The Stage is Set ...
This month's Ageas HKPGA Championship will boast a record prize purse and one of the strongest fields in the tournament's 38-year-history
Ageas, the title sponsor of the Hong Kong PGA Championship, has announced that prize money for the 2012 edition will increase by 25 per cent to HK$400,000.
To be played from 21-23 May, the event also welcomes back major champion Wayne Grady, who memorably claimed the 1990 US PGA Championship at Shoal Creek. The Australian, who narrowly lost out in a play-off to Mark Calcavecchia at the 1989 Open Championship at Royal Troon, finished second to Shenzhen-based American CJ Gatto at the 2010 edition but was forced to retire because of injury after the first round of last year's event, which was won by Frenchman Jean Van de Velde.
"To pack away my clubs early last year was disappointing, so I'm really looking forward to getting to Hong Kong and competing. I feel like I've got some unfinished business to settle," said Grady, who works as a commentator for the BBC and Channel Nine in Australia when he's not competing on the Champions Tour. "The HKPGA is a fantastic tournament, one which continues to go from strength to strength. Thanks to Ageas' involvement, it has a really bright future."
The 54-hole stroke play event will be played over three different courses, which is how the championship started life back in 1974 at the inaugural event. The first and second rounds will be held over the New Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club and Discovery Bay Golf Club respectively, while the Gary Player-designed North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course will host the all-important final round.
Stuart Fraser, CEO of Ageas Insurance Company (Asia), said: "It's all set to be an exciting championship, with the best Hong Kong professionals going up against players from around the region for the title and a record prize purse. We're delighted to welcome back Wayne, who has been a fantastic supporter of the championship, and look forward to witnessing three days of first-class golf.
"The decision to increase the prize money underlines the growth of the tournament since our involvement started in 2010 as well as Ageas' commitment to professional golf in Hong Kong," added Fraser.
In a further boost for the tournament, Lam Chih Bing, an Asian Tour regular who won the coveted Masters of Asia tournament in 2008, has also confirmed his entry. The long-hitting Singaporean, who will be making his debut in the championship, said he has high expectations.
"Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in the world, so the opportunity to play in the Ageas HKPGA Championship was one I couldn't resist," said the 35-year-old Lam. "I don't think my scores so far this year have reflected how well I've been playing, but I'll be arriving in Hong Kong with confidence and the goal of winning the title."
Local professionals vying for the championship include two-time winner Dominique Boulet, 2001 champion Derek Fung, who placed third last year, Timothy Tang, who earned his Asian Tour card in 2011 and reigning Ageas Order of Merit winner Jimmy Ko.
Written by The Editors
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