Hanson targets Race to Dubai summit

With McIlroy sitting out the WGC-HSBC Champions this week, the chasing pack eye up top spot

Tue, 30 Oct 2012
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After holding off Rory McIlroy in Shanghai to claim his second victory in his last three events, Peter Hanson has set his sights on toppling the World No.1 atop the Race to Dubai.

With McIlroy absent from this week's WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills Golf Club in China, the 35-year-old Swede knows there is no better time to strike while the iron is hot.

Lying €812,572 behind the Ulsterman in second with a month until the season-ending Dubai World Championship, Hanson can hit the front with a third victory in his last four events - although he's wary of making such bold predictions against the best player on the planet.

“When you look at the Race to Dubai you always want to be up there, but deep down inside me I know Rory is going to be hard to catch,” said the World No.17, who may adjust his schedule to give himself every chance of claiming the Harry Vardon trophy.

“I will see how this week goes but it might be that I tee it up in Singapore next week. That is something I need to think about.

“Last week was a big win for me and moves me closer to Rory. With him not playing this week, the rest of us know we are playing for a big purse again and we can apply some pressure on Rory going into Dubai.

“That would be great if I could do that and have a chance of making that top spot. The way Rory is playing at the moment will make it tough, but it keeps it interesting.

“With such a big purse on offer again this week it could be crucial and hopefully I can do well and I’m sure Justin Rose and Branden Grace will be thinking the same.”

WGC-Cadillac champion Rose and this season's four-time European Tour winner Grace, respectively third and fourth in the current standings, will also be poised to make positive inroads into McIlroy’s lead this week.

Rose, like Hanson, could move to the top of the rankings with a victory at Mission Hills, while a fifth win of the season for Grace would take him to within €430,000 of the Northern Irishman.

The star-studded field includes 16 players who took part in the 2012 Ryder Cup, including Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and defending champion Martin Kaymer.

South African Charl Schwartzel has withdrawn from the tournament due to personal reasons.

WGC-HSBC Champions

Where?
Mission Hills Golf Club, Olazabal Course, Shenzhen, China

When?
Thursday November 1 to Sunday November 4

The Course
Par-72; 7,251 yards

Purse
$7,000,000 (winner: $1,200,000)

Defending champion
Martin Kaymer (-20)

Tournament records
Most wins: 2 Phil Mickelson (2007 and 2009)
Lowest score to par: -20 (David Howell 2005; Martin Kaymer 2011)

Did you know?
The tournament was contested annually from 2005 to 2011 at the Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai before moving to the Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen in 2012. Since 2009 it has been a World Golf Championships event.

Live Coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports 1 from 3am
Friday: Sky Sports 1 from 3am
Saturday: Sky Sports 1 from 3am
Sunday: Sky Sports 1 from 3am

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