The race to be crowned Europe’s top golfer enters the home straight this week with reputations as well as prize money at stake in the Hong Kong Open.
The tournament is the penultimate event of the European year, before the top 60 head to the season’s glittering finale, the $US7.5 million Dubai World Championship.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, in second place, will look to steal a march on Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer in his fourth tournament appearance in a row, with Kaymer having decided to skip Hong Kong.
US Open champion McDowell cut the gap by $US225,000 on Germany’s Kaymer at the top of the European money list with his joint third place at the Singapore Open.
Kaymer, who could only manage 10th in the event won by Australia’s Adam Scott, now leads the money list by $US500,000 dollars.
Only Kaymer and McDowell can now win the Race. Defendi ng champion Lee Westwood, who lies third, is too far back having chosen to miss Hong Kong.
“Of course, this week is very important to me, it’s important that I get as close as I possibly can going into Dubai next week and... with Martin not being here this week, it’s an opportunity to put some more numbers on the board,” McDowell said.
“The game’s in good shape coming off the back of a decent week in Singapore and I’m very much looking forward to the week.”
The tournament is not just about the big name Europeans with the Asian Tour merit race still wide open with five events remaining.
South Korea’s Noh Seung-Yul goes into Hong Kong with a comfortable lead despite missing the cut for the first time this season in Singapore.
The 19-year-old is on $US801,986 and will continue chasing the honour of becoming the Asian Tour’s youngest ever Order of Merit champion.
Second-placed Marcus Fraser of Australia goes to Hong Kong on $US558,766, having also failed to make the cut in Singapore. Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, who is third in the Order of Merit, also competes.
The UBS Hong Kong Open is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association.