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Golf: Liang Wenchong looking to continue revival at Hong Kong Open

Liang Wenchong, 36, has enjoyed top-three finishes in two of his last three Japan Tour events.

Liang Wenchong, 36, has enjoyed top-three finishes in two of his last three Japan Tour events.

September 25, 2014: Liang Wenchong hopes to continue his return to form at next month’s Hong Kong Open, where the favourites include four-time champion Miguel Angel Jimenez and four-time major winner Ernie Els. Hong Kong Golf Club will host the event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, from October 16-19.

 

Liang, 36, tied for third at the Ana Open last Sunday for his second top-three finish in three Japan Tour events, having lost a playoff to Hiroyuki Fujita at the end of August.

 

After finishing 2013 just outside the world’s top 100, Liang started this season with an eighth-place finish at the Indonesia PGA Championship in March. However, his ranking dropped to 202 in mid-August until his impressive recent results helped him climb to 170 in Monday’s updated list.

 

“It has been a challenging but rewarding year so far,” said Liang, who in 2007 became the first Chinese winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

 

“I have been working hard and feel that my game is slowly coming together and I will try to do my best that at the Hong Kong Open, a tournament I enjoy coming to very much.”

 

Liang will be part of the Chinese challenge in Fanling along with veteran Zhang Lianwei and teenage amateur William Liu Yan-wei. Zhang, the first Chinese to win on The European Tour, is delighted to have another opportunity to try and take home the Hong Kong Open trophy.

 

“I am very much looking forward to the Hong Kong Open, a tournament I hold very close to my heart,” said Zhang, 49. “The fans there have supported me through the years and there is nothing I want more than to win this title and join its list of distinguished, world-class champions.”

 

The 17-year-old Liu, on the other hand, will be making his Hong Kong Open debut and could hardly contain his excitement when his starting spot was confirmed.

 

“Playing at the Hong Kong Open is very exciting for me. The event has been around forever and so many great names have won it. Golf has given me the opportunity to travel the world and I know for sure this is what I want to pursue as my career,” Liu said.

 

“There is no better way to learn than to compete against seasoned professionals and the Hong Kong Open provides the perfect platform for me to do just that. I am very grateful for the opportunity and I hope I play well.”

 

Local hope Jason Hak, 20, will make his fifth appearance. Hak has made the cut in three of his four appearances in the Hong Kong Open, including in 2008, when he became the youngest player ever to make the cut in a European Tour event, at 14 years and 304 days.

 

“I have wonderful memories of the Hong Kong Open. I like the course a lot and have always performed well there,” said Hak, who turned pro last year.

 

“As a home player, I get a lot of fan support, which I really appreciate as their cheers bring out the best in me. I am continuing to develop as a player and the Hong Kong Open plays an important part in my growth as a professional golfer.”

 

The Hong Kong Open is the only national championship in Asia to have been held at the same golf club since its inauguration, in 1959. Past champions include Rory McIlroy, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam.

 

The tournament will be the penultimate event on The European Tour International Schedule before the lucrative Final Series. Amundi, DP World and Emirates are among the tournament sponsors.

 

Source: Asian Tour (www.asiantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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