Date: November 29, 2010

Confident Hong looks forward to Open

Korean Tour regular Hong Chang-kyu is bracing himself for an Australian comeback this week. He will be among a contingent of 18 Koreans teeing off Down Under at OneAsia&aposs season-ending swing. Adam Scott will defend his title at the Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney from December 2-5 while the following week Robert Allenby puts his trophy on the line at the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola. The latter is hosted at the Hyatt Regency, Coolum. Both events offer prize money of AU$1.5 million (approximately US$1.48 million) and are co-sanctioned by OneAsia and the PGA Tour of Australasia. Hong currently ranks 9th on the Korean Tour and is optimistic for a good end-of-season finish. But having focused much of his year in his homeland, Hong&aposs concerns are more to do with acclimatising to the Australian weather. “I am feeling really good about my game at the moment,” said Hong. “I know next week will be a challenge as Australia&aposs conditions are warm and soft, as opposed to the dormant conditions I&aposve been playing in Korea. The greens have been hard and the ball runs a lot. I&aposm sure this sudden change will affect my game but I&aposm confident I&aposll be able to find my feet.” Having made his Australian debut at the Australian Open last year, Hong was stunned by windy conditions at the New South Wales Golf Club. Hong recalled, “It was such an incredible experience. I had never experienced anything like it before so I was literally blown away. We never get that kind of wind in Korea but it was something the Australians were used to. “I will be watching their game very closely to see how I can adapt fast. I hear they hit the ball lower than the wind and that they chip around the green. We&aposre definitely the underdogs when we&aposre out there so any tips will help!” The 29-year-old has had a slew of successful top 10 finishes since his 2009 win at the Lakehills Open and is searching for that breakthrough victory in Australia. Hong has been an American citizen since he moved to the States 17 years ago to pursue an English education and career in golf. Known by his friends as “Charles”, he is currently based in Seoul with his wife, Nicole, whom he married just a year ago. He keeps his game fun by hitting the fairways with his mother at least once a week. “OneAsia is a good incentive for leading players in Asia to work harder and do better,” he said. ” I hope OneAsia will be able to grow to 20 tournaments next year!” The Korean contingent in Australia boasts several winners on the Korean Tour, including this year&aposs Shinhan Donghae Open winner John Huh, Tomato Savings Bank Open winner Kim Do-hoon (753) and winner of the J-Golf 53rd KPGA Championship, Son Joon-eob. They are also joined by Asia&aposs first-ever British Amateur champion, 20-year-old Korean Jin Jeong, who will travel north from Melbourne where he is currently based.