Fog may keep contenders at Bay on Lantau

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2008, 12:00am


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Organisers of the Volvo China Open international qualifying event will be looking anxiously for blue skies this morning after thick fog wiped out most of yesterday's practice round at the Discovery Bay Golf Club.

Combined with a howling gale, the unusual weather conditions on Lantau forced the suspension of practice at 10am after visibility was reduced to 30 metres. It did not resume until the fog lifted at 3pm.

'We're hoping play can proceed as planned, but if the fog comes back and prevents the round being finished on schedule we might see the event concluded over 18 holes,' said Alistair Polson, executive director of organisers Richtone Worldwide.

The two-day event is the first of four qualifying tournaments that will see 13 players win through to the US$2.2 million China Open, which will be played at the Beijing CBD International Golf Club in April.

Most of the 80-strong field were left kicking their heels yesterday, but South Korean prospect Noh Seung-yul said the lack of practice would not hamper his quest for victory.

Last week, the 16-year-old from Gangwondo finished joint runner-up in his first professional event, the US$400,000 Sail Open in India.

'I thought I would need to shoot four or five under par to qualify this week, but if the wind continues to blow as hard as it has today I think level par will be good enough to get through,' said Noh, who began playing at the age of seven and reached scratch by the time he turned 13.

'I want to qualify because I've never been to China,' said Noh. 'I'll play in a new Asian Tour event in Thailand next month and I'll also play in the British Open qualifier in Singapore, but apart from those events my schedule is wide open, so it would be nice to ink in the Volvo China Open.'

The home contingent consists of 18 players, including James Stewart, Wong Woon-man, Lee Man-lok, Tang Wai-chun, Cheung Kin-ping and TV presenter Dominique Boulet.