Jason Hak heads Hong Kong hopes at second Clearwater Bay Open

Posted: Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017

Jason Hak Shun-yat has confirmed that he will compete in the Clearwater Bay Open for a second year as the PGA TOUR China event returns to The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club from November 2-5.

Hak admitted he will return to Hong Kong a more confident figure after winning his first pro title earlier this year.

In August, the Hong Kong-born 23-year-old shot a closing 65 to secure a 10-stroke victory at the Yunnan Championship in Kunming, ending a frustrating run since turning professional in August 2013 following his freshman year at Georgia Tech.

“At the time, I obviously enjoyed the victory, especially as I was playing really well. It’s only now I can appreciate how important it was for me to finally get a win,” said Hak, who is sponsored by The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club.

“I had been in a good position to win a few times, especially last year, but I was my own worst enemy when I was chasing.

“I’m playing well again and happy to be heading to Hong Kong again and playing at Clearwater Bay. Now, if I’m in a strong position, I’ll know I’ve closed out before, which should help.”

Last year, Australian Daniel Nisbet emerged victorious after a playoff, describing Clearwater Bay as “the most breathtaking course I’ve ever played”.

Hak will again carry Hong Kong’s best hope of a local victory at the Clearwater Bay Open, which this year has an increased purse of RMB1.5 million, up 25 per cent from RMB1.2 million last year.

“There was a bit of attention on me last year because I’m from Hong Kong. I fell away a bit after the second round, but I had a good weekend and finished okay,” said Hak, who tied for 20th after a seven-under-par closing round of 63.

“Every time I tee up, I really just want to play well and then hope I’m in contention at the weekend, especially on Sunday afternoon.”

Last year, local stalwart James Stewart competed on an invite from the Hong Kong Professional Golfers’ Association (HKPGA), while the Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) awarded an invite to amateur Leon D’Souza, then 18.

Fellow teenage amateurs Isaac Lam and Yue Yin-ho extended the Hong Kong presence in the field when they progressed through the Monday qualifying tournament.

This year’s Clearwater Bay Open will again feature a Monday qualifier, which offers the chance for Hong Kong amateurs and pros to join the field, while local players could again compete on sponsor invites in the 120-player line-up.

David Hui, a member of the event’s Organising Committee, said he hoped there would be a stronger local contingent competing in the 72-hole tournament this year.

“We’re delighted that Jason will again be playing in the Clearwater Bay Open. At last year’s event, we announced that The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club was sponsoring him. We’re delighted he has since secured his first pro title but we’re always so happy to support Jason just because of who he is and how he continues to represent Hong Kong,” said Hui, a former President of the Hong Kong Golf Association.

“We expect further Hong Kong players to compete through invites and we will obviously be cheering on all local players in the Monday qualifier and hope they can do as well as Isaac and Yin-ho last year. We had three teenage amateurs from Hong Kong in last year’s field, which shows the strength of our young players and our junior programme.”

Greg Carlson, Executive Director, PGA TOUR China, said: “This is one of our favourite tournaments to work on and the players who competed last year have been keen to return as Clearwater Bay is truly one of the most spectacular courses in Asia.

“There was some fantastic golf played last year, with low scores by players from around the world, finishing with an exciting playoff. We’re hoping for more of the same this year.”

Eligible players include all 2016 PGA TOUR China tournament winners, the top 60 money-winners on the 2016 PGA TOUR China Order of Merit, the top 30 available players from the 2016 China Golf Association Ranking List, 10 open qualifiers and 10 sponsor exemptions.

Also, among others, up to 10 current Web.com Tour or PGA TOUR members and the top-three available finishers on the 2017 Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit and the 2016 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit will be eligible to play.

In October 2015, The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club hosted the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which Chinese teenager Jin Cheng won to earn a place in the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

Since 2003, The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club has been committed to its Community Outreach Program, an initiative aimed at strengthening neighbourhood ties, preserving the environment and upholding family values while working with charity partners to organise and raise funds for different sectors of people in the community.

Photos of 2017 Clearwater Bay Open Media Day include (left-right):

Greg Carlson, Executive Director, PGA TOUR China

David Hui, Organising Committee, Clearwater Bay Open 2017

Raymond Roessel, Tournament Director, Clearwater Bay Open 2017

Credit: Sports Image Plus