The pain of falling short at the Australian PGA Championship three weeks ago has driven South Australian Wade Ormsby to a commanding win at the Asian Tour’s season-opening Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Champion in 2017, Ormsby joins legendary figures Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and Frank Phillips as the only Aussies to win the Hong Kong Open on multiple occasions and he did so by leading from the front from day one.
A blistering start to the tournament where Ormsby birdied four of his opening seven holes gave him a share of the lead, a lead he would extend to as many as five shots over the following 65 holes before claiming a four-stroke victory.
A nervous start and a chasing pack that included Open champion Shane Lowry, US Presidents Cup representative Tony Finau and reigning Asian Tour No.1 Jazz Janewattananond applied some early pressure to Ormsby but a crucial up-and-down at the eighth hole and birdies at 11 and 17 ensured the walk down 18 would be one to savour.
Playing in the final group with good friend Adam Scott and Nick Flanagan, Ormsby bogeyed his final two holes to finish tied for third at the Australian PGA on the Gold Coast in December and admitted that making amends was important to start his 2020 campaign.
“Going through what I went through three weeks ago, that kind of hit me pretty hard,” Ormsby told Asian Tour Media of his PGA disappointment.
“I didn’t even want to know the game for three or four days.
“But to come back and do what I’ve done this week, like I said, proud of myself and proud of my team.
“I’ve been working my guts out the last 14 to 15 months trying to take my game to the next level. And like I just said, Australian PGA three weeks ago, losing that one really hurt me so I put a few changes in place.
“I worked out over the break and to come back here and get the win so soon, can’t put it into words really.”
A three-putt bogey on the 72nd hole gave Ormsby a nervous wait before breaking through for his maiden European Tour title in Hong Kong little more than two years ago with a one-stroke win.
However, a superb iron shot to four feet at the 17th hole on Sunday restored Ormsby’s four-shot buffer and left only the treacherous tee shot at 18 to navigate on his way to the title and a well-earned beer presented greenside by good friend Marcus Fraser.
“It’s still nerve-racking coming down the stretch,” Ormsby explained.
“That 18th hole, it can do anything to you. But I got the tee-shot in play and hit a weak iron shot into it… Four on the card and won by four, so I’m very happy.
“You’ve always got to play the Hong Kong Golf Club the same way. The wind obviously changes but you still try and fly it to the same spot.
“The game plan was the same. When you get in front there’s no point in changing that, no point trying to play defensive. The guys had to come and catch me basically.
“I have three wins on the main tours in my career and this is my first wire-to-wire. I’m very proud of my play this week.
“I was hoping to win this season but to do it in week two of the year in my first event is special and it will be one I’ll remember forever.”
The winner’s cheque for $US180,000 propels Ormsby to the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit and with winning momentum heading into the European Tour’s desert swing.
In a strong showing for the Australian contingent, David Gleeson continued his resurgence with a tie for seventh alongside Terry Pilkadaris with Travis Smyth starting his Asian Tour season on a positive note with a tie for 13th.
Next stop on the Asian Tour schedule is the SMBC Singapore Open to be held at the Sentosa Golf Club from Thursday where Australia’s Japan Golf Tour regulars can take advantage of the co-sanctioned opportunity.
Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong Golf Club, Hong Kong
1 Wade Ormsby 65-66-66-66—263 $US180,000
T7 David Gleeson 66-71-67-68—272 $21,200
T7 Terry Pilkadaris 68-69-64-71—272 $21,200
T13 Travis Smyth 66-68-69-70—273 $14,175
T28 Andrew Martin 72-68-65-71—276 $8,950
T41 Marcus Fraser 69-69-69-72—279 $5,758
T47 Scott Hend 70-71-70-69—280 $4,700
T47 Jason Norris 70-68-71-71—280 $4,700
T65 Sam Brazel 71-70-74-71—286 $2,900
MC Josh Younger 72-71—143
MC Daniel Fox 75-68—143
MC Jake Higginbottom 73-72—145
MC Daniel Nisbet 76-69—145
MC Gareth Paddison 75-71—146
MC Denzel Ieremia 78-68—146
MC Aaron Pike 73-73—146
MC Andrew Dodt 76-71—147
MC Adam Blyth 71-77—148