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Miguel Angel Jimenez seeking third Hong Kong title

Miguel Angel Jimenez will be bidding for his third Hong Kong Open title when the defending champion tees off on Thursday in a strong field boasting six major champions.

“The Hong Kong Golf Club is one of my favourite courses in the world,” said the cigar-chomping Jimenez, who will bid to become only the second player to defend the title after Taiwan’s Hsieh Yung-yo in the 50th year of the tournament.

Britons Nick Faldo and Paul Lawrie, German Bernhard Langer, Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, Michael Campbell of New Zealand and American John Daly are the former major winners vying for honours in the $2.5 million event co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

Other in-form contenders include England’s Oliver Wilson, who was pipped by Spain’s Sergio Garcia in a playoff at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last Monday, and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, winner of the Volvo Masters in Spain at the start of November.

Asia’s top golfers will be fighting hard to end a ten-year drought, South Korea’s Kang Wook-soon being the last Asian to win at the Hong Kong Golf Club course in Fanling in 1998.

India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, winner of the 2006 Order of Merit, will be firing on all pistons after the weekend’s Singapore Open win made him the Asian Tour’s first single-season millionaire and virtually assured of his topping the money list again.

“The course doesn’t really suit Europeans or Asians,” Singh said. “I think it is all dependent on the mindset and how the form is.”

Other Asians aiming for the title include China’s biggest name in golf Liang Wenchong and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

“It’s a thinking man’s course, and I like it very much. The set-up is always very challenging and I’ve always felt comfortable there,” Thongchai said.

“The Europeans use a lot of iron play, and you have to hit it straight out there. The greens are very small and you’ve got to hit your approach shots well.”

 

November 19, 2008




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