The best players from the Asian Tour including Merit leader Scott Hend of Australia will head to Shanghai for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions next week.
Played at the exclusive Sheshan International Golf Club, the year’s final WGC event of the year offers a lucrative prize fund of US$9.5million and welcomes a star-studded field that includes eight of the world’s top 10 players.
Hend will spearhead the Asian Tour charge alongside compatriot Marcus Fraser, Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, Korea’s Jeunghun Wang and Philippines Miguel Tabuena at the Shanghai showpiece from October 27-30.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, is also expected to feature prominently amongst the world class line-up headlined by all four 2016 Major champions- Masters Champion Danny Willett, US PGA Championship winner, Jimmy Walker, US Open Champion Dustin Johnson and Open Champion Henrik Stenson.
The leading four not otherwise exempt players on the Asian Tour Order of Merit after the Venetian Macao Open last week qualified for the WGC-HSBC Champions.
While aiming to solidify his position atop the merit rankings, Hend, who has already won twice on the Asian Tour this season, is also looking to end his season on a flourish.
“I’ve been very close to winning the Order of Merit previously, only to the pipped by guys obviously playing a bit better. I should have won more times this year,” said Hend.
The big-hitting Australian secured two victories in Thailand this season and was narrowly denied his 10th Asian Tour title after a play-off defeat in Switzerland last month.
He finished tied-fourth in Korea a fortnight ago and believes he has the form to make his mark in the winner’s circle again.
“I’ve got a few more tournaments until the end of the year and obviously I like to think I can possibly win one of these ones,” said Hend.
In-form Chan, who like Hend has also won twice this season, is confident of putting up another good showing in what will be his first appearance at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
The 30-year-old has made great strides since plying his trade on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) where he is a five-time winner.
He earned his breakthrough in Thailand in July and quickly followed up that victory with another in Japan two months later.
“From winning on the ADT to winning on the Asian Tour now, I think the biggest change is my mindset. I have grown to become a better player not just because of how I play but also how I think now.
“I used to get angry easily on the course. I guess it’s because I was still young. I don’t get angry anymore. The playing experiences helped,” said Chan, who is third on the merit list.
Tabuena will meanwhile relish the prospect of coming up against the world’s best players again when he makes his debut at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
It will be a familiar environment for the 22-year-old all over again, having flown his country flag at the recent Olympic Games in August.
“Playing in the Olympics really helped. Being in the same event where so many top players were there was good.
“I thought myself that my game isn’t that far. It’s a matter of time and you’ve just got to keep grinding and the hard work will pay off,” said Tabuena.
For more details on the WGC-HSBC Champions and all ticket information, please visit www.HSBCgolf.com/mens or follow official WeChat account: HSBCChampions.