The sights and sounds of Scotland came to Mission Hills in China as the resort hosted its second annual Mission Hills – St Andrews: Home to Home Scholarship Fundraising Championship.
The famous club in Dongguan took on a tartan hue for the day as it hosted the annual tournament, which raises funds to send talented Chinese golfers to the University of St Andrews to further their careers.
The ceremonial tee-off was accompanied by bagpipe music and performed by VIPs using vintage wooden drivers, while the guest list included a delegation from the historic Scottish seat of learning.
And the heritage theme continued into the evening, when the prize giving dinner included a putting competition using 200-year-old putters plus an auction of golf memorabilia.
“This second annual Mission Hills – St Andrews: Home to Home Scholarship Fundraising Championship has been a wonderful occasion and has generated significant funds for a worthy cause,” said the Vice Chairman of Mission Hills Group, Mr. Tenniel Chu.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who either reached into their own pocket, or donated auction items, or gave their time and expertise free of charge to make this tournament a success.,” he continued. “The overwhelming response from professionals and amateur players alike to the invitation to participate has once again shown golf’s unique sense of community and illustrates the desire of many to give something back to the game.”
Played on the signature Olazábal Course at Mission Hills Dongguan, the tournament featured teams of four, each comprising a professional and three amateurs, with Stableford scoring.
And the winning quartet was led by a familiar face, Chinese golfing great Zhang Lianwei, the first mainland player ever to win a European Tour event and also designer of one of the 12 courses at Mission Hills Shenzhen-Dongguan.
Zhang and teammates Wu Xiaolong, Zhang Shuiyun and Liang Zibin won a trip to play at St Andrews, together with a tour of the famous clubhouse, university and museum.
Zhang finished third in the individual professional competition, which was won by Liu Yanjuan ahead of Jonathan Garratt.
The golf memorabilia auction included items signed by Zhang, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter and Annika Sörenstam. Teams’ entry fees will go towards the scholarship fund as will proceeds from the auction.
“The history of golf partnered with the future of the game is a relationship we hope will grow and prosper for many years to come,” said University of St Andrews business development executive Mr. Jack Bain. “The university looks forward to welcoming the winners and scholars to our beautiful country.”
The tournament was part of an escalating programme of activities and exchanges between Mission Hills and the University of St Andrews.
These include Mission Hills making a financial contribution to the town’s museum, to which St Andrews has responded by donating exhibits for the soon-to-be-opened Dr. David Chu Golf Museum – the first such public facility in China – at Mission Hills Shenzhen.
Mission Hills www.missionhillschina.com
University of St Andrews www.st-andrews.ac.uk