Casey and Westwood top billing for Fanling

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 October, 2009, 12:00am

Two of the world's top five players - Paul Casey and Lee Westwood - have added more star appeal to next month's US$2.5 million UBS Hong Kong Open.

The English pair will be joined by compatriot Ian Poulter, 21st in the world, and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling from November 12-15.

The quartet - all Ryder Cup winners - join a sparkling line-up that includes Asia's first major winner, Yang Yong-eun of South Korea, defending champion Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan and the man he beat in last year's dramatic play-off duel, Northern Irish youngster Rory McIlroy.

As world number four, Casey will be the highest-ranked player to appear in the historic tournament since the Official World Golf Ranking system was introduced in 1986.

'The Hong Kong Open is not only a wonderful and historic tournament in its own right, it is also pivotal in the 2009 Race To Dubai, so it promises to be a very exciting week,' said Casey, who has 10 European Tour victories.

'I've been fortunate enough to win two European Tour events in China in the past so hopefully I can reproduce that sort of form.'

Casey enjoyed a sensational first half of 2009 with three huge victories in the Abu Dhabi Championship, the Shell Houston Open - his first win on the US PGA Tour - and the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship.

He was sidelined by a rib injury at the start of August but has been given the all-clear to return to action next week.

Westwood has enjoyed plenty of success in Asia with victories in Japan, Malaysia and Macau, but will be making his first appearance in Hong Kong.

His success at last week's Portugal Masters took his European Tour victory total to 19 and elevated him to number five in the world.

It also lifted him above McIlroy into top spot in the European Tour's Race To Dubai with season earnings of Euro2,241,940 (HK$26 million).