Nov 09, 2018: The race to become Asia’s number one golfer is set to heat up when the HONMA Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi gets underway at the Hong Kong Golf Club from November 22-25.
With more than 30 Asian Tour champions from over 15 countries expected to tee up at the US$2 million event, the fierce battle for supremacy on the Hong Kong Golf Club’s composite Championship Course in Fanling is poised to be a highly charged one.
India’s Shubhankar Sharma leads the Habitat for Humanity standings by slightly more than US$130,000 over second-placed Sanghyun Park of Korea and with the winner’s purse worth US$333,330, the claim for pole position is still wide open.
Sharma, who finished tied-10th at the Hong Kong Open last year, is ready to cement his position atop the standings after enjoying an outstanding season which has seen him win his second Asian Tour title in Malaysia in February and posting several impressive results globally.
Sharma also played in all four Majors this year and finished tied-ninth at the World Golf Championships in Mexico, having led in the second and third rounds.
“This year has been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve played in some of the biggest events I could ever imagine and learned a lot.
“I’ll be playing Hong Kong and the next few events after that. So I’m looking forward to playing well now. It’s high time. It’s the end of the year now and I feel like I’ve to do my best to have a chance to win the Order of Merit and I’ll try and do that,” said the Indian.
Sharma will have to fend off the challenges of several of his closest rivals including South Africa’s Justin Harding, who has also enjoyed a standout season with two wins and two top-five finishes in only six starts on the Asian Tour.
“It has been a nice year, casually moving up and up as I continue to put together some nice results. I guess I can say I’ve been going places.
“I didn’t really expect this when I played my first event out here. I can’t really explain it. It’s a matter of taking each round as it comes and giving myself chances come Sunday.
“It’s just a matter of trying to minimise mistakes throughout the year. You have your weeks when you make a couple more than most. I manage to minimize that,” said Harding.
The HONMA Hong Kong Open is tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association. It also marks the start of the European Tour’s 2019 Race to Dubai.
The tournament will welcome the return of defending champion Wade Ormsby of Australia and also feature reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed, 2017 Green Jacket winner Sergio Garcia as well as world number 10 Tommy Fleetwood of England.