Shenzhen, China: Studying for a degree while improving your game at the ‘Home of Golf’ sounds like a dream come true – and it will be for some talented young Chinese players thanks to a tournament being played at Mission Hills.
Proceeds from the Mission Hills – St Andrews: Home to Home Scholarship Fundraising Championship will be used to send talented golfers to the University of St Andrews in Scotland to further their careers.
“This event was first held in 2013, a year that brought significant milestones for our two famous golfing institutions. As the University of St Andrews marked its 600th anniversary, we were celebrating our 20th birthday,” said Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Tenniel Chu.
“While reflecting on historic achievements and honouring the past, this tournament is about embracing the future – specifically, China’s golfing future.
“I would like to thank our friends at the University of St Andrews for their continuing support. There may be an age difference of 580 years, and we are 9,500 kilometres apart, but the bonds between Scotland’s first university and Mission Hills are strong and enduring.”
The tournament is designed to give participants the chance to play at China’s ‘home of golf’, the exclusive Mission Hills resort, as well as the opportunity to travel to St Andrews, the international birthplace of the game.
Teeing-off on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Dongguan, the tournament will feature teams of four, each comprising a professional and three amateurs, and will use Stableford scoring.
The victorious foursome will win a trip to play at St Andrews together with a tour of the famous clubhouse, university and museum.
Teams’ entry fees will go towards the scholarship fund as will proceeds from a golf memorabilia auction in the evening.
“Students from China represent our second largest overseas contingent here at St Andrews and contribute much to the vibrant, multi-cultural learning
environment of the university,” said Professor Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.
“This pioneering tournament not only benefits future Chinese students, it enhances our efforts to build relationships with China in general.”
The golf memorabilia auction, which will take place as part of the prize giving evening, will include items signed by Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter and Annika Sorenstam.
Chinese golfing great Zhang Lianwei is making a special contribution to the auction – himself. Zhang, the first mainland Chinese player to win a European Tour event, has agreed to play a round of golf with the highest bidder.
“It is wonderful to see Mission Hills and the University of St Andrews teaming up in such a positive way to help young Chinese golfers realise their academic and sporting potential,” said Zhang.
“This tournament is a marvellous example of how golf can give back to society and I’m more than happy to donate my time and effort towards making it a success.”
The tournament is part of an escalating programme of activities and exchanges between Mission Hills and the University of St Andrews.
These include Mission Hills making a financial contribution to the town’s museum, to which St Andrews has responded by donating exhibits for the soon-to-be-opened Dr David Chu Golf Museum – the first such public facility in China – at Mission Hills Shenzhen.