McIlroy leads Ryder Cup reunion in Hong Kong

HONG KONG Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:13am EDT

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 2nd hole during his World Golf Final Group 1 match against Tiger Woods of the U.S. in Antalya, southern Turkey, October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 2nd hole during his World Golf Final Group 1 match against Tiger Woods of the U.S. in Antalya, southern Turkey, October 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy is set to defend his Hong Kong Open title next month, organizers said on Friday.

Fresh from their sensational comeback victory over the Americans in Medinah last month, fellow Ryder Cup players Paul Lawrie and Miguel Angel Jimenez will also take part, as will Europe's captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

The focus returns to the Race to Dubai for the quartet at the $2 million tournament from November 5-9.

"My record in the event isn't quite as good as I would like," said Lawrie. "But the way I've been playing this year I feel very confident of giving a good account of myself."

American Matt Kuchar, on the losing side in the most astonishing of Ryder Cup conclusions, is also set to tee it up at the event co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

"I'm very excited about making my debut at the Hong Kong Open," said Kuchar, who won two out of three points for the U.S. side in the Ryder Cup thriller.

"I look forward to finding out for myself what all the buzz is about.

"The strength of the field is impressive and Rory's record in the tournament is even more impressive," added the American, a four-times U.S. PGA Tour winner.

"It's going to be tough to win my first European Tour title but I'm certainly going to give it my best shot."

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by Martyn Herman)

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