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Jacobson Looks for Another Fast Start

European TourThe European Tour gets an early start on the 2004 season with this week's playing of the Omega Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf Club. This marks the third year in which the event has been jointly sanctioned between the European Tour and the Asian PGA Tour.
The Irish tandem of Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington headline the field along with the defending champion, and one of Europe's rising stars, Fredrik Jacobson.
Harrington will be looking to get the same start he had last year when he got out of the gate quickly with a win in the tour's season-opening BMW Asian Open. The victory was one of two Harrington collected on the season, along with a couple of second place finishes, which landed him in third on the final Order of Merit list.
'I have never actually played in Hong Kong and that is one of the reasons why I have come here. I have always looked to play golf around the world and it certainly took my interest to come here,' said Harrington, who has won seven times in Europe.
Though Clarke, who finished second on the money list behind Ernie Els, had only one victory on the year, his win at the WGC-NEC Invitational was impressive. His final round 67 held off the likes of Tiger Woods, Davis Love and Vijay Singh and gave him his second WGC title of his career. After flying halfway around the world following last week's Nedbank Challenge, Clarke is eager for his forst Hong Kong Open.
'I need to try and get over the jet lag as quick as I can. I have watched the tournament over the past couple of years on television. I watched Ollie (Jose Maria Olazabal) win two years ago and saw Fredrik (Jacobson) win last year so although I have not played the course I know some of the holes,' said Clarke, who is presently one rung below Harrington on the World Rankings.
For Jacobson, his victory in Hong Kong last year set the wheels in motion for the biggest season of his young career. The 28-year-old Swede posted three titles on his resume including closing out the year with a win at the season-ending Volvo Masters.
'This place is always going to be special for me as it marked my first win. It was a great help to me through this past year in certain situations. It has been very nice to have that win under my belt so I am very happy to be back,' said the Swede.
Others scheduled to tee it up this week are British Open runner-up Thomas Bjorn, six-time major winner Nick Faldo and two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal.
The Golf Channel will air all four rounds. Coverage starts each morning at 11AM (ET) beginning Thursday through Sunday.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Omega Hong Kong Open
  • Golf Channel Airtimes