Some of the world's top golfers are in town for the World City Championship (WCC) as the Asian Tour returns to Hong Kong after a three-year break.
Aside from tournament headliners Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson, it will also feature the first Thai player on the PGA Tour, Kiardech Aphibarnrat; his compatriot, Jazz Janewattananond; and former Hong Kong Open winners from Australia, Wade Ormsby and Scott Hend.
They will be vying for the US$1 million purse as well as one of four qualifying slots to play in the 151st Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July.
This is the first time Stenson, a former Open champion, will tee off in Hong Kong.
“I guess I’m the only one that don’t have to worry about the qualifying spots, but I mean it brings a lot. I know the guys sitting next to me on the stage are very keen to get their hands on one of the qualifying spots for the Open,” he said.
“I mean every time, I hear anything about the tournament, it just gives me good vibes and good memories. So yeah, it is great that the spots are up for grabs and everyone is going to fight hard to get them, and it’s exciting for the crowds to see who’s going to get them.”
Stenson’s former Ryder Cup and now LIV teammate, Ian Poulter, said he's happy to be competing in Hong Kong again. The 47-year-old fired a record-setting 22 under par the last time he was in the territory, which helped him capture the Hong Kong Open in 2010.
The WCC is also welcoming the territory’s promising young talent, Taichi Kho, who on Tuesday was announced as an official Hong Kong Golf Club ambassador.
The 22-year-old got his pro career off to a solid start since making the switch from amateur ranks last month. He figured prominently at the International Series Thailand before finishing in a tie for 34th, and ended last week’s DHC Open tied for 59th.
Kho is confident to be playing back on home soil.
“I think it’s really nice being back home and to feel the familiarity of the place. I’ve played Fanling growing up quite a lot under the Hong Kong team, and now as a member and ambassador,” he said.
“It is a really special place to play for me and to have this opportunity to showcase my skill this week is really valuable, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The tournament will take place at the Fanling Golf Course from March 23 to 26.