Australian Open 2009
The Omega China Tour
I recently played in my first competition of the year on the Omega China Tour (www.omegachinatour.com). This year, the China Tour has allowed 10 international players to join. A Qualifier was staged to determine the 10 internationals and fortunately I qualified earlier in the year. The 1st event of 2008 of the tour was held in Guangzhou at Dragon Lake Golf Club (www.dragonlake.com.cn). The course was a tough a layout that required precise shot-making with tricky greens to match.
My main goal was to make the cut as my 1st round of the tournament was only my 5th round of the year. Fortunately, I achieved my goal and went on to finish 16th on the tour Order of Merit after the first event from more than 120 players, and was the leading finisher from of all the professionals that went from Hong Kong. It was truly great to play a full four round tour event again and I am looking forward to playing a few more during the year.
There will be another 9 events throughout the year and I will probably play in 2 or 3 more unless I can find a sponsor which will enable me to play more.
UBS Hong Kong Open
For 2007, I decided I would not go back to the UK to play in any tournaments and just played Hong Kong PGA events.
The Hong Kong PGA Order Of Merit is the main event which invites all the members of HKPGA to play in tournaments held at Clearwater Bay, Discovery Bay, Kau Sai Chau in Hong Kong and Yinli Golf Course in China. Out of these events, I managed 3rd place in the order of merit placing behind Derek Fung and David Freeman, both Asian Tour regulars. (Refer to 2007 Hong Kong Order of Merit)
I also entered the Hong Kong Open pre-qualifying at Hong Kong Golf Club where I managed to gain a spot into the main event. Unfortunately, I played badly, and didn’t have my game together that week. For next year, I hope to play at much the same as 2007. Hopefully I can find a bit more time to put forwards my own game and improve my position.
In 2005, Andrew played in the British Open in Scotland where he got into the final qualifying round out of thousands of players from all over the world, playing at the same venue with Brad Faxon.
Andrew also won the Masters of International PGA in October the same year and he also played in the KIA Open on the Korean Tour, which he was invited to play in by the Korean PGA in September 2005
Andrew is also active in various regional professional tournaments in Europe. He played in the British Open qualifying 2003 and various events on the EuroPro Tour in 2004
In 2003, Andrew won his first Professional event in Hong Kong organized by the International Professional Golfers Association and win the latest IPGA Masters in October 2005.
Regain my Tour-player status in PGA EuroPro Tour
During the last couple of weeks, I have been in England competing in the PGA EuroPro Tour Qualifying School so I can keep playing competitive golf and also to give me a chance to play on a Tour in Europe when I make return visits. I played in the Pre-qualifying tournament in the first week and I was the only player representing Hong Kong and there was only 1 other from Asia (from Korea) in the event. The pre-qualifying was held at 4 venues around England for both professionals and top amateurs (handicap of scratch or better) to compete for 240 spots out of 450 players which was a record number of entries for the 2004 Tour School.
I arrived in England on Monday, drove to the venue on TUE and started the tournament on WED for the Pre-qualifying rounds I made 79+72 in extremely windy conditions. I just did enough to qualify and to win a qualifying spot to the Q-School Final in the second week. In the final qualifying, there was a field of 240 players competing for a ranking order for the tour events in the 2004 year. The first day was very windy, raining and cold and my tee-off time really did get the worst of the weather. It’s easy to make excuses but I had forgotten how bad the England weather can be in April. Anyway, it was a long struggle. We had an half hour suspended play for a hail storm the size of small marbles. I finally finished the first round with 5 over.
The next day, I was teeing-off in early morning and it was still cold and windy but luckily no rain. This round was much better and I managed a round of 2-under par. I improved my position in the tournament (+3 overall) and gain me a ranking in the tour which will allow me to play all the events if I choose to.
|What Is PGA Europro Tour?
The PGA EuroPro Tour has members from 15 different countries with a prize fund totaling around €1 million in 2004. It provides a chance for professionals to gain the necessary experience in competitive golf, and every event on the Tour is shown as a one hour highlight program on Sky Sports and ESPN Star throughout Asia. Big names who started out on the PGA EuroPro Tour are John Bickerton, Van Phillips and Ryder Cup player Lee Westwood.
Back To The Winners Circle
I recently played in my first proper Professional event in Hong Kong organized by the International Professional Golfers Association. Open to all PGA members of their own country, approximately 40 PGA members from England, USA, Australia, Canada to name a few, played on Monday, Oct 6th at Kau Sau Chau (North Course) in the first IPGA event.
Luckily I had not lost my touch with all the coaching and managed a respectable score on a pretty windy day.
My Experience in British Open Pre-Qualifying
Having returned from England, I thought I would update everybody on my British Open Pre-qualifying. The venue I played was Hindhead Golf Club which is picturesque heathland course in Surrey. To give you an idea of what the course is like, the first 9 holes wind through valleys formed by the Ice Age. The back 9 is built on plateau so the wind affects it more than the front 9. The fairways are very narrow with long rough and heather lining the sides along with the natural woodland. Most of the greens are small, so it’s a course that requires precise positioning. The greens at Hindhead are also fast. When I played my practice rounds, I thought they were fast, after which I spoke with the head green-keeper and he said for the qualifying, he would make them considerably faster and he was not joking – they were lightening quick!
Anyway, during my first 9 holes, I dropped 3 shots, probably letting the tension gets to me a bit. This left me with some catching up to do. After 14 holes, I was back to 2 over, but dropped another on the 15th. I stood at the par-5 at 16th, thinking an eagle is what I need to have any chance of qualifying. Taking a tight line from the tee so I could hit the green in 2, I was unlucky and caught the top of some trees to leave me almost unplayable for the 2nd, and I took double-bogey.
It was an unfortunate end but with 10-12 spaces available out of a 120, I had to take some risks. Never mind, I’ve been through to final qualifying twice before and maybe I’ll be successful again next year.
|About The British Open
The Open Championship regularly attracts well over 2000 entrants. The leading players from around the world gain exemption directly into The Championship. This year, there were 112 exempted players who will enter into the Open, and a total of 156 players will compete in The Open (possibly leaving only 44 qualifying places), with the leading 70 and those tied for 70th place after 2 rounds, qualifying for the final 36 holes. This year, the venue will be held at Royal St George’s, and the prize money for the Champion will be 700,000 pounds.
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