HAINAN, China, Oct. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- He Ping and Rich Beem overcame challenging conditions on the Blackstone Course to take the lead at the half way point at the 2012 World Celebrity Pro-Am at Mission Hills Haikou.
A combined stableford score of 48 points was good enough to finish the day top of the leader board ahead of second place pairings Sun Nan and Liebelei Elena Lawrence, and Andy Garcia and Matt Kuchar both tied on 46 points.
In the professional individual competition, England's Simon Dyson and America's Matt Kuchar share the clubhouse lead on 41 points. The duo can leave no margin for error with Anthony Wall hot on their heels with 39 points – setting up a mouth watering finale tomorrow.
Dyson, a six time European Tour winner, looked in control from the start recording two birdies on the front nine and three on the back. Kuchar, the 2011 Mission Hills World Cup champion, showed similar composure, finishing in style with a birdie four on the 18th.
Speaking at the start of the day, world no.13 Kuchar said: "I have very fond memories here of the Blackstone Course and hopefully it will bring me luck again. My game seems to be on good form and I hope to have a good week."
Kuchar is favoured by many to do well including New Zealand professional Michael Campbell who said: "I think all 24 players competing here this week could potentially win but if you're going by world rankings it's got to be Matt Kuchar, he's won here before so he's definitely the hot favourite."
Kuchar spoke of his anticipation of playing alongside Oscar nominated Hollywood actor Andy Garcia, saying: "I'm paired with Andy Garcia and I'm greatly looking forward to it – I think it will be a lot of fun. The way I play golf, I feel like the more fun I have on the golf course the better I tend to play, so I hope that works out this week."
The celebrities endured mixed fortunes on the championship course. The team of Minka Kelly and Ian Woosnam finished with 35 points. The Hollywood actress, who has only recently taken up the sport, said:
"I've never played so much golf in my life but it was a lot of fun out there today. We had extreme weather conditions, we had a rain storm, wind and then sun but we had a good time. I want to learn more about the game and it was good watching my team-mate."
"I really enjoy golf, I've played a couple of times before but never a full eighteen holes and I think I need to work up my stamina!"
Scores were compiled from the day, with pairings playing a better ball format to determine a team score and the professionals recording their own scores for the individual competition. Play will resume tomorrow at 8.00am with Tony Jacklin and Pat Cash teeing off alongside Francis Bondad and Michael Wong.
Elsewhere, Chinese film director He Ping, Feng Xiaogang, Zhao Baogang, stars like Ge You, Yao Chen, Zhang Guoli, Zhang Jiayi, Xu Fan, Wang Zhongjun and other leading actors, directors and producers took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch a ground-breaking new development – the Mission Hills - Huayi Brothers - Feng Xiaogang movie-themed Town. The ground-breaking project will be competed in spring of 2014 and has seen an investment of over RMB 1 billion. A total of five boutique hotels, 300 shops and plenty of the famous movie scenes will be built within the film town.
Press Conference Sound Bites - 20.10.12 at 0900hrs
Michael Campbell, New Zealand professional golfer – MC
Ian Woosnam, Welsh professional golfer – IW
Matt Kuchar, American professional golfer – MK
Lain Wenchong, Chinese professional golfer – LW
Melissa Reid, British professional golfer – MR
MK – I hope the Blackstone course is lucky for me having won the World Cup here last year. It's a fantastic layout; it's a very stern test of golf. You can play it from nearly seven, eight hundred yards long and you can move the tees forward to completely change the course and make it very different. There's a lot of interesting holes, the sixteenth you can move the tee forward and make it a drivable hole, it's an exciting hole.
I have very fond memories here of the Blackstone Course and hopefully it will be a lucky course. My game seems to be on good form and I hope to have a good week this week.
IW – [on golf in China] Well there's one thing that Gary Player always used to say 'the more you practice the luckier you get and the better you get'. I'm sure with the development and the academies you've got here at Mission Hills, I'm sure we're going to see a lot of great players coming out of China to win many great tournaments. As a country it's all about growing with the game as it becomes more popular and as more people play, I'm sure you're going to have many many more winners.
MC – [on strongest player competing] Well, I think all 24 players competing here this week could potentially win. Yesterday was the first time I've played the Blackstone Course, it's a great golf course, I think it's a very strong and once again whoever goes out there and plays well over the next two days has a good chance to win.
