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Shenzhen, China — On october 30, Mission Hills played host to some of the very best names in golf who gathered ahead of the WGC-HSBC Champions 2012 which tees off on November 1 on the 7,301 yard Olazabal Course at Mission Hills’ Dongguan resort in southern China’s Pearl River Delta.
A truly first-class line up will greet spectators including defending Champion Martin Kaymer, as well as a host of other major winners from around the world in Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie and Louis Oosthuizen.
Other top players to join the field from both sides of the Atlantic include Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts, Peter Hanson, Francesco Molinari, plus Dustin Johnson and 2012 FedEx Cup Winner Brandt Snedeker from the US as well as a crop of players from Asia-Pacific headed by Asian Order of Merit leader Thaworn Wiratchant from Thailand.
It remains to be seen if the Olazabal association does for the Europeans what the spirit of Seve did for them in last month’s Ryder Cup at Medinah, but they should like the connection all the same.
The longest of Mission Hill’s 12 courses at its Shenzhen – Dongguan resort, Jose Maria Olazabal’s course is designed to challenge the best in the game. The design objective was to create a course that is playable to everyone yet one that provided a demanding tournament layout that stretches to the back tees.
Olazabal’s reputation as one of the game’s best sand golfers is reflected with over 160 menacing bunkers. Designed to blend in with its natural surroundings, numerous majestic vistas cropped with untouched foliage and natural running streams will ensure that there is no shortage of scenic backdrops on show. The high, sand flashed bunkers contain a number of contoured fingers, thick grassy vertical lips and deep ‘bowled’ bottoms, which are sure to attract the attention of the players.
Competitors will be faced with an option on how to play each hole – either opting for a conservative, safe route, or the risk and reward route that may result in anything from an eagle to a double bogey or worse. This is a perfect tournament venue, guaranteed to provide the professionals with a true test of golf and the hundred thousand plus spectators with plenty of excitement along the way.
Commenting on his first impressions of this year’s course, Defending Champion Martin Kaymer said, “It looks very good. I think they changed the grass so there’s less grain on the greens now which I think makes the course even better. 15 is an exciting par 5 where a lot can happen and then 18, you need to be brave with a tee shot but it’s definitely a very exciting finish.”
A sentiment shared by two time tournament winner Phil Mickelson who added, “I think this golf course is wonderful. The 15th hole, I believe, is the most interesting as it gives a player many ways to play it. It’s also an important hole for the tournament’s final result because it’s an important birdie – you need to make a 4 there to be on top of the lead if you want to win.”
Dr. Ken Chu, Chairman and CEO of Mission Hills Group added, “We’re delighted to bring such a prestigious event as the WGC-HSBC Champions to Mission Hills China for the first time and provide a spectacular showcase event for golf lovers. It is for sure that we would harness the opportunity to promote the further development of the game in China and throughout the region.”
The WGC-HSBC Champions boasts a prize fund of US$7 million and is one of four World Golf Championships sanctioned and organised by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour. The other World Golf Championships include the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Image Courtesy of turbotoddi