American Tony Finau hopes to start the new year by producing a winning performance with a calm mind as he takes on a galaxy of Asian Tour stars when the Hong Kong Open gets underway on Thursday.
“I’m really excited to be here in Hong Kong,” Finau said. “It’s my first time. I just played the golf course for the first time and I think it’s going to be a great test. I’m enjoying my time here. I feel like I’m well rounded, so I look forward to the test. It’s a short golf course, if you hit it in the fairway and hole some putts you could be holding the trophy at the end of the week.”
Finau’s mantra to his rise on the world stage is largely attributed to his ability to stay calm under pressure and the World No.16 is ready to stick to his mental process when he tees off at the Hong Kong Golf Club for the first time this week.
“My coach and I talk about it all the time. There are three things which we don’t want to be doing on the golf course, panic, don’t panic and don’t panic. We brought that up at the Presidents Cup,” he said. “Obviously we were down as a team and I was down in my match against Hideki Matsuyama but I just have that attitude that don’t panic, keep going and anything can happen.”
More than 30 Asian Tour champions will also get their 2020 season underway at Hong Kong’s longest standing professional sporting event, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association, with the European Tour continuing to stage the tournament.
Among them is India’s Shiv Kapur, who is determined to earn his place at the Olympics, starting with a solid performance at the Hong Kong Open which boasts a prize purse of US$1 million.
RIGHT: Reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry joins Finau as one of the favourites at the postponed Hong Kong Open this week. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Kapur and Finau will have their work cut out with reigning Open champion Shane Lowry in the field.
The 32-year-old Irishman may have missed the cuts in his previous two appearances at the Hong Kong Open in 2009 and 2010. But with a Major credential to his proud career record now, Lowry knows he has every chance of adding his name to the illustrious list of Hong Kong Open champions.
“I have played here twice, in 2009 and 2010 and it’s good to be back in Hong Kong, I’m very excited and looking forward to the week,” Lowry said. “I played the golf course today and it’s great so hopefully it will be a good week. It’s my first tournament of the year and hopefully I can go out and shoot some good scores.”
Hong Kong will be represented by 13 players in Matthew Cheung, Isaac Lam, Terrence Ng and Lou Tan Chi Hin – all qualifiers for the original November date, and Jason Hak Shun Yat, Motin Yeung, Ben Wong, Leon D’Souza, Taichi Kho, Alexander Yang, James Stewart, Derek Fung and Wilson Choy, who received invitations to compete in their national Open.