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Mike Weir looking to carry on good form

Canada's Mike Weir will be looking to carry his good run of form into this week's Hong Kong Open, seeking to emulate America's Phil Mickelson by becoming the second left-hander to triumph in China in two weeks.

The 2003 U.S. Masters champion has had a stellar last two months, beating Tiger Woods head-to-head in the Presidents Cup and ending a three-year title drought with a U.S. PGA Tour victory in Arizona.

Weir should, therefore, be brimming with confidence when he attempts to match Mickelson's success in Shanghai last Sunday at the last of five strokeplay events co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours in China this year.

"It's always exciting to take on a new challenge and I've heard great things about the Hong Kong Open and the galleries at Fanling," the 37-year-old Weir told reporters.

"The Open has had some great champions down the years, but never one from Canada, so I'll be doing my best to be the first."

Twice U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is also in the field for the $2.25 million event and said he was looking forward to tackling the par-70 championship layout again.

"It's a challenging course that tests every aspect of a player's game and puts the accent firmly on accuracy," the South African said.

Water and sand are not the only potential hazards awaiting players who fail to find that accuracy, as big-hitting Swede Daniel Chopra found out last year when he went into the trees to look for his ball.

"I felt something hit against the bottom of my foot. I looked down and it was a snake slithering away," said the 33-year-old, who grabbed his maiden U.S. tour victory in Florida last month.

"It was at least six feet long, maybe eight. It was a big snake, that's for sure, and I jumped out of my skin."

Other European challengers at the 49th version of the Open include former winners Jose Manuel Lara and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain as well as Briton Simon Dyson.

Six-time major winner Nick Faldo will also make a rare playing appearance.

Asian hopes of a first champion from the continent since 1998 will rest on South Korea's world number 12 K.J. Choi and Asian Tour order of merit leader Liang Wenchong, who hails from just across the mainland border in Guangdong.


November 13, 2007

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