1,000 pieces will be produced. Montblanc introduced a new model in the Star A commanding cockpit design and perpetual calendar display is set beautifully into a midnight Special Edition Carpe Diem series, identified by a HKGOLFER.COM


red second hand meant to symbolise the theme of “seizing the day.” A handsome addition to its 15-year-old Montblanc Star collection, the Star Special Edition Carpe Diem Quantieme Complet (or full calendar) comes in 42mm stainless steel. The dial displays the date, day, month and lunar phases legibly, while the centre is decorated with guilloche. Piaget highlighte d it s jeweller y and watchmaking expertise with the Emperador Coussin Minute Repeater XL Ultra Thin Minute Repeater, fully set in baguette diamonds. Powered by the in-house calibre 1290P, which took a team of six engineers three years to produce, the watch holds the record for the thinnest automatic minute repeater movement at 4.8mm, and watch at 9.4mm. The 48mm case comprises 69 parts, hollowed out as much as possible to achieve the best resonance for the transmission of sound. The open-worked dial allows a generous view of the intricate mechanism, with the hour markers crafted from 18k white gold. HKGOLFER.COM

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The gem-set Duometre Spherotourbillon Blue (top left) was the highlight of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s exhibition; Richard Mille celebrated Asia in the form of the RM2601 (top left), featuring a panda eating bamboo

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A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, JaegerLeCoultre, Montblanc, Officine Panerai, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, and Van Cleef & Arpels also brought unique pieces and a selection from their 2013 collections. In the realm of tourbillons, Baume & Mercier presented the Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon, a limited edition of 30 pieces that comes in a 45.5mm 18k red gold case. The piece pays tribute to the year 1892, when Baume & Mercier developed and produced a keyless winding watch equipped with a tourbillon movement that was ahead of its time. Meanwhile, A. Lange & Söhne showcased the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst, which brings together a tourbillon, perpetual calendar and big date in an intricately decorated Lange 1 model. Fitted with the automatic calibre L082.1 with 50hour power reserve, the watch includes subsidiary seconds, day/night indication and a moon-phase display. The white gold dial is hand-engraved with relief and tremblage techniques.

A gem-set Duometre Spherotourbillon Blue was the highlight of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s exhibition, featuring baguette-cut diamonds on the white gold case. The manual-winding watch comes with a 50-hour power reserve, and besides the sparkle, the main attraction is at 9 o’clock, where the Spherotourbillon spins. Created via a ‘Dual Wing’ construction, the Spherotourbilon provides separate power sources to the timekeeping function and the rest of the complications, allowing for more efficient energy distribution, and a precision-adjusted tourbillon. The high-tech world of Richard Mille celebrates Asia in the form of the RM26-01, featuring a panda eating bamboo, set on a tourbillon movement with 48 hours of power reserve. The 18k white gold panda is set with black sapphires and white diamonds, while bamboo is hand painted yellow gold. The tourbillon is set on a baseplate of black onyx. The watch is housed in a white gold case fully set with baguette diamonds.

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CLUBHOUSE | TEE TIME PROFILE

DISTINGUISHED LINEAGE PIAGET CEO PHILIPPE LEOPOLD-METZGER TALKS TO EVAN RAST ABOUT WATCHES & WONDERS, ULTRA-THIN TIMEPIECES AND GOLF.

