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Anthony Kim & Camilo Villegas to play HSBC Champions

The US PGA Tour's hottest young stars, Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas, have joined the field for next month's HSBC Champions in Shanghai; adding extra spice to what was already a world-class line-up at the Sheshan International Golf Club, 6th to 9th November, 2008.

Both players surged into the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time in their careers in September, thanks to impressive results during the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play-off series.

Kim finished third at both the Tour Championship and the BMW Championship and in between set the tone for the United States' Ryder Cup victory with his inspirational partnership with Phil Mickelson. Coupled with his wins at the Wachovia Championship and the AT&T National it was enough to propel the 23-year-old American up to number 6 in the world, having started the year in 75th.

Kim, who has also had four other top three finishes this season, said: "I have had a great year, winning the Ryder Cup back and winning my first two titles on tour. The cool thing about climbing so high in the world rankings is that I now qualify for the big international tournaments like the HSBC Champions. I would be so pumped if I could win in China and continue my good run this year."

Camilo's rise has in some ways been even more remarkable than Kim's. Although he started the year rated higher, at 56th, the 26-year-old Columbian with the muscles and looks of a catwalk model, only started his charge into the world's elite in August. Having tied for fourth place at the PGA Championship, the final Major of the year, he soared to new heights during the FedEx Cup winning the final two events and moving into 7th in the world rankings.

Villegas explained: "I'm in the form of my life and I can't wait to take on all the other top players in Shanghai. Obviously Phil Mickelson is there to defend his title but I'm definitely going there to win. I know what to expect because I played in Shanghai two years ago. It's such an awesome event and I'm so glad I didn't miss out on it this year.

The young pretenders join a star studded HSBC Champions field that boasts 7 of the world's top 8 active players, including defending champion, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson.

English star, Justin Rose has also thrown his hat in the ring entering the 4th HSBC Champions, joining the likes of K.J. Choi, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman.

Giles Morgan, HSBC's Group Head of Sponsorship, commented: "The 2008 HSBC Champions is going to be a fascinating tournament. As if it wasn't interesting enough having Phil defending his first overseas title and it being the first chance for the European Ryder Cup players to gain some semblance of revenge for Valhalla. We now have the two most exciting and fastest-rising stars in the sport in Anthony and Camilo."

Robbie Henchman, Director of Golf at IMG the event promoters, added, "This is the strongest international field ever assembled in Asia. The 4th HSBC Champions is confirmed as one of the biggest events on the golfing calendar outside of the Majors with over half of the world's top 20 players already entered and almost every tournament winner qualifying through the sanctioning tours snapping up their invitation to play at the HSBC Champions. We are looking forward to working with HSBC to make this the most spectacular week of golf ever seen in China."

The HSBC Champions prize fund of US$5 million matches the largest on offer in Asia and the event is co-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour, and the China Golf Association. A new qualifying criteria now allows the inclusion of past Champions from the previous three years ensuring the inaugural winner, England's David Howell, and the popular Korean winner in 2006, Yong-eun Yang, will be assured of a place in the line-up this year.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the ticket hotline: (+86 21) 962 388 and online at www.hsbcgolf.com

October 21, 2008

 




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