PGA Tour China Series Spreads its Wings

Tim Finchem and Clearwater Bay Chairman Wyman Li.
Tim Finchem and Clearwater Bay Chairman Wyman Li.

Hong Kong: The PGA Tour has expanded its footprint in Asia with the addition of the Clearwater Bay Open to the Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA Tour China Series.
The 72-hole event will be held at the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong and will be the first PGA Tour China Series event held outside mainland China.
A three-year agreement signed by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club Chairman Wyman Li is in place, running through the 2018 season.
The 2016 Clearwater Bay Open will take place from November 3-6, featuring a 120-player field, with an eligibility component similar to that used at other PGA Tour China Series events.
The purse will be RMB1.2 million (about US$184,000). The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club will also serve as the tournament’s title sponsor.
Greg Gilligan, PGA Tour Vice President and Greater China Managing Director, said: “We are excited about the upcoming Clearwater Bay Open in Hong Kong. This new tournament marks further development of the PGA Tour China Series’ presence and its impact in the greater China region.
“We’d like to thank the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club for its commitment to the PGA Tour China Series. I am sure the players will love the spectacular course and enjoy the tournament experience in Hong Kong, truly one of the world’s great cities.”
The PGA Tour already holds a FedEx Cup-counting tournament in Malaysia, the CIMB Classic, and has indicated a desire to establish itself further in Asia.
Over the course of the past year, discussions were held with the Asian Tour about a possible link-up between the two bodies.
However, the Asian Tour recently confirmed that it is entering a ‘strategic alliance’ with the European Tour.
The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, established in 1982, offers an 18-hole course divided into two parts: the Highland Nine and the Ocean Nine. The club is located in the New Territories and is situated on a peninsula with stunning views of the South China Sea and Hong Kong.
After its initial opening, the team of Thomson Perrett redesigned the course layout to its current specifications.
“We are delighted as well as proud to be the host and title sponsor of the Clearwater Bay Open this year. In the past, we have been actively promoting sports development in the community, particularly junior golf,” said Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club Chairman Li.
Clearwater Bay Golf  Country Club was the host venue for the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, a tournament won by China teenager Jin Cheng, who is the only amateur to win a PGA Tour China Series event – the 2014 Nine Dragons Open.
“The 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur was a resounding success on and off the golf course. It is indeed an honour for us to play host again, this time for such an important and highly acclaimed, leading professional golf tournament in Asia,” Li added.
The PGA Tour China Series is in its third season as a home Tour for elite players from both China and other countries. The Series also offers players the opportunity to advance to higher levels of the world stage.
Similar to PGA Tour Latinoamérica and the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada, the PGA Tour China Series provides access to the Tour for the season’s top players.
The Series also awards Official World Golf Ranking points at every event, which is the eligibility mechanism to participate in golf at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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