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t the helm of Piaget since 1999, Philippe Leopold-Metzger has been behind the company’s impressive growth and recognition in Asia, especially China. Since becoming CEO, he has pursued an integrated approach, underlining the importance of being great at both jewellery and watchmaking. Born in New York in 1954, Leopold-Metzger finished his MBA at Kellog School of Management in Chicago before he joined Cartier Paris in 1981. He held significant roles in the company, including president of Cartier Canada, before moving to Piaget in 1992. He’s credited with realigning the brand’s collections to present a more trendsetting and dynamic profile, which lead to the opening of Piaget’s Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie in Plane-les-Ouates, Geneva, in 2001. Under his leadership, the company developed a highly selective network of boutiques, several successful product launches and an impressive following. As a result, Piaget has grown rapidly, with turnover multiplying tenfold in as many years. Off hours, Leopold-Metzger loves to travel and is a keen golfer, spending much of his down time at his favourite courses. He tells us more during a recent visit to Hong Kong, where Piaget’s best pieces were on show at the first Watches & Wonders. What is the significance of Watches & Wonders for Piaget? SIHH is mostly a professional event for selling new products to our retailer’s network and presenting them to the press, while Watches & Wonders is an event organised to showcase and promote the extraordinary work of High Watchmaking to a very wide target of watch lovers, as well as press, retailers and their staff. With Asia representing a big part of the luxury business, this event is a formidable opportunity for us to bring part of our manufacture to Asia. 92

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What is the company’s current focus? The House of Piaget is entirely dedicated to perpetuating and enriching its watchmaking and jewellery know-how, which serve as guarantees of the originality and quality of its creations. We assiduously develop these two areas of expertise, which we unite under a signature that has no equal in the world of luxury. The advantage of being a jeweller-watchmaker is to be able to produce true masterpiece of its own, representing a perfect expression of the two fields of skills. You’ve launched the Emperador Coussin ultra-thin minute repeater this year, do you intend to expand the line? Ultra-thin watchmaking will remain the core of the Piaget DNA and we will doubtless focus on developing Grande Complication models that we don’t yet have. The key dates in our history are clearly 1957 and 1959 when Piaget introduced the thinnest manual and automatic movements. Technique was at the service of design, and the thinness of the movements allowed Piaget to design extraordinary watches, very creative but always elegant. We intend to make ultra-thin a constant source of amazement, though this will never distract from the elegance that we impose on all our creations. Technique must benefit design. Yes we do have a number of records to our name but this isn’t an objective in itself. To take the example of our Minute Repeater, had we been forced to choose between thinness and the clarity of the chimes, we would not have hesitated a single second; the latter would have taken precedence over the former. When it comes to playing golf, what models would you recommend? I could play with this (points to the Altiplano skeleton watch he’s wearing) but the best would be the Piaget Polo Forty-Five, a very sporty 45mm titanium watch with a rubber strap, which we have in a flyback chronograph with dual time zone. What is your handicap? Favourite courses? My handicap is 16.4. I play mostly near my house in Cologny at the Golf Club de Genève. I love mountain courses in Crans sur Sierre and Chamonix. Two other courses I love are Troon in Scotland and Pebble Beach in California. If you can be known for one thing you’ve done as the CEO of Piaget, what would it be and why? It has been almost 14 years I have had the privilege to manage Piaget. It is gratifying to see that strategies to build a brand with a long-term vision are working, and that we have been able to grow significantly while keeping our exclusive positioning. My greatest pride is to have been able to reposition Piaget as a significant player in Haute Horlogerie as it deserves to be, and to have Piaget recognised today as the Master of Ultra-thin. HKGOLFER.COM


Courtesy of Austin Hargrave / Hollywood Reporter

Man of the moment: Philippe Leopold-Metzger

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CLUBHOUSE | TEE TIME SPECIAL

NEED FOR SPEED EVAN RAST TAKES A LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF ONE OF ROLEX’S MOST ENDURING MODELS – THE COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA.

