Award-winning Schmidt-Curley Design has written another notable slice of golfing history with its Sandbelt Trails Course hosting the PGA Tour’s inaugural China Series.
The staging of the RMB1.2 million (about US$200,000) Mission Hills Haikou Open over the 7,228-yard, par-72 Sandbelt Trails Course is the latest feather in the cap of one of the world’s most active and innovative design firms.
Brian Curley, principal at Schmidt-Curley Design, said: “We are honoured that the Sandbelt Trails Course at Mission Hills Haikou was selected for such an historic tournament. The Mission Hills Haikou Open will go down in the record books as a key moment in the development of the professional game in the world’s most populous country.”
The event was won at a canter by highly-rated Korean teenager JH Wang who blew away the field with a 23-under-par aggregate of 265. That was 10 strokes clear of second placed Zhang Xinjun of China.
A collaboration between the PGA Tour and China Golf Association (CGA), the China Series will feature 12 tournaments this year, with the first five running from April to early June. Following a two-month hiatus, the series will host another seven tournaments, culminating in the Tour Championship in November.
The Mission Hills Haikou Open was the fourth significant professional event to be held at a Schmidt-Curley Design course this year to date.
In February, Siam Country Club’s Old Course staged the LPGA Tour’s Honda LPGA Thailand while the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou was the venue for the Ladies European Tour’s Mission Hills World Ladies Championship in March.
Also last month the LPGA Tour visited the JW Marriott Wildfire Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona for the RR Donnelley Founders Cup.
One of 10 18-hole courses designed by Schmidt-Curley at Mission Hills Haikou, the Sandbelt Trails Course was inspired by the Australian Sandbelt’s iconic courses.
Opened in 2010, Sandbelt Trails’ wide playing corridors encourage second-shot creativity into large, undulating greens. Fairways and putting surfaces are frequently flanked by yawning, high-flashed bunkers, evoking its Australian influences of revered courses such as Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath and Metropolitan Golf Club.
Many of the players in the Mission Hills Haikou Open field were already well acquainted with the Sandbelt Trails Course, which hosted the China Series’ second qualifying tournament last month, won by Australian Alex Hawley.
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, Schmidt-Curley Design has two fully-staffed China offices (in Haikou and Kunming) to promote quicker mobilisation, lower travel costs and other valuable advantages over competitors.
Schmidt-Curley Design www.schmidt-curley.com