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UBS Hong Kong Open 2016

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UBS Hong Kong Open

Hong Kong amateur Humphrey Wong approaching Open test with new mindset

Teenager spends five weeks meditating in the foothills of the Himalayas in India ahead of this week’s trip to Hong Kong Golf Club

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2016, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2016, 11:00pm

Don’t look for any nerves from teenage amateur Humphrey Wong when he tees up for the US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open on Thursday.

After five weeks meditating in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, nothing should faze the 18-year-old from Hong Kong.

“I just recently came back from a monastery in Sikkim where I was learning meditation,” Wong revealed.

“I was there for a month working on my breathing. Hopefully it will help on the golf course, but I haven’t tried it out yet. I loved it.”

For those old enough to remember, thoughts immediately turn to Chevy Chase as the philandering professional Ty Webb and those immortal words from the 1980 golfing classic Caddyshack: “Just be the ball.”

It remains to be seen how Wong’s new-found equilibrium plays out on the golf course, but if the smile he is carrying around is any indication, results – at this stage at least – won’t matter that much.

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“Enjoy it, have fun, get some experience,” is his plan of attack.

“I am happy enough with my game considering this has been my gap year and I have only played a few events,” continued Wong. “ I am really looking forward to getting out there.”

Wong qualified for the main event back in September after coming through a two round shoot-out for 37 invited local professionals and amateurs at Hong Kong Golf Club and this will mark the second time he has made it on to the big stage after a debut in 2013 that saw him miss the cut.

“I learned quite a lot from the professionals then,” said Wong.

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“If they were not striking the ball well they still managed to keep their score low. So I learned more about how to manage my game and how to recover from bad shots.”

The officials gathered at Tuesday’s launch all lined up to praise the efforts of local amateur Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching this year, with Hong Kong’s golfing Olympian beating the odds stacked considerably against her when making it to Rio.

Pretty much the feel-good story of a year in a city in dire need of just that – and Wong said the achievement had inspired everyone involved with the game.

“We’ve all felt it and we’re all very proud of her,” said Wong. “Local born and playing in the Olympics. It is an honour to say that I know her. It’s made us all want to do better.”