Wilson aiming for HK breakthrough
Oliver Wilson is hoping to put his best foot forward at this week's UBS Hong Kong Open as the Englishman continues his search for a long-awaited breakthrough victory.
Sporting what can only be described as an unusual pair of golf shoes, which Wilson insists are all part of the modern biomechanical approach to the game, the 30-year-old made the best of missing the cut in Singapore at the weekend with an extended putting session at the Hong Kong Golf Club yesterday.
And with success with the flat stick key to a low round on the grainy and notoriously tough-to-read Fanling greens, Wilson hopes the hard work will ensure his hit-or-miss love affair with the Composite Course lands on the right side this week after missing the cut last year, having seen another chance for a maiden victory slip through his hands in 2008.
'I have missed a couple of cuts in Hong Kong, but I have got a pretty good record and I have been in contention,' said Wilson, while standing on the practice putting green at Fanling wearing his toed slipper-like footwear. 'It has either been missed cut or in contention. Even if I haven't finished right, I have been in there on the Sunday.'
Wilson, who is still chasing a maiden victory with nine second-place finishes including four play-off defeats, eventually finished tied for sixth in 2008, as the memorable play-off involving Rory McIlroy and eventual winner Lin Wen-tang grabbed the headlines. 'I feel pretty good at this course. I know what I need to do and I know how to play tee to green, it is just whether you can hole the putts,' Wilson said.
'I have a lot of good memories and, fingers crossed, I can be in contention on Sunday. I need a big finish with this week and next week in Dubai being my last two events of the year so I have to step it up.'
Despite feeling a little bit down about his recent results, Wilson does boast two top-10 finishes in Switzerland and Portugal from his last six starts. 'I am feeling good. I have been really frustrated with the greens this year so I am putting in practice to try to improve my green reading of the grain. It is something I have never been brilliant at, but I have got to get much better,' the world's number 81 said.
'I struggled in Singapore but I have done some good work and hopefully as the week goes on I get a bit more confidence and I start holing some putts. Overall, the game is actually in good shape which is why it has been frustrating not getting very good results.'
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie also missed the cut in Singapore and has some unfinished business in Hong Kong after the Scot's challenge last year was ended by a back injury without a ball being struck. 'I have always put Hong Kong in my schedule as a course I like, even though I have never done that well here,' said the 1999 Open winner, who was delighted to accept a sponsors' invitation this week. 'I have been playing lovely, but putting terribly. We only play with grain two or three weeks a year so I spent six hours on the putting green on Sunday.'