Honma Hong Kong Open

‘Captain America’ Patrick Reed can’t wait to return to Hong Kong Open – and under-21s can watch Ryder Cup star for free

All four days of this year’s tournament will be free to youngsters in bid to boost golf in the city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 5:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 10:28pm

Captain America can’t wait to come back to Hong Kong – and he might have an army of young fans after the UBS Hong Kong Open announced admission will be free to under-21s this year.

American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed, who gained the nickname for his fist-pumping Hazeltine heroics in bringing the cup back to the US this month, is among the big names confirmed for this year’s event at Hong Kong Golf Club from December 8-11.

And organisers will be hoping for record-breaking crowds: as well as the free entry to under-21s for all four days, the tournament is free to all on Thursday and Friday.

“It’s cool,” said world No.7 Reed, of his nickname. “Captain America – I love my country so much, I’m proud to be an American and it kind of stuck this year – all the players were like, ‘Hey Captain America,’ it was fun. It was a good movie – I’ve seen it about 5,000 times!”

Reed inspired the US with an epic last-hole win over Europe’s top star, Rory McIlroy, in the final-day opening singles match to set the tone for his teammates.

And after finishing third on his Hong Kong debut last year, Reed is eager to disappoint another of the European team’s top players, Justin Rose, by taking the title from him.

The cocky Texan laughed off suggestions his high-pressure victory over McIlroy might have been a confidence boost.

“It felt great – mentally it was challenging, but I knew I could I play against the best guys,” he said.

“My first Ryder Cup at Gleneagles I had Henrik Stenson, I was seven-under, he was six-under, I won one-up – I knew if I continued playing some solid golf it didn’t matter who I was playing against, I’d be hard to beat.

“I was happy to get Rory, he was playing the best of his team and so was I.

“I wanted to go out early, get one for the team and hopefully get some momentum on our side – we both played some really solid golf and it just happened I birdied the last.”

Two other Ryder Cup stars, Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello and American reigning Masters champion Danny Willett are also confirmed for Hong Kong.

All joking aside, Patrick Reed and Danny Willett could make for dream pairing at Hong Kong Open

Reed, whose other highlight this year was victory in The Barclays tournament, said he immediately pencilled in a return to Hong Kong after his 2015 debut.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to the course and Hong Kong was an awesome experience, it’s such a great place. My wife and brother-in-law came last time and we had so much fun, it was a blast sightseeing and stuff.

“I’m looking forward to getting back and turning that third-place into a win and playing some good golf.

‘Captain America’ Patrick Reed to bring his Ryder Cup heroics to Hong Kong Open at Fanling

“We had such a good time last time it was always on the schedule – not only is the area nice, but the people are great, really supportive they know their golf.

“It’s a lot of fun and you need to have some of those events in the schedule – the year is long and you need those fun events. I loved it and can’t wait to come back.”

Amy Lo, of the sponsors, said they hoped the free entry initiative would “promote the development of golf with youngsters in Hong Kong”.

The bank and non-profit Friends of Asia also announced a major charity drive with Cantopop star Alan Tam Wing-lun, including the return of the UBS Charity Cup on December 14, which in its inaugural year last year raised more than HK$2 million for local charities.

As part of the expansion of activities this year, singers Elisa Chan Kit-ling and Anthony Lun Wing-leung will perform at a charity dinner and concert at Deepwater Bay Golf Club.