• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:01pm

Hong Kong Open

The Hong Kong Open is the oldest professional sporting event in Hong Kong and in 2013 celebrates its 55th anniversary. The winner of the 2012 edition was Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.

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Hong Kong Open 2013 - live blog

Follow our live coverage of the 55th Hong Kong Open golf tournament from Fanling

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 10:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 5:52pm

Final edit - doesn't seem to be anything else to report here, so that's us for day one. Tune in tomorrow for more

5:40

Alright, let's wrap it up here.

Full leaderboard on the European Tour website but the top line from day one at the Hong Kong Open is that Ireland's David Higgins shot a 64 for a one-shot lead over Andrea Pavan of Italy, the pair just ahead of a seven-strong chasing pack on -4 and another clutch on -3. 

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez is not out of it despite an unspectacular par opening round. But it's still almost anybody's.

Shot of the day: Probably Jimenez's Seve-esque iron to the green from behind a tree on 9, hit with tons of draw. 

Putt of the day: Hong Kong amateur Steven Lam's 12-foot effort on 13 for an eagle after finding the green from the tee with a hybrid

Quote of the day: "I could drink a 12-pack of beer when I was 15, but I certainly couldn't play golf like that" - John Daly on Guan Tianlang

Egg sandwiches consumed by SCMP:  9

 

5:30

There's still maybe three groups with a hole to play, but none of any great note. Nacho Elvira could join the group tied for third on -4, but really ... it's about time for a sip of the sponsor's:

5:10

Andrea Pavan's closed with a 65, so Higgins is going to be outright leader after day one. There's still a few stragglers out on course, including top Hong Kong player Wong Woon-man (-2 with three to play). Light's getting dimmer and a few of these guys might have to come back early tomorrow. 

4:50

Defending champion Jimenez practising his putting after missing a tap-in to bogey the last and finish on level par for the day

Miguel Angel Jimenez (70) I need some more putts - I'm hitting good but I need some more putts

4:45

Irishman David Higgins is the leader in the clubhouse, -6. Andrea Pavan of Italy is level with two to play.

Higgins tied second in the Italian Open this year, but still lost his European Tour card by just over 18,000 euros - then failed to win it back in Q-school. So he'll be desperate to keep up this form - nine birdies on his card - over the next three days

David Higgins (64) It's a good start for me I like this course it rewards a guy who hits the fairways. The end of the year was disappointing but this is a good start. Still a long way to go though

 

4:30

Just been at the scorer's tent, hearing a remarkable story. 

I think this is how it went down:

Unho Park was first reserve and made it in to the tournament. Anthony Kang was second reserve, but figured he had no chance, with no sign of anyone else pulling out. So the 2009 Malaysian Open winner decided it would be fun to caddy for his friend Unho - leaving a reserve slot open for another friend of theirs, Lam Chi-bing, which none of them figured would be taken.

Then, this morning, Joonas Granberg's caddy told his player the wrong tee, so Granberg was disqualified for not making his tee-off time.

Lam was suddenly in - and better still, he was playing in the same group as Park and his new caddie Kang.

Best of all, Lam shot a 66 for a share of fourth place

Kang (no score, accidental caddy): I waited all morning, could only get a place if an Asian Tour player pulled out. There were no reports of anyone pulling out, and it seemed most likely I wouldn't get in. Unho had no proper caddy, just a club caddy, so I thought it would be fun.

Lam (66): The three of us were talking about funny scenarios that might happen - I walked out on the first tee, and it couldn't have been scripted any better

Kang: I knew it was going to be him in our group. I felt bad for Joonas - and bad for myself - but I'm really happy for Chi-bing

Park (71): Noobies are always bad, [Kang]  dropped the putter cover on one hole, but he did okay. We were saying it would be so funny if this happened and it did.

 

3:40

Higgins strokes in from six feet for his eighth birdie of the day and a two-shot outright lead.

He failed at the European Tour Q School recently, so a decent result here would be a real lift as he tries to regain his card in the 2014 season.

3:30

We have an outright leader! Ireland's David Higgins has birdied No 6 to go to -5. Five birdies and two bogies in his front nine, two more birdies on the back with three holes to go. 

