Caption: (L-R) Jim Harding Vice President of Waterford, Natalis Chan, Ronaldo, Dr. Ken Chu, CEO & Chairman of Mission Hills Group, Michael Phelps, Luo Xuejuan and Tenniel Chu, Vice chairman of Mission Hills Group
There is an air of excitement around Mission Hills Haikou as some of the world’s biggest celebrities from the world of film, music and sport prepare for the start of the 2012 World Celebrity Pro-Am (WCPA).
LET members Lee-Anne Pace, Danielle Montgomery, Frances Bondad, Kim Welch, Liebelei Lawrence and Melissa Reid are amongst the professional golfers in the tournament along with a number of others including Darren Clarke, Michael Campbell, Ian Woosnam and Matt Kuchar.
|Lee-Anne Pace will play with Michael Phelps|
The event runs from 19-21st October and is widely regarded as China’s biggest entertainment event of the year. Over the past 24 hours celebrities ranging from Hollywood A-listers to Asia’s most celebrated movie directors have been arriving in the decadent marble reception of Mission Hills – ready for an action-packed weekend.
Among them was the most decorated Olympian of all time, legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps. Speaking ahead of the tournament, Phelps said: “It’s great to be back at Mission Hills, it’s my second time and I’m looking forward to being a lot more relaxed than I have been in past pro-am, so should be a fun couple of days.
“Being able to play some of the coolest, most challenging golf courses that I’ve ever played is what I love to do now. There are a lot of great people here and I’ve always had a great experience at Mission Hills. To be able to go out and play with the other celebrities and athletes that are here is something I’m looking forward to and hopefully I’ll play well.”
Lining up alongside Phelps in the event will be South African golfer Lee-Anne Pace, She broke through in 2010 with five wins on the Ladies European Tour at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open, the S4C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe, the Finnair Masters, the Sanya Ladies Open and the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open. She ended the season as the Players’ Player of the Year and her swift rise to winning the Henderson money list was mainly due to her good play in China.
From the world of sport, former NBA superstar Yao Ming is also present along with seven time world snooker champion Stephen Hendry, former Wimbledon tennis champion Pat Cash, former Olympic swimming champion Luo Xuejuan and World Cup winning Brazilian footballer Ronaldo.
Ronaldo said: ““It is an honour and pleasure to be here and I’m very excited to play golf at Mission Hills. I like to play golf like a used to play football, I like to have fun and hit some good shots.”
Hollywood luminaries include Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, Oscar-nominated actor Andy Garcia and American actress and model, Minka Kelly. LET professional Danielle Montgomery posted on Twitter that she was star struck when meeting Ryan Reynolds.
Celebrities from Asian cinema include South Korea’s star of the silver screen Jeong Woo-Seong, Hong Kong actors Michael Wong, Michael Miu and Eric Tsang, award winning Chinese directors Feng Xiaogang, He Ping and Zhao Baogang, Chinese movie and television actors Wang Zhiwen, Zhang Jiayi, Wang Baoqiang and Singer Sun Nan, ‘Lara Craft Tomb Raider’ actor Simon Yam, Eric Tsang and internationally-acclaimed kung fu movie star Sammo Hung.