Chinese top golfer Liang Wenchong will lead the home charge in December's Hong Kong Open, which returns to the Hong Kong Golf Club for the 13th time since the event became part of the European Tour International schedule, the Asian Tour announced here on Wednesday.
Liang, who is the only player from China to break into the top 100 in the world golf ranking, will line up alongside Zhang Lianwei, who finished tied 15th last year after two excellent opening rounds. The 35-year-old Liang will be heading to Fanling in form having taken 15th place in the recent WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, and earlier in the season he finished third in the Avantha Masters, tied third in the Lyoness Open and tied fifth in the Russian Open.
"Fanling has got a very long history in China golf. It's a very special tournament. The old course is so special and I always enjoy playing there. Since I turned professional, I've always played in the Hong Kong Open which I am looking forward to again," said Liang, the first Chinese golfer to tin the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007.
"It is very important to keep the ball on the fairway at the Fanling course. It's a very narrow golf course and I always enjoy myself whenever I am over there. There are a lot of fans who come out to watch the event which makes it more fun for the players," Liang added.
Zhang Lianwei, 48, has blazed a trail for golf in China in the last 20 years, becoming the first Chinese player to win on The European Tour in 2003. He was also the first Chinese to compete in the Masters Tournament, and has won five titles on the Asian Tour.
But the Hong Kong Open is the only major one in China that he does not have in his trophy cabinet, and he would dearly love to add the title to his triumphs in the China Open (2003) and the Macao Open (2001 and 2002).
Joining China's finest are Hong Kong-based players Timothy Tang and Wong Woon-Man, who were members of the Hong Kong team which won the silver medal at China's National Games in September.
The quartet of home hopefuls will join a strong field for the 1.3 million US dollar event from December 5th to 8th, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association. It is the third event of The 2014 Race to Dubai, and one of the last on the 2013 Asian Tour schedule.
Miguel Angel Jimenez will defend the title he won in record-breaking fashion 12 months ago, when he became the oldest winner in European Tour history at the age of 48 years and 318 days.