With the first shots of the week the preparations for the start of the 2014 BMW Masters in Shanghai (28th October to 2nd November) reached their final phase. On Tuesday, Jamie Donaldson (Wales) and Thomas Björn (Denmark), both members of the winning European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles (Scotland), faced Chinese local heroes Wu Ashun and Li Hao-Tong in a “Nearest-the-Pin Challenge” at Lake Malaren Golf Club.

At this first showdown of the stars “Team China” emerged victorious, winning two new BMW i8 cars – but in their remote-control model version. A real plugin hybrid sports car awaits the one out of the 78 top pros that scores the first hole-in-one on the 17th hole.

Prior to that, Karsten Engel, President and CEO of BMW Group Region China, had officially opened the tournament week during a press conference.

“This week we will have a very strong force in the field here at the 2014 BMW Masters, with many members of the victorious European Ryder Cup team being present in Shanghai,” said Engel. “It will be an exciting week, as everyone aims at gaining a good position in the Final Series of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. 2014 is the year of the horse in the Chinese calendar – so I wish all the 78 competing players a lot of horse power, and a lot of Sheer Driving Pleasure.

BMW has been a strong supporter of golf for the past 25 years. In China, our commitment to professional golf started ten years ago, right here in Shanghai. Since then we have witnessed a tremendous growth of golf in this country. The success of the BMW Masters just shows what can be achieved if you are passionate and dedicated. So we are very proud to play here in China and to support the sport.”

“The Final Series is very important for us players, and right at the start here in Shanghai two of the biggest partners of golf come together: BMW and China,” said Björn, who is currently ranked fifth in the “Race to Dubai”. “The commitment of BMW is stronger than ever. We as players always look forward to play here at the BMW Masters. The course is in really good shape. We are always very good taken care of, that’s why playing here is just big fun. Although we are travelling a lot all year, I can say that we pretty much feel at home here.”

Hao-Tong, just 19 years of age, is one of the young hopefuls in Chinese golf. He got off to a perfect start into the week by putting one of his three shots closest to the pin. “This was a nice opening,” said Hao-Tong. “I know the course here at Lake Malaren pretty well, and after some successes lately I’m really full of confidence. I will give my very best to achieve a good result here at the BMW Masters. For young players like me it’s always fantastic to be part of such a big event. It gives you a lot of experience.”

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