Hoylake Incentive Fuels Poulter’s HKGC Bid

Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter are among the main drawcards at this week’s World City Championship in Hong Kong. Picture by Ike Li/Ike Images.

Hong Kong: The leading four players not already exempt who make the cut in the World City Championship presented by Hong Kong Golf Club will earn places in The 151st Open.
The fourth event in The Open Qualifying Series, the World City Championship, a full field Asian Tour event, tees-off today over the Composite Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club, a Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, the 2016 Open champion, is the only player in the starting line-up who is already exempt for The 151st Open, to be staged at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake from July 20-23.

In the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the beginning of the week commencing March 20 will be awarded a place in The 151st Open.
Any golfer earning a qualifying place who then becomes exempt under one or more categories before the closing date of entries for The Open on June 1 will result in that place being awarded to the next non-exempt golfer, which will determined by a reserve list for each event played before this date.

England’s Ian Poulter, a European Ryder Cup stalwart over the past decade, is among those eyeing an Open Championship exemption.

The 47-year-old Poulter wrote his name into the Hong Kong Open history books with a record-setting 22-under-par final score when he captured the Hong Kong Open in 2010.

He said: “This is a big thing for the Asian Tour, for Hong Kong to have. We can go there, we can play a golf course I know and hopefully we can go and qualify for the Open Championship at the same time.

“In Hong Kong there has always been fantastic support. The local level of support has always been fantastic. I’m excited about the opportunity to come back.

“Every time we play in Asia, we see new, incredible golf talent coming through. So, I’m expecting to see some youngsters. I’m old enough to be their father – but hopefully I’m older and wiser enough to still keep them at bay for a bit longer.”

The 46-year-old Stenson’s connections with the region date back more than 20 years. But this week’s event is his first visit to the Hong Kong Golf Club.

He said: “When I’m thinking about golf in Asia, there’s a couple of courses that come to mind and, obviously, Hong Kong and Fanling is one of them. I’m really looking forward to coming in there and also to seeing some of the local talent.

“We’ve seen the growth, we’ve seen the improvement, and you see it on every Tour around the world – you see names popping up, strong players coming out of Asia.

“You see the amateurs getting the opportunity to play at Augusta and [talent has] just been kind of drip feeding from Asia for a long, long time.”

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