Clearwater Bay Open

Revitalised Hong Kong golfer Jason Hak to compete in front of home fans at Clearwater Bay Open

Youngster has been in fine form on China Series in recent weeks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 3:19pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 September, 2016, 11:39am

Former teen prodigy Jason Hak Shun-yat will be in action in front of his home fans after receiving an invite to take part in the Clearwater Bay Open in November, Hong Kong’s first PGA Tour China Series event.

Hak, 22, became the youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event at the Hong Kong Open in 2008, aged 14 years and 304 days.

But after turning pro aged 19 in August 2013 he’s suffered a couple of frustrating seasons.

He’s rediscovered his mojo on the China Series this year, runner-up and fourth in his last two events.

Now he can’t wait to return to Hong Kong in late October to prepare for the 1.2 million yuan Clearwater Bay Open at a course he knows well.

“I’m so excited about returning to Hong Kong next month as I feel I have a lot more confidence now than when I came back here the past three years,” said Hak, who attended a media day on Tuesday with American pro Charlie Saxon, who won the Ping An Bank Open on Sunday after Hak had led for the first three rounds.

“I’m really looking forward to playing the Clearwater Bay Open as I’ve played the course in the past, so hopefully that gives me a little advantage over some of the other players on the tour. It’s really challenging, especially when the wind picks up. I remember some of the great hole designs, so I think the other players will love it, too. I’m really, really looking forward to it.”

Hak is not a member of the China Series, but has competed in six successive events, making the cut in all but one and contending in his last three.

“I’ve been working hard with my coach, Mike Bender, practising not just on the skills but also on the mental game. I think my improvement is a combination of everything. I think I just know myself better,” he said.

“The past couple of years obviously wasn’t what I was hoping for, but I think for the future it was definitely a good thing for me to have all the experience I went through. I would like to take it as a positive way to get me better not just in golf but obviously in life, too.

“I think when you play bad, you question yourself sometimes, but everything now is trying to make it more simple. I’m definitely enjoying golf more. I always enjoy it and never try to give up, but playing better definitely makes enjoying it much easier.”

The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club has also offered sponsor invites to the Hong Kong Golf Association and the Hong Kong Professional Golfers’ Association, while local golfers will also compete in the tournament’s Monday qualifier, which offers 10 places in the 120-man field. The club will stage the Clearwater Bay Open for three years, through the 2018 season.

David Hui, golf committee chairman at the club said: “We are proud to help with the growth of golf in Hong Kong and China, and delighted to work with PGA Tour China for three years on the Clearwater Bay Open.

“This event will prove a spectacular stop and a proud addition to the many top-class professional and amateur tournaments the club has hosted, showcasing one of the world’s most spectacular courses and one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets.”