Hong Kong hope Jason Hak returns to Clearwater Bay Open knowing he’s ‘closed out before’ after first pro victory
The 23-year-old is armed with more confidence and experience after his blistering win in Kunming in August and plans to contend deep into the weekend
Armed with the confidence gained from his first professional title, Hong Kong’s Jason Hak Shun-yat has confirmed he will take part in next month’s Clearwater Bay Open and is confident he now has the tools to contend deep into the weekend.
Hak required a final-round 63 to secure a tie for 20th last year but will step out at the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club with a weight lifted off his shoulders after his 10-shot win in the Yunnan Championship in Kunming in August, his first since turning pro in 2013.
“At the time, I obviously enjoyed the victory, especially as I was playing really well. It’s only now I can appreciate how important it was to finally get a win,” the 23-year-old said.
“I had been in a good position to win a few times, especially last year, but I was my own worst enemy when I was chasing.
“I’m playing well again and happy to be heading to Hong Kong again and playing at Clearwater Bay. Now, if I’m in a strong position, I’ll know I’ve closed out before, which should help.”
Hak is looking forward to again playing in front of his home crowd and is the best local hope in the 1.5 million yuan (HK$1.7 million) event, up from 1.2 million yuan last year.
“There was a bit of attention on me last year because I’m from Hong Kong. I fell away a bit after the second round, but I had a good weekend and finished OK,” Hak said.
“Every time I tee up, I really just want to play well and then hope I’m in contention at the weekend, especially on Sunday afternoon.”
Last year, Australian Daniel Nisbet emerged victorious after a play-off, describing Clearwater Bay as “the most breathtaking course I’ve ever played”.
This year’s Open will again feature a Monday qualifier, which offers the chance for Hong Kong amateurs and pros to join the field, while local players could again compete on sponsor invites in the 120-player line-up.
David Hui, a member of the event’s organising committee, said he hoped there would be a stronger local contingent competing in the 72-hole tournament this year.
“We’re delighted that Jason will again be playing in the Clearwater Bay Open [and] we’re delighted he has secured his first pro title,” Hui said.
“We expect further Hong Kong players to compete through invites and we will obviously be cheering on all local players in the Monday qualifier.
“We had three teenage amateurs from Hong Kong in last year’s field, which shows the strength of our young players and our junior programme.”
Australia’s Daniel Nisbet beats Alex Kang in play-off to win PGA Tour China Series Clearwater Bay Open title
Greg Carlson, executive director of the PGA Tour China, said: “This is one of our favourite tournaments to work on and the players who competed last year have been keen to return as Clearwater Bay is truly one of the most spectacular courses in Asia.
“There was some fantastic golf played last year, with low scores by players from around the world, finishing with an exciting play-off. We’re hoping for more of the same this year.”