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Clockwise from top: The legendary Paul Newman; the Rolex 24 at Daytona; the latest edition of the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph, which was on show at Baselworld 2013; Daytona Beach in the 1960s 94

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watch with a following that can probably rival NASCAR’s, the Rolex Daytona has always had an affinity to racing. The timepiece was named after the famous Daytona International Speedway in Florida, which when opened in 1959 was the fastest racing circuit in the US, and one of the first Super Speedways in the world. Every year, the seaside track with a 4km circumference and impressive 31-degree banked turns has been a permanent fixture in the racing calendar, hosting events like the 24 Hours of Daytona; a day-long endurance race run on a combined course, the American equivalent to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Officially renamed Rolex 24 in 1992, the race is part of Speedweeks, a series of events that lead up to the most prestigious race of the season, the Daytona 500. T he bir thplace of NA SC AR , Day tona International Speedway witnessed a great number of speed records even before its was properly constructed. The area’s hard-packed sand made it a favourite among racers like WK Vanderbilt who set the first world speed record there in 1904; Ralph DePalma, who held the record from 1919 to 1929, and While Rolex had been later, the rivals Henry Segrave and making chronographs Malcolm Campbell who both would be knighted by King George since the 1930s, it V for their records. was in 1963, a year Breaking the world land speed record nine times between 1924 after the first 24and 1935, Campbell sparked Rolex hour endurance race owner’s Hans Wildorf’s interest, at Daytona that the especially in 1930, when he started wearing a Rolex Oyster to all his company decided record-breaking exploits. He still to categorise a line wore the watch five years later dedicated to racing. as he became the first man to break 482km/h – the speed of an airplane in those days – at the wheel of his famous Bluebird. Campbell wrote to Rolex about his watch keeping perfect time despite the strenuous HKGOLFER.COM


conditions: “I was wearing it on the occasion of the JCC Double 12 Hours Race on Friday and Saturday last, and the vibration which this watch had to withstand during this long period has not upset its timekeeping properties in the least.” Thus Campbell became the brand’s first ambassador, though he promoted the watch for free.

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BECOMING THE COSMOGRAPH While Rolex had been making chronographs since the 1930s, it was in 1963, a year after the first 24-hour endurance race at Daytona that the company decided to categorise a line dedicated to racing. It was a design ahead of its time: the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was a highly sporty mechanical model in stainless steel, with a precision stop watch measuring time to one-fifth of a second. It was the company’s first watch with contrasting coloured sub-dials (all the past models were monochromatic) and the tachymeter scale used for measuring speed was moved from the dial to the bezel. These details made the watch easier to read, and are among the reasons why the Rolex Daytona is so easily recognisable. What elevated the watch’s success to an iconic status was probably actor and race driver Paul Newman, who from the 1970s, wore a Cosmograph Daytona to his races and even around Hollywood. The model he wore – with a dial featuring a seconds track on a band the same colour as the three sub-dials – would become so famous that it’s now unofficially named after him. Since then, the timepiece has been continuously associated with distinguished drivers, from Sir Jackie Stewart to Hurley Haywood (Daytona’s most titled champion). Since the mid-1960s the Cosmograph Daytona has been the HKGOLFER.COM

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winner’s trophy at the Rolex 24, regarded as a Rolex, the Cosmograph Daytona continues to token of endurance for the best racing drivers in top the company’s bestseller list. At one point the world. When asked about his thoughts on the certain models had a three-year waiting list, race, this year’s winner, Scott Pruett said, “It’s all and many command impressive prices on the about the watch.” A few days later, Pruett led his auction market. team to their fifth Rolex 24 victory. Half a century later, the Cosmograph Daytona The watch has also seen continues its evolution. The latest many versions. In 1965, model, presented in Baselworld One of the most screw-down chronograph this year, comes in 40mm platinum sought-after models and features a eye-catching ice blue pushers were introduced with a black bezel. In 1988, dial with the impact- and weatherfrom Rolex, the the Cosmograph Daytona resistant monobloc Cerachrom Cosmograph was introduced with an bezel and sub-dials in chestnut automatic movement. brown. The watch features the selfDaytona The new- generation winding 4130 chronograph calibre. continues to top base calibre 4130, with While the watch will forever be a vertical clutch, Rolex’s linked to the Daytona International the company’s shock-resistant Parachrom Sp eedway, the Cosmograph bestseller list. hairspring, and an increased Daytona has also supported races power reserve of 72 hours around the world. The watch is the (from 50) was introduced in 2010. It was the first official timepiece for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with movement to have the word ‘Daytona’ engraved the chronograph worn by eight-time winner Tom on the oscillating weight. Kristensen. This year Rolex also became one of the One of the most sought-after models from principal partners for Formula 1. 96

