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Golf: Dustin, Justin bustin’ to play UBS Hong Kong Open

Dustin Johnson will make his tournament debut at October’s US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open. Photo: AFP.

Dustin Johnson will make his tournament debut at October’s US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open. Photo: AFP.

July 30, 2015: Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose – World Nos. 5 and 7 respectively – will be the marquee draws at the UBS Hong Kong Open in late October, when the American makes his Fanling debut and the Englishman competes for only the second time.


Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, the historic event will be held at the Hong Kong Golf Club from October 22-25.


In an exciting period for Asian golf, the Hong Kong Open will follow the Asian Tour’s Venetian Macao Open and precede the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, which is followed by the US$8.5 million HSBC Champions in Shanghai, a tournament Johnson won in 2013.


One of the game’s most exciting players, the 6-foot 4-inch Johnson will be a huge drawcard in Hong Kong as he competes for the first time in a city he has only visited once before.


The 31-year-old from South Carolina has been in tremendous form this year, winning his ninth PGA Tour title at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, finishing runner-up twice including at the US Open in June and holding the second-round lead at The Open Championship in mid-July.


“I’m excited to be making my first trip to the UBS Hong Kong Open. I’ve heard some great things about the tournament and that the Hong Kong Golf Club is a real classic golf course with a rich history and tradition,” Johnson said.


“You look at some of the names who have won the tournament – guys like Norman, Watson, Woosnam, Langer, Olazabal, Montgomerie and McIlroy – and you realise there’s a great history there. Those are the kind of trophies you want to get your name on.


“I’m also really looking forward to visiting Hong Kong. As golfers we are very lucky to have the chance to travel the world playing the game we love and when you get the chance to visit cities as exciting as Hong Kong, then it’s difficult to say no. It’s going to be an exciting trip.”


Rose, who turned 35 on Thursday, is keen to make amends after missing the cut on his Hong Kong Open debut in 2012. The 6-foot 3-inch Englishman is also in fine form, having finished runner-up at the Masters, won his seventh PGA Tour title in April and tied for sixth at The Open Championship.


Rose, 34, has won seven times on The European Tour, as well as in South Africa, the land of his birth, Australia and Japan, and the 2013 US Open champion is eager for another win in Asia.


“Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in the world and Fanling is a great golf course. The tournament is close to the end of the Race to Dubai, so I liked the idea of putting another tournament on the schedule near the end of the year to give myself as good a chance as possible of winning the Race to Dubai,” Rose said.


“I missed the cut by a shot in 2011, but I loved the course. I remember I made a late run of birdies to almost make the cut, but hopefully this year I can improve.


“Fanling is a very traditional, tree-lined, tight course. It’s not long, but a great test of golf and not easy, as the winning scores usually tell. It’s also great to have UBS back on board as title sponsor.”


Kathryn Shih, Head of UBS Wealth Management, APAC, was delighted to confirm the first star players to join the field, just 10 days after UBS was announced as title sponsor of an event it previously sponsored from 2005 to 2012.


“We are excited to have Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose confirmed for the 2015 UBS Hong Kong Open,” Shih said. “The presence of two of the world’s top-10 golfers is sure to boost the tournament’s appeal and we look forward to writing another exciting page in the history of the UBS Hong Kong Open this October.”


With the return of UBS as title sponsor, the purse for Hong Kong’s oldest sporting event has increased to US$2 million from US$1.3 million last year. The event is also supported by Hong Kong’s Mega Events Fund.


Past champions include Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, José Maria Olazábal, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Colin Montgomerie.  Scott Hend won the tournament last year and another all-star field is expected to assemble in Hong Kong for the UBS Hong Kong Open 2015.


Source: Asian Tour (; Editing by SportAsia

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