The Hong Kong Open was first played in 1959 on the Asian Tour, but since 2001 it has become a con-sanctioned event that now starts the 2017/18 European Tour Season.
The event is once again being played at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling, Hong Kong, with the tournament using a mix of holes from the Club’s Eden and New Courses to provide a 6,710-yards par 70. Short by modern standards, the tree-lined course provides players with a mix of dog-legs, water hazards and drainage ditches awaiting those that stray off-line.
The last 4 winners have been an interesting mix, with Miguel Angel Jimenez winning the last of his 4 Hong Kong Open Titles in 2013, whilst the big-hitting Scott Hend won in 2014, the top-class Justin Rose winning in 2015, and the relatively unknown Sam Brazel winning his first European Tour Tournament in 2016 – with winning scores between –12 and –17.
If Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose or Sergo Garcia win this week, it will be a mightily impressive effort after the roller-coaster final round of the Race To Dubai last week, and I’m not sure any of them would be here if not requested to be by their sponsors. Therefore, it may pay to looks elsewhere in the market.
Paul Peterson is one of 3 picks this week, as went into the notebook as a future winner of this after sitting 6 under par after two rounds last year. The American usually plays well in Asia, in the top-8 in his last 3 visits to this part of the world, and let’s not forget that he is a winner on the European Tour. His long game has also been in great order or late, and he’ll be one player who has had this event at the forefront of his mind whilst the Race To Dubai came to its conclusion.
The second player I’m backing this week is Marcus Fraser, as the Australian has a nice mix of course form and current form. Not only has he got two top-5 finished at the Hong Kong Golf Club to his name, but he’s also won two events in Asia. His accurate tee-to-green game is well-suited to this layout, and his lack of length isn’t really a hindrance here, and his game looked in good order when finishing fifth on a similar layout in the Italian Open.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rai is another who may have dreams of winning the Race To Dubai in the future but he’ll also have been concentrating his thoughts on preparing for a tournament that should play to his strengths. One of the most accurate drivers on the European Tour, he’s proved he can win at a lower-level, and this looks a track where he could easily compete with the big boys, especially if they’re lacking motivation this week.
Hong Kong Open Tips
Paul Peterson 1 Point Each-Way @ 80/1 PaddyPower (pays 7 places)
Marcus Fraser 1 Point Each-way @ 66/1 PaddyPower (pays 7 places)
Aaron Rai 1 Point Each-Way @ 50/1 PaddyPower (pays 7 places)