After 13 years and 264 attempts, Wade Ormsby ends wait for European Tour glory with thrilling Hong Kong Open win
The 37-year-old follows in the footsteps of fellow Aussie battler Sam Brazel as Rafa Cabrera Bello settles for second once again
The baton was passed from one Aussie battler to another at the UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday, with Wade Ormsby landing his first European Tour win after 13 years and 264 attempts.
The 37-year-old from Adelaide held on to snare a victory he thought “might never happen” after a dramatic final half an hour at Fanling.
It was an emotional Ormsby who accepted the trophy 12 months after countryman Sam Brazel landed his breakthrough win on the same green.
“It’s been a long time, I think I got my card back in 2003 and I didn’t think it would take this long,” Ormsby said.
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“I said at the start of last year I want to play in a major and win a tournament before my career is done and I’ve done both of those things this year.”
Brazel was one of the first to congratulate Ormsby after last year’s runner-up Rafa Cabrera Bello missed a putt on the 18th that would have seen him draw level.
“It’s nice to see your mates win, Hendy [2014 winner Scott Hend] has won here, Marcus Fraser has always contended here,” Ormsby said about his fellow Australians.
“You always take inspiration from your closest mates and we have been starting to get a few better results as a group and it’s nice to get a good one myself.”
It was Ormsby’s second career win after his success in the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India in 2013 and one that is all the more sweeter for the wait.
“You definitely think that it might never happen and you might have had a good career but never win,” he said.
“There’s so many people back home, they ride the bumps with you, I’m really close to my family so I guess it makes the whole thing a bit more emotional.
“My family has always been in golf, dad’s a golf professional so they know what it’s all about and how hard it has been for me to win out here. I have dedicated the last 20 years of my life to try and do this and to finally achieve that is pretty cool.”
After starting the day at nine under and one shot behind overnight leader SSP Chawrasia, Ormsby fired four birdies in a two-under-par 68.
He finished on 11 under for the week to edge American’s Julian Suri and Paul Peterson, Sweden’s Alexander Bjork and Cabrera Bello by one stroke.
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After a birdie on 17, Ormsby held the lead with a hole to play and the tournament was his to lose. And lose it he very nearly did, three putting 18 to leave Cabrera Bello needing just a par to force a play-off after he also birdied 17.
“I thought I blew it, but at the same time I kind of hit the shot in there that I wanted, obviously it was further left and that putt is treacherous down there,” Ormsby said.
“I just had to wait and see what Rafa did, I looked back down the fairway and he was tight on the right side so I still thought I was a chance.”
Ormsby was remarkably consistent all week, shooting rounds of 68, 68, 65 and 68, with his bogey on the final hole only his fourth for the week to go with one double bogey.
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“At the start of the day I could see myself winning, but I had to have a few things fall my way and they did,” he said.
“My game had been developing, my caddie, my coach and I had been doing a lot of work mentally just to try and get myself better.
“We knew it was getting better, we just didn’t know when we were going to win one. I’m not a terribly long hitter, there’s only a certain amount of golf courses that suit your style of play and this is one of them.”
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After leading for the first three days, Chawrasia shot 72 to drop to a tie for seventh, while Tommy Fleetwood finished sixth at nine under.
Justin Rose carded a two-under-par 68 on Sunday to finish tied 10th, while Sergio Garcia was back in 19th.