Superstars head for Haikou for Mission Hills Star Trophy golf tournament
What sport can pitch swimming sensation and winner of eight gold medals at one Olympics, Michael Phelps, against three-time British Open and Masters winner Sir Nick Faldo, Hollywood’s Michael Douglas and Chinese multiple Olympic gold medalist Li Ning?
The answer is golf.
Mission Hills continues its dynamic role at the forefront of the golf boom in China with more international big names being announced to the public on Wednesday for the Mission Hills Star Trophy, a ground-breaking Celebrity Pro-Am tournament featuring several of the biggest names in entertainment and sports and the richest individual prize in Asian golf.
The Mission Hills Star Trophy invitational golf tournament will be held at the Mission Hills Golf Resort Haikou, in the city of Haikou of Hainan island, from Oct 28-31.
Also coming will be Douglas’ wife and Tony Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, British actor Hugh Grant and US actors Matthew McConaughey and Christian Slater, Japan’s most popular comedian, Sanma Akashiya, and Eric Tsang, a prolific actor and film director from Hong Kong.
The professional segment of the event will feature 20 male and female golfers competing for a winner takes all prize of $1.28 million, the richest individual purse in Asian golf.
The list of professional golfers is also impressive Besides Faldo, it includes Greg Norman, who held the world No 1 position for 331 weeks, this year’s European Ryder Cup captain, Colin Montgomerie, China’s pro golf pioneer, Zhang Lianwei, and Japan’s Ryuji Imada.
Leading the women pros will be two former world No 1s – Mexican Lorena Ochoa and Swede Annika Sorenstam, plus 2011 US Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones and the only South Korean Hall of Fame inductee Se Ri Pak.
Tenniel Chu, executive director of the Hills Golf, said the organizers expect even more sports and performing arts heavyweights to sign up in the coming months.
"By the time of the competition, about 20 international celebrities will be in Haikou, adding to the already glittering field," Chu said.
Former coach of world No 1 Tiger Woods, Hank Haney, will be working as the honorary coach and will perform teaching demonstrations for the celebrities.
The superstar participants will be part of a field that includes 20 celebrities, 20 professionals and 120 amateurs at the four-day Mission Hills Star Trophy. Amateur teams of three will play with a celebrity or professional golfer on the first two days of the event in a team scramble format.
The weekend play will be in a four-ball strokeplay format between 20 teams comprising a celebrity and a professional with a 36-hole individual professional event running concurrently for the big prize.
The Mission Hills Star Trophy is one of the first major events supporting a government-led initiative to make the island a leading international golf tourism destination.
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