Wade Ormsby says accuracy off the tee is paramount at Fanling. Asian Tour
This week could not have come quickly enough for Australian Wade Ormsby.
A two-time winner of the Hong Kong Open, Ormsby will be looking for a third Fanling triumph when he lines up in the inaugural World City Championship at Hong Kong Golf Club (HKGC).
The seventh leg of the 2023 Asian Tour season starts on Thursday on the Composite Course at HKGC amid much excitement as it is helping to celebrate the reopening of Hong Kong to international travellers.
For Ormsby, on a high after a welcome return to form following his victory at the International Series Thailand two weeks ago, the $1 million tournament offers an opportunity to further illustrate his love affair with the HKGC.
At the International Series Thailand, Ormsby overcame Thai Chonlatit Chuenboonngam at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off.
His fourth Asian Tour title was the perfect preparation for what will be the first international golf tournament in Hong Kong for 38 months.
It was in the second week of January 2020 that Ormsby repelled the challenge of Major champion Shane Lowry to claim his second Hong Kong Open title by four shots. Within two months, the spread of COVID-19 prompted the imposition of travel bans and the cessation of sporting gatherings.
However, with the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, Hong Kong is once more ready to showcase itself as ‘Asia’s World City’ and a hub for major sporting events.
And no one was more delighted with that news than Ormsby who captured his first Hong Kong Open crown in 2017 by a single stroke.
“It’s great to back, it’s such a special place for me,” said the Australian.
“Had last week off, as I was a reserve in Tucson for the LIV event and won two weeks ago. So I am in a good place, I am playing well and can’t wait to get started. The golf course looks in great condition.”
When asked what the secret is to playing Fanling’s Composite Course he had a simple answer: “Hit it straight around this place! I have successful experience here and the offer of The Open spot is great.”
The Open spot he is referring to is The Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July, as this week’s event has the honour of being part of The Open Qualifying Series, with the leading four player not otherwise exempt earning a place in the game’s oldest major.
Ormsby is not the only former Fanling champion teeing-off in the World City Championship.
Also in the field are England’s Ian Poulter and Australian Scott Hend, winners of the Hong Kong Open in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
“I feel like coming back home,” said Poulter.
“It is a golf course I have played many times, great memories shooting 60 on the golf course. It is a golf course that has been here for over 100 years with three great golf courses, wonderful members here and I have so many fans here, and Open places are on offer, hopefully I can earn one of those spots.”
He shot that 10-under 60 in the second round in 2010.
He said: “That was actually a funny day. I said to my caddie when I was travelling to the golf course, I think I have to shoot three-under for the first day, and I said, when we were travelling home in a car after the round, I will be 13-under and it will be the only time I shoot 60 and that is the only time I have called it, that I would shoot 60 after thousands of rounds of golf. It was a strange day, and it was a great day. Other things I remember most about coming to Hong Kong, is great food, great hospitality, wonderful golf course, I have made so many friends, I love coming to Hong Kong.”
A strong Thai presence at Fanling will be spearheaded by former OWGR top-50 players Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Jazz Janewattananond and also includes Sadom Kaewkanjana and Nitithorn Thippong.
Another notable Thai to watch out for is Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat, 23rd in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).
At the age of 15 years and 37 days old, TK won the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup last April, becoming the youngest male player to win on one of the game’s major tours.
At the World City Championship an extra layer of intrigue will be added by the fact that he’ll lock horns with fellow teenager Ding Wenyi of China, the reigning US Junior Amateur champion who is 16th in the WAGR.
While Taichi Kho, Matthew Cheung and Leon D’Souza are among the leading Hong Kong professionals taking part, there will also be eight local amateurs in the field, led by Alexander Yang.