Date: November 13, 2012
Author: Bruce Young /

Hong Kong Open attracts strong field

The European and Asian Tours again join forces this week when they play the Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf Club Fanling. Co sanctioned between the Asian and European Tours since 2002 the event has grown into an tournament carrying 2,000,000 in prize-money and takes on further significance given its timing so close to the Dubai World Tour Championship in Dubai next week. The European Tour is also playing an event in South Africa this week where the South African Open has attracted the involvement of players such as Charl Schwartzel and Martin Kaymer but with the World Number One Rory McIlroy in Hong Kong then the Hong Kong Open appears to have most appeal. Both events also clash with the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath in Melbourne where Adam Scott, former Hong Kong Open champion Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell take centre stage. McIlory has a great record at Fanling, not only winning last year but recording several other good finishes in the event. Given the form he is in right now then his chances look good to further enhance what has already been a great year. Matt Kuchar plays on invitation and while the American Ryder Cup player has not done anything special since his win at the Players Championship in May, he has done well enough to be a consideration at least. Kuchar has not played competitively since his 10th place finish at the Tour Championship adding another cause for concern although at his best he is capable of beating any field let alone this one. Matteo Manssero returned to his best form with his victory in Singapore last week. Two years ago he finished runner-up in this event and although he missed the cut last year that came at a time when he was not playing as well generally as he is now. Padraig Harrington missed the cut in Singapore last week but prior to that there were signs of his significant game returning. Harrington was a winner at Fanling in 2004 and a good showing is expected. The Australasian contingent is significant given the event s clash with Tours Schools and the PGA Tour of Australasia s event in Melbourne. Marcus Fraser is currently in second position on the Asian Tour money list and is no doubt keen to secure the number one position. Brett Rumford currently sits in 62nd position on the Race to Dubai Ranking so is likely to need a top 25 finish this week to ensure he gains access to the lucrative event in Dubai next week. Other Australians who have a start include Andrew Dodt, Matthew Zions, Scott Hend, Wade Ormsby, David Gleeson, Darren Beck, Rick Kulacz, Scott Barr, Adam Groom, Tim Stewart, Adam Blyth and Unho Park.