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In fine form: the latest edition of the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph (this page); the Daytona International Speedway (opposite), which the timepiece is named after HKGOLFER.COM

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GOLF & INVESTING | 5 MINUTES WITH ...

Shay Smart For golfers and investors out there, you might find golf and investing share a lot of similar attributes. In this, the seventh in a series of interviews presented by Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd., Shay Smart – one of Hong Kong’s leading PGA-qualified instructors – talks about his favourite course, the investment lessons he’s learned over time and his respect for his mentor, Davis Love III. What connections do you see between golf and investing? Time and trust. Taking the time to plan how you want to invest – preferably in harness with a professional – also applies to golf: you need to spend time working on your game plan if you want to see good results. I place trust in the people who manage my investments; likewise, people put their trust in me and other qualified PGA professionals when they want to improve their golf.

Alex Jenkins

When did you start playing? I started playing at 13 in my hometown of Houston, Texas. My father was a caddie growing up and my great-grandfather was from St Andrews, Scotland and made golf clubs, so golf has certainly been in my family for a long time.

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Who would be in your dream fourball? Davis Love III would be my first pick. I worked for him at Sea Island and I always respected the way he carried himself. He’s a tall guy, like me, and very much a man of his word. He was a great mentor. My second choice would be Bob Hope. He’d provide the humour but I also liked him because of all his charity work. Lastly, Lee Trevino. He came from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. He’s quite the character.

How often do you play? That’s the thing with being in the golf industry – you don’t actually get to play that often! If I get two rounds a month I’m doing pretty well.

How do you maintain focus during a round? To be honest I really only focus on what really means the most to me in life. When I play golf I realise how fortunate I am to be doing so.

What's been your best ever round? Under tournament conditions it would be the 70 I had when taking my playing ability test for my PGA certificate. This was back at Mississippi State University and the funny thing about the round was that I played the first seven holes with only one eye – one of my contact lenses had fallen out! Bizarrely, not being able to see that well – and not thinking about golf – seemed to help.

How would you describe your overall investment philosophy? Generally speaking I’m quite conservative – I place the emphasis on the long term rather than the short term. It’s also important for me to have a good understanding of the companies I am investing in.

Do you have a favourite course? I’m very partial to Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia. I worked there before coming to Asia and the Seaside Course holds a lot of good memories for me. It’s a great track. Originally designed by Harry Colt and Charles Alison in the 1920s, it was updated by Tom Fazio and is a delight to play. My favourite course in this part of the world is the North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau (pictured). It’s a very challenging layout and the views are great.

What key lessons have you learned through your personal investing experiences? It go e s back to t r u st. You need to b e comfortable with the people who are advising you. Without trust you can end up getting burned. You also need to stick to your plan. My investing plans now are all long term. Gone are the days when I tried to make a quick gain.

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GREAT GOLF STARTS WITH GREAT ADVICE

Hank Haney PGA Teaching Pro

When it comes to golf and investing, everyone can use a little help from the pros.

For more on the connection between golf and Investing, visit www.schwab.com.hk/golf

Schwab Investors Centre: Suites 1607-1611, ICBC Tower, No.3 Garden Road, Hong Kong | +852-2101-0511

EXPERT IN U.S. INVESTING This material is issued by Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. and has not been reviewed by the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong. Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. is registered with the Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") to carry out the regulated activities in dealing in securities, advising on securities and advising on futures contracts under registration CE number ADV256. Š2012 Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. All rights reserved. (0312-1952/CSHK - 1171)


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