Merrill Lynch's annual sporting event gives a big boost to charity campaign Finance house Merrill Lynch, a long-term supporter of Operation Santa Claus, has given the campaign a fantastic boost by raising HK$700,000 through its annual golf day. Around 100 Merrill Lynch employees and clients headed to the Mission Hills Golf Club in Dongguan on a sunny day last week for the tenth Annual Merrill Lynch-Operation Santa Claus Charity Golf Day. 'We are very proud to be a long-term supporter of the charity campaign and the excellent work it does on behalf of the less privileged. We hope that this event will continue well into the future,' said K.L. Wong, chairman of Asia Origination at Merrill Lynch. This year the investment bank will underwrite the wishes of two Operation Santa Claus beneficiaries - the Playright Children's Play Association, which will provide toys and play services to children in local hospitals, and the Chi Heng Foundation, which will set up reading rooms in six schools in Aids-stricken areas of the mainland. The HK$700,000 raised came from golfers' entry fees, cash donations and sponsorships of HK$15,000 for each of the 18 holes. There were also raffles and mulligan tickets, where players could pay HK$100 to offset a bad shot. 'This has become an annual fixture on the calendar. People are very busy every day, but we all look forward to this event. It's a great day off,' said Mark Tsang, vice-president of marketing and communications. John Pang, the owner of financial company Seven Twenty-Four, hit two birdies in a row, which impressed his friends. 'The weather is nice, and I have very good luck,' said the businessman, one of last year's winners. Jonathan Hirst, publisher of Haymarket Media, said he had enjoyed the day though the course was tough. 'I had a few drives today and did get the ball on the green, but my performance was not very good overall,' he said. 'You can say I am a golfer, but you might not be seeing that today.' It was the forth time Mr Hirst had taken part in the event and his company sponsored one of the holes. 'This is always an enjoyable event and we're happy to make it a more meaningful one by helping Operation Santa Claus.' Cara Eio, Merrill Lynch head of corporate access for Asia-Pacific, won the best gross score for women, while the men's prize went to David Cairns, first vice-president of Merrill Lynch & Co Finance. In addition, each participant received a medal to thank them for helping Operation Santa Claus and to mark a great day of golf.