Meanwhile, some controversy in the press tent as Matt has switched from egg to ham sandwiches

3:15

The media centre is not exactly a hive of activity. In previous years this place was rammed. 

3:00

We have a couple of players joining the leaders, Andrea Pavan of Italy and David Higgins of Ireland. 

Meanwhile, my colleague Matt is on his fifth egg sandwich of the day. He's fallen miserably short of getting the South China Morning Post team on to the clubhouse veranda for a slap-up feed. 

An interesting snippet: Mr Granberg won't be too happy with his caddy

 

2:45

Just been out for a little stroll and a look at the action. Beautiful day here on the course - but not many spectators taking advantage of it. Attendance seems likely in the hundreds rather than thousands. 

Meanwhile, back at the leaderboard, Alexander Cjeka's joined Meesawat and Dodt on four under, ahead of a group of eight on -3. Hong Kong's Wong Woon-man is two under after five, the leading local player. Jimenez is still rolling along unspectacularly on -1.

2:00

Bit of movement around the top as Que and Plaphol both drop to leave early leaders Meesawat and Dodt still in that tie for the outright lead. Que is -3 and Plaphol has dropped to -1 after a double bogey 6 on the first, his ninth, taking the penalty for that mistake, and then a bogey.

Good line on the European Tour's afternoon report - Joel Sjoholm made his tee-off time with minutes to spare after getting a late alarm call (somewhat defeating the purpose of an alarm call). He had to jump a cab in a panic and just made it, playing the first few holes in his trainers before someone found him some spikes. Didn't affect him too much as he finished on -2.  

 

1:45

Uh-oh - it looks like Chawalit Plaphol just hit someone else's ball. That'll be a two-stroke penalty if confirmed

1:34

Match No.36 is definitely the one to follow if you're among the sparse crowd - Plaphol and Que both have joined the group on -4, 24 for their first eight holes. Some top facts on them coming up as soon as I check my records* . Plaphol just missed a testing birdie chance for the outright lead which fell well below the hole

Meanwhile, defending champ Jimenez is ticking over okay - a bogey and two birdies. Just left another birdie chance six inches short. 

Steven Lam is leading local player on -1 with two holes left. Has played here three times before but never made the cut, one of my sources (ie a better-informed journalist) tells me. Jason Hak, who made the cut here three times as an amateur, finished +4 in his first trip as a pro.

* wikipedia

 

 

1:23

Here's some facts about joint leader Prom Meesawat which I have painstakingly researched  shamelessly copied from this Asian Tour release:

  • He is nicknamed Big Dolphin, because of his girth (dolphins are quite sleek and aquadynamic [is that a word?] aren't they?) and because he's from the coastal town of Hua Hin
  • He almost ended his seven-year wait for a second title last month but lost to Liang Wen-chong in a play-off
  • er
  • that's it

1:15

Angelo Que of the Philippines is off to a flier, an eagle and two birdies in his first six holes to give him a share of the lead on -4 with Meesawat and Dodt.

There's a group taking shape on -3, six players on that mark, while defending champ Jimenez is currently par after four.

12:56

Live coverage to start soon on the media screens, so should have a wee bit more shot-by-shot detail from then.

Of the late starters, a few are on the charge:

Scott Hend -3 after 4, a birdie on two and eagle on 3

and match #36 is a combined -8 after their first five:

Chawalit Plaphol -3, three birdies

Espen Kofstad -2, two birdies

Angelo Que -3, eagle and a birdie

 

On the redevelopment note, an interesting story in our news section today about the antiquities board grading the Fanling lodge and clubhouse for historical value - though it won't affect any housing plans. Regardless of your views on whether the course should be turned over for housing, it would be a shame to see yet more historic (or as close as Hong Kong gets to historic) buildings bite the dust.

 

12:33

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez has teed off at the first to the sounds of construction banging from a tower block going up in the distance - a reminder that many in Hong Kong would like to see this golf course taken over for housing development. 

Meanwhile, John Daly was super impressed with his playing partner Guan Tianlang, who outscored the only major winner in the field by seven shots.

