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Harrington & Olazabal to play in Asian Open

Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal and Ireland's Padraig Harrington are the latest stars to sign up for the US$1.5 million BMW Asian Open at Ta Shee Golf and Country Club from November 21 to 24.

Olazabal, who finished tied second in last year's event, will aim to go one better while Harrington is making his debut in the tournament. Their participation was announced by Ingo Wirth, Tournament Director for the BMW Asian Open. The event is jointly sanctioned by the Asian PGA-run Davidoff Tour and European Tour.

Harrington and Olazabal will join defending champion Jarmo Sandelin, reigning British Open champion Ernie Els, big-hitting American John Daly, Asian star Thongchai Jaidee, who was joint second last yea,r and a host of other top names at this year's BMW Asian Open.

Wirth said: "BMW are proud to run Asia's richest golf tournament for a second consecutive year in Taiwan. World class golfers like Ernie Els, John Daly, Jose Maria Olazabal, Jarmo Sandelin and Padraig Harrington will make up an excellent field."

Olazabal will be eager to reproduce last year's superb form when he chased Sandelin down the finish line before settling for joint second place in the BMW Asian Open. He then went on to win the Omega Hong Kong Open in the following week, thanks to birdies on the last three holes.

Padraig Harrington
Harrington is enjoying a career high and is ranked sixth in the world after winning the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland two weeks ago. His other top finishes this year include tied fifth at The Masters and joint eighth at the US Open. He also played a starring role in the Ryder Cup for Europe last month by winning two matches.

Other top Europeans who have signed up for the BMW Asian Open include German star Alex Cejka, winner of last week's Trophy Lancome in France, countrymen Sven Struver and Tobias Dier, Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty.

Thongchai will head the Asian charge alongside Korea's Charlie Wi and current Davidoff Tour Order of Merit leader Arjun Atwal of India.

Taiwan's Chen Tze-chung, better known as TC, will lead the local challenge which includes Kao Bo-song, who will be making his professional debut on home soil after an impressive amateur career.


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