I flew out to Hong Kong on 5th March (my 21st birthday), this meant that I arrived 4 days before the rest of the players from UK. I stayed in HK with my Dad who was already out there on business and my Mum who had flown out with me. From Wednesday to Saturday I spent the time recovering from my jetlag which I seem to suffer pretty badly from. I did however get to do some practice on the Friday at Discovery Bay golf club which has a ‘water range’ which was a pretty cool new experience.
On Saturday morning four days before the tournament started we headed over to Mission Hills from HK which was roughly a two hour drive including the border crossing. Driving through the surrounding areas to Mission Hills was an extremely surreal experience and it was only then I realised how different China is from the UK, apparently there aren’t any laws on the roads and the level of construction was vast. In the few days leading up to the practice rounds and the tournament,
I spent the time making the most of the 12 courses at Mission Hills by playing the ‘Ozaki’, ‘Els’ and ‘World Cup’ courses which were all exceptional golf courses in perfect condition. I also played 18 holes night golf which was incredible playing at midnight however very unforgiving if you hit it slightly off line.
The first I saw of the Faldo course was on the Monday morning and it was about a 20 minute drive from the hotel (this demonstrates the scale of the resort). The course was extremely well designed with plenty of birdies to be had but bad shots would be punished. It also had a very exciting last four holes with two eagle chances, an island green par three and a long difficult par four 17.
The 18th was going to make for a dramatic finish on the last day as it is the definition of a risk reward par five with water all down the right hand side and a semi island green. Very reachable in two but nothing less than a perfect shot with a long iron and you would be staring at bogey or worse.
Throughout the tournament the weather was perfect for low scoring. There was no wind and no rain. From a personal point of view I was disappointed with my performance finishing 10th overall and tied 2nd in the Under 21. I found putting very different to what I was used to over in the UK and although the greens were perfect my reading of them was not!
Between the rounds Sir Nick Faldo held short and long game clinics providing us with an insight to how he practices and what his approach to the game. It was amazing to see someone who won 6 majors but hadn’t hit a ball for three months walk straight onto the range with no warm up and start flushing it down the range again as if he’d never stopped.