HONG KONG, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The 2016 Venetian Macao golf open will see one of the strongest fields ever assembled in its 17-year history when the tournament tees off from October 13 to 16 at the scenic Macau Golf & Country Club, announced organizers here on Tuesday.
World number 13 Branden Grace and the 2014 Venetian Macao Open Champion Anirban Lahiri will join a host of world-class players including 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke to try and dethrone Australia's defending champion Scott Hend.
South African Grace, who has risen over 100 places in the world rankings after a solid season that includes two tournament wins and two top-five finishes at Majors, is excited to be making his debut in Macao.
"I am very much looking forward to going to Macao and competing there for the first time. I don't get to play in Asia very often and with golf growing so fast over there, it is always interesting for me to head out to that part of the world to test myself and compete at the best tournaments such as the Venetian Macao Open." said Grace.
"The Venetian Macao Open will be a difficult but satisfying tournament to win. Scott (Hend) has proven to be almost unbeatable the last several years, and I heard Darren Clarke is coming out too. Together with the top Asian players, there will be a good mix of high quality golfers to compete against, so I am going to make sure I am ready, keep performing well and hopefully continue to climb the rankings," added Grace.
Indian star Lahiri, winner of the Asian tour order of Merit in 2015, has been Hend's arch rival over the last three years and took turns to hold aloft the famous trophy.
"The Venetian Macao Open is one of my favorite stops on tour and I have always enjoyed my time at the Macau Golf and Country Club. Scott and I get on very well on and off the course and we seem to always bring the best out of each other in Macao. Scott has had a great run in previous years and I hope to even the score this year with a solid performance," said Lahiri.
Inaugurated in 1998, the Venetian Macao gold open has developed into one of the most prestigious professional golf tournaments in the region and the highest purse at 1.1 million U.S. dollors for a full-field Asian Tour event this year. The 144-player championship will continue to be jointly organized by Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government (MSB) and the Golf Association of Macau.