Amazing Grace eyes winning debut #VenetianMacaoOpen

Tue 11 Oct 2016

Amazing Grace eyes winning debut #VenetianMacaoOpen

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Macao, October 11: South African star Branden Grace plans to live up to his top billing by winning the US$1.1 million Venetian Macao Open starting on Thursday to ensure he closes out another amazing season.
The world number 14, who has triumphed twice this year and posted six top-10s around the world, is the highest ranked golfer in the field which includes title holder Scott Hend, reigning Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri and Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke and vice captain Ian Poulter, who is making a return from injury.
Anirban Lahiri of India and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland Anirban Lahiri of India and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland
Upon his arrival today, the 28-year-old Grace declared: “I’m very excited to be here. This is my first time to Macao. I’m sure this week will be fun on and off the golf course. I’ve been to Vegas but it’s nice to see a place like this outside the States where you won’t expect this being a small island. It’s phenomenal. I’ve not gotten lost in a hotel before and I got lost for 15 minutes coming from the hotel lobby!”
Grace is hoping to achieve what fellow countryman Ernie Els failed to do, which is to win the Venetian Macao Open. “Ernie has been here many times and he says it’s a fantastic place and the tournament is the way it should be run. Being top-15 in the world, I hope it would be an advantage. Hopefully I’ll be there or there abouts at the end of the week.”
The South African star successfully retained his Qatar Masters title at the start of the year and then claimed a breakthrough victory in the United States in April. He also enjoyed top-five finishes at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, which reinforced his growing reputation as a potential Major winner.
“I’ve ticked off so many of my goals. I’m trying to sneak into the world’s top-10 and stay there which has been a big goal all year. It’s been a great season, which I’ve been consistent to be in the top-15 which shows the consistency. I want to take it week by week, try to win this week and carry on and take the momentum for the weeks coming up,” said Grace, who won the China Open in 2012.
After spending the past two years as captain of the European Ryder Cup team, veteran Clarke is keen to get back into individual mode again. “I couldn’t think of a better place to do that than starting here in Macao. It’s almost like a fresh start for me again in terms of playing and I’m excited to be back,” said the former British Open winner, who featured in the Macao Open back in 1999.
“I played nine holes this morning with Ian Poulter and the trees are now a lot bigger than they were the last time I was here. We used to take some short cuts but I don’t think we can do that now. My priorities in the past two years have been towards the Ryder Cup. Obviously, that’s now finished and from my own perspective and from the European perspective, we had a disappointing result. I couldn’t have done any more than I tried to do. Now I’ve got to get back to the day job and try to hit a golf ball and hit it straight.”
“I’ve ticked off so many of my goals. I’m trying to sneak into the world’s top-10 and stay there which has been a big goal all year. It’s been a great season, which I’ve been consistent to be in the top-15 which shows the consistency. I want to take it week by week, try to win this week and carry on and take the momentum for the weeks coming up." - Branden Grace.