John Daly (78) He hits it great, he's going to be a great player. Young kids are becoming better earlier, I think the technology gives them more of an opportunity

I could drink a 12-pack of beer when I was 15, but I certainly couldn't play golf like that

 

 

12:18

Just been out at the scorer's hut talking to a few of the finishers.

The bad news is that Guan went bogey, bogey, bogey, triple bogey, par over his last five  holes to leave him at +1 for the day. Not bad, but not the sensational round he looked likely to post early on. 

Guan Tianlang (71): Little bit disappointed - problems with my swing the last few holes but that's golf. But I'm still okay, one over is not bad. 

The clubhouse leaders on four under par are Prom Meesawat of Thailand and Andrew Dodt of Australia. Meesawat has only won once on the Asian Tour, in 2006, and Dodt lost his European Tour card this year, so they'll be hoping to continue their first-round form.

Prom Meesawat (66): I'll just keep doing what I've been working on and I think another win will come soon

Andrew Dodt (66): I've always liked coming here. I made a slow start but I birdied the last four holes. The course is in great shape, pretty dry, and the greens are running really well 

11:34

Four-letter epithets being thrown about with abandon in the press centre as Guan bogies his THIRD in a row to fall to two under, the easy lead stories floating away with every dropped shot. He has two left to get back among the leaders

11:31am

The early starters are beginning to complete their rounds. Scotland's Scott Henry is the clubhouse leader on two-under 68. Likely to be overtaken soon by Stuart Manley, who's on the last at four-under. Manley's the player who shot a hole-in-one in Melbourne a few weeks ago, jumped around like a madman thinking he'd won a car, was told that was only for the final day, then duly shot an 11 on the next hole

11:24am

Uh-oh, Guan's bogied his second in a row to slip to -3. An, Meesawat and Manley now out on their own on -4

Not too many noteworthy single holes so far. Only one eagle, from Hong Kong's Steven Lam, and a couple of triple bogies, unsurprisingly one from HK's Max Ting, who has the worst score in the field.

 

Forgot to mention that An Byeong-hun is among that group on -4.

Meanwhile, here's how the local contenders are doing:

Steven Lam (a) -2 after 8

James Stewart -1 after 17

Timothy Tang +1 after 9

Jason Hak Shun Yat +2 after 11

Max Wong (a)  +3 after 8

Shinichi Mizuno (a) +6 after 17

and - oh dear -

Max Ting +15 after 17

Doug Williams, Humphrey Wong and Wong Woon-man yet to tee off

 

11:09am

Guan's dropped his first shot of the day on the par-4 6th, so we have a four-way tie for the lead: Guan (through 14), Stuart Manley of Wales (16), Meesawat of Thailand (15), and Wade Ormsby of Australia (12). 

Meanwhile, I've been for a wander round the hospitality tents. Not exactly a bustling atmosphere here - more than a little different to the last golf event I covered, the ridiculous 'Duel at Mission Hills' between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Difficult to judge early on a Thursday morning, but certainly initial impressions are that the lack of big names here has likely impacted on crowd numbers

 

 

10:40am

Guan still going strong here, more pars on the par-5 3rd and par-4 4th to continue his flawless round so far. 

In the absence of truly big names here, the teenager bagging his first win would delight the denizens of the media centre - which is fairly sparsely populated just now. 

The TVs here are showing highlights from 2012's final round rather than live coverage of today's action, so ball-by-ball commentary is going to prove tricky. However, my money's on Miguel Angel Jimenez for 2012.

 

The full leaderboard is here http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2014/tournamentid=201309...

with Thailand's Prom Meesawat and South Korea's An Byeong-hun one shot off Guan's pace. Hong Kong amateur Steven Lam (-2) is top local player on a beautiful sunny morning.

Good morning and welcome to our live blog from the first day of the Hong Kong Open at Fanling. 

The early news is that Chinese wonderkid Guan Tianlang, just 15 years old, is tearing up the course. 

Starting on the 11th tee earlier this morning, he's had birdies on the 12th, 13th, 17th, 18th and 2nd to lie 5 under par after 10 holes, and is currently teaching playing partner John Daly (+2) a golfing lesson.

Stay tuned here all day for all the action from Hong Kong Golf Club.

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