If you're going by world rankings it's got to be Matt Kuchar, he's won here before so he's definitely the hot favourite.
MR – It's a very strong field this week and it's always a nice treat for us to play against the guys which we don't get to do very often.
From the girl's point of view, the highest ranked player here is Candy Kung and probably the best player here. I'm just looking forward to competing against the men; it's going to be a lot of fun because we don't get to do it very often and to see the guys play is always great for us.
MK – Last year I was able to choose my partner and looking at the golf course I chose one of the longest hitter in golf in Gary Woodland and I thought we'd make a good team.
This year I wasn't able to choose my partner and I'm paired with Andy Garcia and I'm greatly looking forward to it – I think it will be a lot of fun. They way I play golf, I feel like the more fun I have on the golf course the better I tend to play, so I hope that works out this week.
[All on short summary of event]
MR – Luxurious
MK – I love this place
IW – Very tough
MC – I'll be back
Press Conference Sound Bites - 20.10.12 at 17.15hrs
AZ –Thank you very much. It's wonderful to be here.
Can I just say that without Mission Hills here in Haikou, Haikou would never have the stars visiting it that it does today.
Mission Hills LKF will bring another element of entertainment for the people of Haikou and of China. And last night we had a small teaser of what's to come LKF-style.
We had a show that ran until 2am. It could have gone on until 5am but we had to stop it. But we had some great entertainment from lots of talented artists. We had the Lady Gaga Experience over from New York, we had DJ Groove who is one of Hong Kong's top DJs and people were just dancing all night.
When we're open at the end of next year ('13), you better bring your dancing shoes because you're gonna be dancing all night.
Golf, music, entertainment, restaurants – these are just some of the things we'll be bringing that will make it the best place to be and the best destination in China.
I hope to keep seeing all you guys. LKF will have parties every two months so you better get ready.
Sound Bites - 20.10.12
Jung Woo Sung, Korean actor – JWK
JWK - It's great to see so many familiar faces here at the World Celebrity Pro-Am and so many friends, so I'm very happy to be here. And it's amazing for me to meet the famous soccer star Ronaldo and basketball star Yao Ming.
My swing is pretty poor at the moment but I haven't played for a long time, so what I need now is to practice more. I just hope I can continue to participate in such a fantastic event.
For more information please visit: www.missionhillswcpa.com
About Mission Hills Group
Mission Hills Group (www.missionhillschina.com), owner and operator of Mission Hills in the heart of the Pearl River Delta and the tropical island of Hainan, is the pioneer in China's fledgling hospitality, sports and leisure industry.
Founded in 1992, Mission Hills is recognized as the leading golf brand in the world and synonymous with high-end, luxurious and exquisitely-designed residences. Mission Hills has been the major driving force behind the sports and leisure industry in China. Its three world-class integrated leisure and wellness resort destinations have hosted more than 100 international tournaments. Mission Hills has also been accredited the "World's Largest Golf Club" by the Guinness World Records.
Mission Hills' properties sprawl over 40 sq.km. They include 22 championship courses designed by renowned players and architects from five continents, five-star resorts, award-winning spas and volcanic mineral springs, an international convention center, golf academies and Asia's largest tennis facility. Mission Hills is also the official training headquarters of China's Tennis and Golf Associations.
The Group's "golf and more" leisure philosophy has catalyzed its tourism-related business expansion. Mission Hills Centreville and Mission Hills ▪ Lan Kwai Fong ▪ Haikou are family-friendly metropolitan leisure complexes and low-carbon town centers. Hubs for business, leisure, wellness and entertainment, their highlights include 1,000-plus international anchor brands featuring the latest fashion labels, finest jewelry and watches; trendiest restaurants, cafes and bars; state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas; ice skating rinks; bowling alleys; world-renowned auto showrooms; and many other exciting offerings. A total of six hotels are showcased in these developments, among them Marriott International's Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance hotel brands.
Today, Mission Hills Group has achieved many milestones and become the preeminent conglomerate in the sports, tourism, leisure and entertainment industry. The next breakthrough in the Group's evolution will occur as it brings its tried and true branding and golf management services to Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Yunnan, Chongqing and other destinations.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Sundi Shi
Mission Hills China
Telephone: (86 755) 2802 0888 Ext. 36022
SOURCE Mission Hills Group