Lahiri, winner of the Venetian Macao Open in 2014 and runner-up in 2013 and last year, is looking to triumph again at one of his favourite hunting grounds on the Asian Tour.
“The golf course is a big challenge. I had some tough years here in my rookie years and I’ve learned to play the golf course. I think I kind of changed my game to adapt to it,” said Lahiri, who is 47-under-par here in the past three seasons.
Venetian Macau Open 2016“I do enjoy it now and I think we’ve had a lot of healthy competition over the years and to see the Venetian Macao Open grow into such a major event, it’s been fantastic. This (course) has got the charm of an old school club and challenges you to hit shots especially when the wind is up. I love the challenge and that is what inspires me to play well here.
Two-time Macao Open winner Zhang Lian-wei, who has only missed the event once since its inauguration in 1998, will be amongst a host of top Chinese players including Liang Wen-chong, the Asian Tour number one in 2007, and youngster Dou Ze-cheng challenging for honours.
“I grew up with this tournament. From the very beginning, the tournament was small but it’s now come to a time where you get a lot of star players playing in it. The growth of Macao and mainland China is very fast. A big thanks to Venetian Macao for helping with the growth of the event,” said the Chinese veteran.
No fewer than 43 Asian Tour winners, seven players from the current top-10 and five Order of Merit champions are in the field this week.
The Venetian Macao became title sponsor of the tournament in 2012 and since then, has seen it develop into one of the most prestigious professional golf tournaments in the region and offers the highest purse at US$1.1 million for a full-field Asian Tour event this year.
The 144-player championship is jointly organised by Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government (MSB) and the Golf Association of Macau. It is sanctioned by both the Asian Tour and the Golf Association of Macau, and promoted by IMG.
For more details on the Venetian Macao Open, please visit: www.thevenetianmacaoopen.com.
Branden Grace of South Africa Branden Grace of South Africa
About Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government (MSB)
Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government, under the capacity of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, is a public organization of administration autonomy. The organization is responsible for the implementation of sport strategy and policy formulated by the Macao SAR Government. Its objective is to stimulate, encourage, and promote all kind of sports in Macao, also to create an essential condition for sport development.
For the development of competitive sports and ‘Sport for all’, Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government organizes various high level international sport competitions as well as recreational classes and thematic ‘Sport for all’ activities each year, in an endeavor to promote the international status of Macao, reinforce communication and co-operation with other countries and cites, enhance citizens’ quality of life and arouse their interest in sport, so as to accelerate and facilitate the enhancement of the level of sport in Macao.
For more information, please visit www.sport.gov.mo
About Golf Association of Macau
Founded in 2000, the Golf Association of Macau is a non-profit organization, with the mission to promote, support and ensure the quality, traditions and development of the game of golf in Macao.
With the mission to encourage and promote golf in Macao, it provides coaching, training and selection of the Macao teams for participation in international events at all levels, and promotes and runs appropriate international and domestic golfing events in Macao, which helps to represent Macao in the golfing world and be a member of appropriate regional and world governing bodies.
About The Venetian® Macao
Opened in 2007, The Venetian® Macao is Macao's first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat Cotai Arena designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; TAIVEXMALO Day Hospital; the incredibly fun QUBE indoor playground and more than 350 retailers at Shoppes at Venetian. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.
For more information, please visit www.venetianmacao.com.
About Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao – Sands China’s Integrated Resort City
Sands China Ltd. is the leading developer, owner and operator of integrated resorts in Macao. The befittingly named Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, situated on reclaimed land between the islands of Coloane and Taipa, is the one destination that provides a stunning array of experiences at the heart of Cotai. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao has transformed a day-trip market into an integrated resort city and international hub for business and leisure travellers.
Pulsating with life, both night and day, Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao features an expansive offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao. . With the opening of The Parisian Macao, it will have  nearly 13,000hotel rooms and suites, international superstar live entertainment, duty-free shopping with more than 850 retailers offering an unparalleled array of name brands, meeting and exhibition space for Asia’s leading conferences and exhibitions, transportation offerings and well over 150 dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants, bars and lounges. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao is a must-go destination providing every guest with an unforgettable experience and unparalleled excitement.
Comprised of The Venetian® Macao; The Plaza™ Macao, featuring the Four Seasons Hotel Macao; and Sands® Cotai Central, featuring the world’s largest Conrad, Sheraton, and  St. Regis hotels as well as the Holiday Inn. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao is where Asia’s ultimate destination is all within reach. And coming in 2016, the crowning achievement of Sheldon G. Adelson’s vision of the Cotai Strip - The Parisian Macao. For more information, please visit ParisianMacao.com.
For more information about Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, please visit http://en.sandsresortsmacao.com.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
Also, visit us at:
www.asiantour.com
www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf
www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf
www.youtube.com/theasiantour
www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, a leading global entertainment agency.