A Golf Course of Roses
Newly-minted Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose called The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club ‘the Pebble Beach of Asia’ as he recently spoke about what PGA TOUR China Series players can expect at the inaugural Clearwater Bay Open from 3 to 6 November.
The talented British golfing ace visited the Club in 2011 to participate in a corporate event and was happy to recall his impressions of one of Asia-Pacific’s most spectacular courses.
“Clearwater Bay is right by the ocean and it is kind of like the Pebble Beach of Asia. The views are dramatic,” Justin pointed out, alluding to the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links in California that has hosted five US Opens, a PGA Championship and the PGA TOUR’s annual Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
As the reigning UBS Hong Kong Open champion, Rose says the city holds a special place in his heart and that PGA TOUR China players visiting for the first time will enjoy a special week practising and playing at Clearwater Bay.
“The course sits within one of my favourite cities in the world, so it is definitely going to be a fun venue for the guys,” said Justin, who savoured international glory in August when he emerged atop the first Olympics golf competition since 1904.
“You feel like you are a long way away from the city, even though you are probably only a 30-minute drive away. It is nice to feel like you are far from the bright lights and playing golf in a very dramatic, natural golfing landscape.”
The Clearwater Bay Open marks the first time that a PGA TOUR China event will be held outside Mainland China, so the majority of the 120-player field will be new to the layout that was redesigned by Thomson Perrett in 2006. Justin, 36, said he expects competitors to face some tough tests amidst the spectacular scenery at the RMB1.2 million event.
“It is definitely a tricky golf course. Seaside courses differ from landlocked courses because of the conditions, as you are a bit more exposed to the wind and the elements, so controlling your ball flight is at a premium,” Justin explained. “Then again, if you get a flat, calm day, you need to completely change your mind-set. A designer will typically design a course with the prevailing wind in mind, so if you get a wind that is opposite to that, the course can play a little funky at times and you can get drivable par fours and stuff like that.”
Justin concluded, “It is about being aggressive when you need to be and staying out of trouble. Obviously the ball tends to roll a little more so it is about accounting for all of those little differences.”
PGA TOUR China Series – Clearwater Bay Open
The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club's reputation as a venue for top-level golf tournaments is about to get another boost, as it hosts the Clearwater Bay Open, part of the PGA Tour China Series, between 3 November to 6 November.
It will be the first event in the prestigious series to take place outside mainland China. The Club will host the tournament for the next three years, as well as becoming its title sponsor, selected for the quality of the course, its stunning setting and the Club's successful hosting of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in October 2015.
“The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club is proud to help with the growth of golf in Hong Kong and China, and delighted to work with PGA Tour China for three years on the Clearwater Bay Open,” says the Club's Golf Committee Chairman David Hui. “This event will prove a spectacular stop on the PGA TOUR China Series and a proud addition to the many top-class professional and amateur tournaments the Club has hosted, showcasing one of the world’s most spectacular courses and one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets.”
The PGA Tour China Series provides leading Asian players with a pathway to playing on the PGA Tour. The Clearwater Bay Open will feature a field of 120 players, including 10 from a qualifying event, giving local players a shot at participating. Among the leading contenders to watch will be 22-year-old pro Jason Hak Shun-yat, who at aged 14 was the youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event at the 2008 Hong Kong Open; Charlie Saxon of the U.S.; Gunn Charoenkul of Thailand; Kim Tae-woo of South Korea; and several leading contenders from mainland China, including Xinjun Zhang and world number 179 Zecheng Dou.
TV coverage of the event will help to further raise the Club’s profile, while the Club's partnership with the PGA Tour reflects its commitment to charitable giving. The tour has raised US$2.3 billion for good causes, including US$160 million last year alone. For members, meanwhile, the Clearwater Bay Open will provide a feast of golfing entertainment at the Club’s links not to be missed.
Five to watch
An international field will once again take the Club by storm as 120 golfers stake their claim on the title of champion at the Clearwater Bay Open from 3 November to 6 November. Get to know five of the leading contenders all set to battle it out at the Club’s links.
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