Brazel ready for Major test
Hong Kong, November 21: Australia’s Sam Brazel is determined to put up a stout defence of his UBS Hong Kong Open title despite the threat of Major winners, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia who will headline the US$2 million event which starts on Thursday.
The Asian Tour winner’s confidence has been buoyed by his breakthrough at the Hong Kong Golf Club last year and wants to replay those winning memories again after seeing how that victory has transformed his career.
“It’s great to be back and the course is in fantastic condition. It was a massive career change for me as that win allowed me to play in Europe and so many stunning golf courses around the world. It gave me the opportunity to reach some of my goals which include playing full-time on some of the major tours. I’ll go out there and give it my best this week. It’s great to see guys like Justin and Sergio coming out to support an event like this. Players of their calibre will always draw the crowd and that’s what we like to see. I cannot control what they are going to do and they cannot control what I can do. So I’ll just try to enjoy my golf this week and soak in the memories from last year,” said Brazel.
Rose, who won the prized Hong Kong showpiece in 2015, is also looking forward to another grandstand finish having enjoyed a sensational season which saw him claim back-to-back wins in Shanghai and Turkey last month: “It has been a great run and sometimes you see players having a great run and you like to keep that going for as long as you can. Last week was nearly the fairy tale ending to the season but to be able to put myself in a chance in Dubai was amazing. I played some solid golf all year long but obviously winning is also what matters and it’s nice to have some trophies before Christmas comes around. I’m really excited to be here in Hong Kong and I hope to keep the momentum going and refocus on new targets too.”
Garcia meanwhile wants to put up a performance befitting of his status as a Major champion. The Spaniard finally won a Major at the Masters Tournament in April and expectations of him have been high each time he steps up to the tee: “I’ve been to Hong Kong before to do some corporate events for my sponsors but this will be my first time playing here. I’m very excited. I had a chance to see the golf course this morning and it’s just spectacular. It’s a really fun golf course where you have to position your ball accurately as there are some tricky pin positions around the greens. 2017 has been an amazing year for me, on and off the golf course. I got married and a baby’s coming. You want to keep improving and you don’t want to get too comfortable with what you’ve done. I want to keep putting myself into positions to win more golf tournaments and more Majors.”
Matthew Cheung will be among Hong Kong’s hopefuls after he earned his place among the stellar field at the National Qualifiers.
Did you know?
- Sam Brazel won the UBS Hong Kong Open when he birdied the final hole of the tournament to earn his career breakthrough on the Asian Tour.
- World number six Justin Rose is the highest ranked player this week. He is coming in the week in the best of form, having won two of his last three events he played in.
- Rose also won the UBS Hong Kong Open in 2015.
- Sergio Garcia is playing competitively in Hong Kong for the first time in his career.
- The UBS Hong Kong Open is the longest running sporting event in Hong Kong and was first played in 1959, which was won by Lu Liang-huan from Chinese Taipei.
- This is the 59th staging of the event and there have been three Asian Tour winners at the UBS Hong Kong Open since it became a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour. Lin Wen-tang (2008), Scott Hend (2014), Sam Brazel (2016).