Grace and Lahiri add star power to Venetian Macao Open

Tue 06 Sep 2016

Grace and Lahiri add star power to Venetian Macao Open

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Macao, September 6: World number 13 Branden Grace of South Africa and reigning Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri of India will lend their star credentials to the Venetian Macao Open next month.
The latest addition of marquee names will ensure the 2016 edition of Macao’s flagship golf championship will boast one of its strongest fields ever in its 17-year history when the prestigious tournament tees off at Macau Golf & Country Club from October 13 to 16.
[pullquote align="right"]I am very much looking forward to going to Macao and competing there for the first time. - Branden Grace[/pullquote]Title holder Scott Hend of Australia and Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland earlier confirmed their participation in the US$1.1 million tournament, the richest full-field Asian Tour event this season.
Grace, 28, will be aiming to secure a winning debut at the Venetian Macao Open following a year which has seen him win twice and post two top-five finishes at the Majors. He also made a name for himself at last year’s Presidents Cup in Korea where he notched a perfect record of five wins in as many matches, becoming only the fifth player in history to produce the feat.
“I am very much looking forward to going to Macao and competing there for the first time. I don’t get to play in Asia very often and with golf growing so fast over there, it is always interesting for me to head out to that part of the world to test myself and compete at the best tournaments such as the Venetian Macao Open,” said the South African star, who holds seven wins on the European Tour and one on the PGA Tour secured at the RBC Heritage earlier this season.
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland
“The Venetian Macao Open will be a difficult but satisfying tournament to win. Scott Hend has proven to be almost unbeatable the last few years, and I heard Darren Clarke is coming out too. Together with the top Asian players, there will be a good mix of high quality golfers to compete against, so I am going to make sure I am ready, keep performing well and hopefully continue to climb the rankings.”
Indian star Lahiri, winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2015 and the Venetian Macao Open in 2014, has been Hend’s arch rival over the last three years and took turns to hold aloft the famous trophy.
While the Australian cruised to a three-stroke win over Lahiri in 2013 despite a late rally by the Pune native, the result was reversed the following year when Hend let a two-shot lead slip on the final day to lose his title by one.
Fans were treated to a third instalment of the Hend-Lahiri rivalry last year when the two champions found themselves in the all-too-familiar positions of being first and second going into round four. In the end, Hend held firm and became only the second player to win the prestigious tournament twice, after China golf pioneer Zhang Lian-wei who achieved the feat in 2001 and 2002.
Lahiri, who represented India in the recent Olympic Games, said: “The Venetian Macao Open is one of my favourite stops on tour and I have always enjoyed my time at the Macau Golf and Country Club.
“Scott and I get on very well on and off the course and we seem to always bring the best out of each other in Macao. Scott has had a great run in previous years and I hope to even the score this year with a solid performance. We have had intense battles the last two years on Sunday afternoon and I expect the same this year. I have had a fair season with some good results, but it will be wonderful to get a win at the Venetian Macao Open and even up my score with Hendy.”
Inaugurated in 1998, 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 on the Asian Tour.
Scott Hend of Australia Scott Hend of Australia
The 144-player championship will continue to be 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.
Pun Weng Kun, President, Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government, said: “The confirmation of  Braden and Anirban for the Venetian Macao Open is wonderful news for both the tournament and Macao. With defending champion Scott Hend and a Major winner in the form of Darren Clarke already committed to play, and now to have Braden and Anirban who won the Venetian Macao Open in 2014, fans can look forward a feast of top quality golf at the Macau Golf & Country Club.”
Dr. Wilfred Wong, President of Sands China Ltd., said: “We are delighted to hear the confirmation of two such talented and high profiled players to compete at the Venetian Macao Open. This prestigious event, which we have partnered for five years, is the perfect platform to showcase Macao to the world as a top golfing and travel destination. The participation of these world class golfers will play an important part to achieve this goal. Sands China Ltd looks forward to ensuring all players and fans have a wonderful experience in Macao on-and-off the course at the Venetian Macao Open.”
Kyi Hla Han, Commissioner, Asian Tour added: “The Venetian Macao Open brings together a high quality field every year consisting of the best from the Asia Pacific as well as seasoned tour champions, but with the latest group of players confirmed today, we will have the strongest and most competitive line-up for Macao in recent years. We look forward to showcasing this prestigious tournament to first-timers like Braden and welcoming Anirban back to Macao.
For more details on the Venetian Macao Open, please visit: www.thevenetianmacaoopen.com.
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.
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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.