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Furyk, Goosen Join Shanghai Tiger Hunt
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World No 3 golfer Jim Furyk and No 5 Retief Goosen, will line-up alongside Tiger Woods in the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai in November.

Last year's winner of inaugural HSBC Champions in Shanghai David Howel will also return to defend his title, said Giles Morgan, head of sports sponsorship and marketing at HSBC.

"We are delighted that this year's HSBC Champions event will once again have the strongest field of world class golfers Asia has ever seen. That so many players have chosen to include the HSBC Champions in their schedule reflects the growing profile of the event," said Morgan yesterday.

The HSBC Champions, to be played November 9 to 12 at Sheshan International in Shanghai, is jointly supported by European, Asian, Australasian, South African tours, and the China Golf Association. The event is only open to the year's top 50 golfers and carries a US$5 million purse, the richest in Asia.

These top players will be keen to travel to Shanghai and try to defeat Woods, who is averaging US$2,512 in prize money for every stroke he plays.

Jim Furyk, who ranks behind Woods and Phil Mickelson in the world, said China would be a new experience. "I am really looking forward to travelling to China - it will be my first time playing in an official tournament there and the strength of the field makes it an important one to win in terms of world ranking points," he said.

"It will be fantastic to compete against the champions from the different Tours and I think it will be a very special week."

Retief Goosen, winner of the 2001 and 2004 US Open agreed, "By all accounts it was a fantastic tournament last year and I was really disappointed to miss out. I had a fantastic experience in China last year when I won the China Masters and I can't wait to return to play in the HSBC Champions."

David Howell, defending champion, said his last year winning in Shanghai kick-started his best season ever on Tour.

"To finish top in an event with so many of the world's best players - and especially holding off Tiger's challenge at the weekend - gave me a real boost and I am looking forward to my title defence," said Howell.

Sheshan International Golf Club, site of HSBC Champions tournament about an hour west of Shanghai, left a good impression on the players with its high-quality surfaces and greens.

Colin Montgomerie, a record eight-time winner of the European Order of Merit title is also eager to try his luck in Shanghai.

"Having played on the tour for 20 years, I really enjoyed playing in this new event last year in such an exciting city as Shanghai," the Scot said. "It is a title I would love to win and a good finish at the HSBC Champions would also get my 2007 European Order of Merit campaign off to a fantastic start."

Zhang Lianwei, China's No 1 golfer, will also be playing along with seven other Chinese golfers in the event.

(China Daily September 1, 2006)

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