Golf

Liu, 18, eager to take on the professionals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am

Konstantin Liu Lok-tin believes this week's Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship will provide the perfect opportunity for him to kick-start his fledgling professional career.

Eighteen-year-old Liu, a former amateur champion, joined the paid ranks last September after helping guide Hong Kong to second place at the Southeast Asian Amateur Golf Team Championship - the Putra Cup. Notching a succession of steady, if unspectacular, results on the developmental tours of Asia and Europe in the months since, Liu says he's glad to be home.

'It's going to be great to play in Hong Kong again,' said Liu, who spent the early part of the year practising and competing in Germany and Spain. 'Playing in Europe has been a wonderful experience - I've learned a lot about myself and my game - but it's also nice to be back for a while and play on courses I am very familiar with.'

At last year's HKPGA Championship, Liu, then an amateur, produced a stellar showing by opening with a 66 before finishing in a tie for fifth behind eventual champion Jean van de Velde. That performance, combined with an improvement in his driving accuracy, means his confidence levels are high.

'I'm really feeling good about my game - it's sharp,' said the long-hitting Liu, who is managed by entertainment industry agent Paco Wong Pak-go. 'I was the best amateur in the tournament on my debut, and although the field is looking very strong this year, my goal is to win. It would be fantastic to get my first professional victory in Hong Kong.'

The 54-hole tournament, which begins tomorrow and boasts a prize purse of HK$400,000, welcomes back 1990 US PGA Championship winner Wayne Grady for a third consecutive year, while Asian Tour regulars Lam Chih Bing of Singapore and Korean-born Australian Unho Park have bolstered the field. Van de Velde is unable to defend his title because of business commitments in France. The first and second rounds will be held at the Hong Kong Golf Club and Discovery Bay Golf Club respectively, while the North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course will host the final round.