Andy Garcia and Matt Kuchar Winners At Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am
Andy Garcia and Matt Kuchar were crowned team champions at the 2012 World Celebrity Pro-Am (WCPA) at Mission Hills Haikou.
The Oscar nominated Hollywood star and 2011 Mission Hills World Cup champion produced an emphatic display of team golf on the final day to finish with a combined winning stableford score of 92 over 36 holes.
Chinese pop star Sun Nan and Greek professional Liebelei Lawrence finished close runners up with a total of 91 points and celebrated Chinese movie director, He Ping and Rich Beem finished third with 89 points.
Matt Kuchar’s scintillating second round 66 earned him a total of 84 points and subsequently wrapped up victory in the professional individual competition, finishing four points clear of runner up Sam Dyson and six points clear of Anthony Wall in third place.
Meanwhile renowned Chinese actor, Wang Zhiwen, emerged as the winner of the celebrity individual stableford shooting an impressive thirteen shots under his handicap to amass an 85 point total.
The winners were honoured at the official prize giving ceremony on the 18th green of the championship Blackstone Course. Crowds gathered to watch Matt Kuchar, Andy Garcia and Wang Zhiwen lift their exquisite Waterford crystal trophies.
After beating off competition from a strong international field to claim the winner’s cheque of USD 240,000, Kuchar said: “When I got the invite to the World Celebrity Pro-Am, I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to get back here to one of my favourite places in the world and I’m delighted to have won.”
His playing American partner and star of the ‘The Godfather’ said: “It’s been great, this is my first time in Asia and it’s been a beautiful experience. I had an extraordinary playing partner and I’m very proud of the trophy. The beautiful thing about these tournaments is that it’s great to compete and win but it’s more about the memories and relationships you create.”
Wang Zhiwen was awarded with a lifetime honouree membership at Mission Hills. Commenting on his success, the award winning actor said: “Being one of the players for both the 2010 Mission Hills Star Trophy and the 2012 World Celebrity Pro-Am, I feel very happy and excited. I will come back for sure, whether I am invited or not!”
In addition to the individual and team accolades, a prize was also awarded for Best Dressed on the golf course which was won by Hong Kong actor Michael Miu.
Among the star studded competitors was Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time. The American swimming legend finished with a respectable 78 points and said: “It’s been great. I love coming to Asia. I was able to achieve the biggest dream I ever had in China and flying through Beijing and coming here brought back so many great memories.”
The 2012 WCPA brings together international stars from the world of film, music and sport to raise money to support the ongoing work of two charities, the Yao Ming Foundation and UNICEF. The tournament is destined to return to Mission Hills in 2014 with a new line up of A-list celebrities and elite golfers.
Mission Hill World Celebrity Pro-Am Press Conference Sound Bites: 21 Oct. 12
Q: May I ask how long you’ve been playing golf?
A: I’ve been playing since 1985 – 27 years. But in those 27 years I’ve never played as well as Mr Wang. I’d also like to thank him those kid words he’s just said about me. He has a well deserved award. Congratulations
I also know he’s a great actor and a great golfer but I wouldn’t trade him for Matt Kuchar
Q: How do you find the difference between movie action and golf action?
A: As an actor I’m much more comfortable and make far less mistakes. But the feeling of hitting a golf shot that you visualise, and when you execute to the exact visualisation that you thought of is a very sublime experience and brings all golf lovers back to what we love about the game. That experience and the exhilaration of that execution gives you a high as much as anything I’ve experienced as an actor.
And you might only have that feeling one time in an entire round but it brings you back to the next time.
Q: How does this compare to other Pro-Ams?
A: In 1997 it was the second year I played in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and I won the tournament with Paul Stankowski, we still have the record 43 under par and since 1997 I’ve only made the cut one time. That’s the only tournament I’ve ever won before this so I’m very proud of the trophy and the beautiful thing about these tournaments, is that it’s great to compete and win but it’s more about the memories and relationships you create. Winning isn’t everything, sometimes the golf gods smile upon you but that’s not what’s important, what is important is having the chance to play with new people and meet Matt and his family. At the end of the day, when you look up and close your eyes you have these memories.
[On playing with Matt Kuchar] Just watching Matt play is a master class. I learnt by watching people play, asking questions, trying to emulate their technique and style.
Q: You’ve now won both the World Cup and the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am – how does that feel?
A: I must say, last year when I was here for the World Cup I remember walking up and down the corridors and seeing all the pictures for the then Star Trophy and thinking how much fun that looked like and what a great event that would be to be part of and when I got the email from Tenniel earlier this year inviting me to be part of the WCPA I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get back here – to one of my favourite places in the world. Of course I responded ‘yes’ right away and this year we’ve brought the whole family – last year it was just my wife and I. We had a spectacular time and looked around and wished the kids had come because what an amazing facility this is for the whole family. My kids have had such a great time as well as my wife and I. It’s a special place.
Q: How do you like the difference between the team game and the individual game:
A: I like having a partner like Andy Garcia. We teamed up really well and if I was struggling he was playing great golf. One of the amazing things and cool for me to see is a guy that’s not a pro golfer a good golfer but we got under a few pressure situations and to see a guy come through it’s not often that a guy from a different path in life can experience what a profession athlete experiences.
We are 5 points behind with 2 holes to go. We need to make 2 birdies. 2 pars would make 4 points and we’d lose by 1; 1 birdie we tie and 2 birdies we win. The 17th hole he had 8 feet for a net birdie. He had to make it if we wanted to win the championship. He made it and then he hit 3 fantastic shots to have a tap in birdie on the last hole. It’s amazing to see a guy come through like that. It was fun to see.
Q: Impressions of the tournament:
A: I had an amazing time, I learned so much; these tournaments, they’re a lot like relationships – you gotta stick with them because you have good days and bad days. I had a few bad ones but I’m just learning. That was the third time in my life today that I’ve ever been on a golf course and I got to play with Michael Campbell so it’s been great. (Added that it’s his first time in China)
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
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