Hend aims to put the star on banner year #UBSHKOpen

Wed 07 Dec 2016

Hend aims to put the star on banner year #UBSHKOpen

  • SHARE

Hong Kong, December 7: Australian Scott Hend hopes to tick a few boxes at the US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open which starts on Thursday.


Top on his wish-list is to lift the prestigious Hong Kong title for the second time in three years which would then secure two other key goals – win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown and qualify for the Masters Tournament next year.


“The Order of Merit prize is the culmination of the year. The UBS Hong Kong Open is a tournament I'd like to win for a second time. Right now, first and foremost on my mind is winning this tournament,” said the 43-year-old Aussie.


“I've got (other) goals I need to achieve. I win this tournament, I'm possibly in the world's top-50 and get a start in the U.S. Masters next year. If I win the Order of Merit because of that, perfect. Right now, I want to focus on trying to win this tournament and playing the best I can, and then the rest of the accolades can come afterwards.”


Marcus Fraser of Australia Marcus Fraser of Australia


Hend, the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit leader, holds a lead of US$302,419 from countryman Marcus Fraser, who is the only player in the field at Hong Kong Golf Club still in the Merit race. Fraser needs nothing short of a victory and Hend to finish lower than 13th position to overturn the odds.


“It's still open between the two of us. He obviously has the ability to win the tournament this week, as a hundred other guys. But it's something that I would really like to achieve. I could have wrapped it up a while ago, but I didn't,” said Hend, who has won twice on the Asian Tour this year.


“I've got a job to do this week and I'm focused on the job I have to do.”


Concluding his 10th season in Asia, Hend, who is ranked 60th in the world, recalled with great delight his decision to sign up for Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2007 after losing his card in the U.S following a serious hand injury. He is now the most successful international golfer in Asia, winning nine times.


“Asia has been a great pathway for me to get to somewhere else where I wanted to go. You can't always be where you want to be and sometimes you've just got to take what you can. It was a great place for me to be at a time where I had nothing and I came to Q-School and finished runner-up to Ben Leong in Q-School. And from then on, went to Pakistan, finished second to all of a sudden hit greater heights and climb my way up to Top 60 in the world. Hopefully from here, I’ll get on with it.


“It's been a great year. Obviously a couple years ago, I won three times in a year, but this year, I've had a few more top-10s mixed in with the wins. On a scale of 1 to 10, probably I'd rate it around an eight. It would have been nice to win more. I've been in position to win, and that's what we are all about obviously.”


Fraser, who won once in Malaysia this season, played down his chances of upsetting the odds. “It's like giving Usain Bolt a head start in a 90-metre race; it's highly unlikely. It's not one of my priorities,” said Fraser.


“Asia has been a great pathway for me to get to somewhere else where I wanted to go. You can't always be where you want to be and sometimes you've just got to take what you can. It was a great place for me to be at a time where I had nothing and I came to Q-School and finished runner-up to Ben Leong in Q-School. And from then on, went to Pakistan, finished second to all of a sudden hit greater heights and climb my way up to Top 60 in the world. Hopefully from here, I’ll get on with it." - Scott Hend


“My priority is playing well this week. It's a golf course I love playing, and Hendy has played well all year and deserves to win, and in my eyes, I think it's all done and dusted.”


Justin Rose of England Justin Rose of England


UBS Hong Kong Open title holder Justin Rose is determined to put his injury troubles behind him and mount a strong defence. The Englishman shut down for two months after the Ryder Cup in an attempt to resolve his back issues and returned to action last week at the Hero World Challenge.


He was forced to withdraw after the first round in the Bahamas with more back trouble and admits his preparation for this week has not been ideal. The Olympic Gold medalist from Rio 2016 has been working hard to get back to fitness and is hopeful of making another tilt.


"I've done everything I can the last few days to do everything I can to defend here,” said the 2013 US Open champion. “I'm making good progress. The journey over here seemed to go well and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I've been working hard to be honest with you for seven weeks. I've been really excited about what I've seen in my game in practice.


"Last week was a mishap for sure but I feel good about things in general. I feel optimistic about next year. Certainly I feel motivated and I feel hungry.”


Entry to the first two rounds of this year's tournament on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 December will be free of charge. Those aged under 21 will be admitted free of charge for all four days of the tournament, as the organisers push to introduce the game to wider segments of the Hong Kong community in 2016.


Following the success of the inaugural event last year, the UBS Hong Kong Open Charity Cup will return on 14 December with local singer and artist, Alan Tam, as Official Ambassador. The HK$2.3 million was raised in 2015 for three local charities, making it the most successful fundraising initiative for the entire European Tour season.


About UBS Group AG


UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.


UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in 54 countries, with about 34% of its employees working in the Americas, 35% in Switzerland, 18% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 13% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs approximately 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).


www.ubs.com


About Mega Events Fund


This year the “UBS Hong Kong Open” is sponsored by the Mega Events Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The Fund was set up in 2009 to support mega arts, cultural, sports and entertainment events to be staged in Hong Kong. With the approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, the operation of the Fund has been extended for five years until the end of March 2017 with a view to attracting more internationally acclaimed mega events to Hong Kong and reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as the events capital of Asia.


 


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