HAIKOU, South China, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The inaugural Mission Hills Star Trophy kicked off here on Thursday, however, the golfers shared distraction as they focused more on making friends rather than playing golf seriously.
The ground-breaking celebrity golf pro-am tournament, being held from October 28-31, includes Eight Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Hollywood movie star Catherine Zeta-Jones, British actor Hugh Grant, as well as local stars, such as movie director Feng Xiaogang and actor Chen Daoming.
A total of 18 groups, consisting of a celebrity, a professional golfer and three amateurs in each, will compete in pro-am format during the first two days.
New Zealand's professional Danny Lee partnered with Zeta-Jones, the newly Tony Award winner. The talented golfer totally lost his form in front of Zeta-Jones, saying he hardly paid attention to the competition as he could not avoid the glamour of Zeta-Jones.
"I focused on giving her tips on the course instead," the 20-year-old Danny said shyly. The pair finished 5-under 68, only ranking the eighth.
Phelps and Britain's golfer Laura Davies also failed to earn a sound performance, ranking second from the bottom with a 1-under 72. "I didn't practice golf for a long time, and only had some golf lessons recently. My goal here is just to learn from others," Phelps said.
Hong Kong movie star Eric Tsang and American women golfer Rosie Jones took the first-round lead with a 11-under 62, while Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit and Chinese local golfer Kong Wei Hai ended third at 8-under 65.
The Mission Hills Star Trophy will be broadcasted live to over 150 counties and regions across the world. It is one of the first major events supporting a government-led initiative to make Hainan a leading international tourism destination in the coming years.