Leading Asian golfers are likely to be discouraged from competing in December's Hong Kong Open and instead compete in the rival Omega Tour's US$250,000 Royal Classic in Thailand. In a revised schedule released yesterday, the Omega Tour announced that the Thailand Royal Classic will be played from December 5-8, at the same time as Fanling's Hong Kong Open, which belongs to the Asian Tour. The Asian Professional Golfers' Association, who control the Omega Tour, was stung earlier this year by the Hong Kong Golf Association's decision to stay with the Asian Tour instead of joining the new circuit. The APGA's Tony Morgan said under the Tour's rules, players affiliated with the body may apply for exemptions to play on other Tours if two tournaments clash. 'The APGA board will have a meeting in Singapore soon and players will be free to apply for exemption,' said Morgan. But whether the body will sanction applications by players to play in Hong Kong is another question given the tense climate that exists between the two bodies. Morgan added that the APGA had no choice but to schedule an event to clash with the Hong Kong Open, which will be held immediately before the APGA's year-ending US$500,000 Omega Championships at the territory's Clearwater Bay Golf Club. 'It's just a week when we will be having a tournament,' said Morgan. 'We were originally keeping that week free as we were banking on having the Hong Kong Open at that time. 'But Hong Kong Open organisers were not accommodating.' Morgan said that Asian players are likely to treat the Thailand tournament seriously as it is the penultimate event of the season offering an opportunity to earn valuable returns for the Order of Merit standings. The Tour resumes next month with the US$500,000 Canon Singapore Open, the ninth leg of the season. Meanwhile, Scott Rowe, who is likely to represent Hong Kong at November's World Amateur Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy, shot the day's best score, a five-under-par 67, as the United States collegiate golfers beat their Japanese counterparts for the first time in six years in Ichihara, Japan. Representing Northwestern University, Rowe led the Americans to a 34-26 victory in the annual Fuji Xerox US-Japan Collegiate Golf Championship. The victory ended Japan's five-year winning streak. Overall, the Americans now lead 14-7 in the series, which began in 1975.