Applause for Hong Kong Golf Club Galleries

Spectators at Hong Kong Golf Club watch Cam Smith tee-off in the inaugural LIV Golf Hong Kong. Picture by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf.

Hong Kong SAR, China: Large and enthusiastic crowds at the historic Hong Kong Golf Club made a huge impact on the players at the inaugural LIV Golf Hong Kong.

Not even persistent rain late in the afternoon at the famous Fanling venue could dampen their spirits.

“It was incredible,” said individual winner Abraham Ancer. “Even when we were getting the trophy, it was pouring rain outside, and everybody was out there, which was really nice. Everybody was extremely supportive.

“Every hole I felt like there was great energy. Today was pretty packed out there, and it was exciting. It was a privilege feeling those nerves throughout the round. That’s kind of the way I looked at it. Tried to channel that into something positive.”

Paul Casey, beaten at the first extra hole by Ancer in a three-way play-off that also included Cameron Smith, said: “An absolute joy. It was a buzz. Adelaide is probably the one that we’re all measuring things by, but Hong Kong should be very proud of themselves.”

After two flawless days, Ancer’s final round turned into a tough, challenging afternoon in the rain. But with the individual title on the line, the Fireballs GC star produced the kind of ball-striking worthy of a champion.
Ancer beat Smith and Casey with a birdie on the first play-off hole to win his first individual LIV Golf title, while Casey and his Crushers GC team-mates won their second consecutive team trophy with another final-round rally for a two-stroke victory over Torque GC.
It was a thrilling conclusion for both titles – although Ancer would have settled for minimal tension after starting out with a five-stroke lead thanks to opening rounds of 63 and 62. He shot a two-over 72 on Sunday, making his only three bogeys of the week, but he persevered when needed.

“It was definitely a grind,” Ancer said. “I made it a lot more stressful than I envisioned it. I’m really proud of how I felt mentally and how I fought the whole round not having my best stuff.”

Casey shot a six-under 64 and Smith, the Ripper GC captain, shot 66 to catch Ancer. But in the play-off at the difficult par-four 18th, Casey’s drive left him with no chance to reach the green in two, while Smith’s approach found the greenside bunker. Both players ultimately made bogeys.

Meanwhile, Ancer hit a perfect drive with his five-wood, then followed with an equally sensational approach with his eight-iron inside five feet for the winning birdie.

He said: “I think that second shot was even more important than the tee ball just because I haven’t hit one good iron shot all day, and I knew I wanted to pull it off. My caddie kind of pumped me up. It’s like, all right, it’s time to hit the shot of the day, and it came out perfect. I couldn’t be happier with how I played that play-off.”

Casey was also seeking his first LIV Golf individual title but could still celebrate a team victory with the Crushers, who last week in Jeddah rallied from 11 shots down entering the final round for the win.

On Sunday, the Crushers were seven shots back of the 36-hole leader Fireballs but shot a collective 14-under in the final round to finish at 35-under. In addition to Casey’s 64, captain Bryson DeChambeau shot 66, Charles Howell III contributed a 67 and Anirban Lahiri added a 68.

Going back to last season, the Crushers have now won four of the last seven LIV Golf events, including the 2023 Team Championship.

“What a great group of guys,” Casey said. “We’ve got something – we spoke briefly about it after Jeddah, that we’ve got something that you can’t measure, and I firmly believe that.”

Added DeChambeau: “We know with four scores counting, we’re going to be in it no matter what the last day. We put the pedal to the metal today and showcased who we are.”

*Hong Kong Golf Club is a Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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