Honma Hong Kong Open

As it happened: Hong Kong Open - Day One

Follow the action from the US$2 million event from Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 December, 2016, 8:46am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 December, 2016, 5:33pm

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‘Better, stronger, looser’ – injury-hit Justin Rose warns rivals he’s over worst as he defends Hong Kong Open title


The last put of the day drops. It is as we were at the top. 

Rafa Cabrera-Bello returns at 12:00 for his second round, with early starts for Justin Rose (08:00), Danny Willett (08:10) and Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed (07:50). 

Justin Rose: "I was pretty happy with that to be honest. I felt good with my body out there. I felt like it hit a lot of good golf shots. Just really struggled on the greens. I thought they were tricky this afternoon.I didn't quite have the speed. Not having played a practice round, some of the putts look a lot quicker than maybe they putted, and this afternoon the greens can get pretty grainy. I was having a hard time picking my reads on the back nine, under-read a couple short putts."


So, as the light fades over Fanling, it is that man Rafa Cabrera-Bello (you read it here first) who leads by two as he chases a first win of the year in what will be his last event of 2016. Frenchman Sebastian Gros heads the chasing pack at five-under, with 10 players a further shot off the pace. 

And because it was so good ... here's how the Spainaird did it in style ...


Coming to the end of the first day, Lu Wei-chih's charge has faltered and he is three-under with Australia's Wade Ormsby heading into the final few holes. 

‘My brain is getting in the way’ – Ian Poulter furious at mental lapses at Hong Kong Open

Credit to UBS and the Hong Kong Golf Club for offering free entry for the first two days. Not the biggest ever crowds compared to a Sunday, but encouraging for a Thursday. 

Justin Rose straight into media mode after his first round. 


Justin Rose opens the defence of his title with a level par opening round of 70 after a dropping a shot at the last. Masters champion Danny Willett one better at two-under. 

At the top, Rafa Cabrera-Bello still leads at six-under-par, with Frenchman Sebastien Gros a shot off the pace. 10 players tied for third at four-under with Taiwan's Lu Wei-chih only through 14 holes. 

Carlos Pigem hopes to win tournament for his late friend Pedro Ramseyer as players and caddies wear black ribbons following twin tragedies - Hong Kong Open tributes after death of two caddies on tour in last week


Frenchman Sebastien Gros cards a five-under 65 to move into second place in the clubhouse. 10 players currently at four-under although some are still on the course. Danny Willett at two-under and Justin Rose in the closing stages of their first rounds. 


South Africa's Jbe Kruger and Frenchman Sebastien Gros remain four-under through 16, with Danny Willett two-under with three to play. Justin Rose still at one-under after 15 having missed a birdie chance from three feet at 14.


Justin Rose back to one-under through 13 after a tap-in eagle, unlucky not to card an albatross after his approach hit the pin. 

South Africa's Jbe Kruger and Frenchman Sebastien Gros are four-under through 14. 

Watch: Patrick Reed, Danny Willett and Ian Poulter try their hand at Cantonese 


Children from Wai Chow Public School in Sheung Shui enyoyed a day out at Hong Kong Golf Club. 


Justin Rose back to level par through nine, with Danny Willett one-under after eight. 

Chinese golf star Dou Zecheng sets sights on US – but impressing at Hong Kong Open is first target


Thailand's Natipong Srithong is the leader on the course at four-under through six holes, with French pair Joel Slater and Benjamin Hebert a shot further back alongside Italy's Nino Bertasio. 

Free entry today at Hong Kong Golf Club, with strong crowds following Justin Rose and Danny Willett. 

Someone else is taking it easy ...

While Hong Kong's Olympian Tiffany Chan is also honoured with a display ...

And the spectator village looks great this year ...

On the course, Miguel Tabuena is three-under through five after starting with a hat-trick of birdies, with Justin Rose still at one-under through five. Masters champion Danny Willett is also under way at one-under through five also. 


Clubhouse leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello: "I played really smart today, made very little mistakes, even though I hit every green, pretty much all of them, didn't give myself in trouble off the tee. I was in control of the round all day and putted nicely, too, so it was nice work out there.

Ian Poulter: "A little bit annoyed to be honest with you, because the start was actually quite nice, three-under through four. And then missed three or four chances after that to really extend a nice birdie run. Didn't happen. Mental error on 18 with a ine-iron in hand. Should be really aggressive; I wasn't. Poor focus led to a bogey, a bogey there.

Paul Peterson: "It was a nice start today. Rolled the ball really, really well. Put a new putter in play the last couple weeks ago and just been working really hard on my putting back home in the States and paid off today.

Watch: Ian Poulter chip in for birdie at the eighth


Justin Rose is under way. Back-to-back pars to start and then a birdie at the third. He is driving well but still moving a little gingerly, but so far so good. 

Ian Poulter (-2) and Patrick Reed (level) are safely home as is Miguel Angel Jimenez (69). 


American Paul Peterson one of many players wearing black ribbons today in honour of caddies Pedro Ramseyer (who died last week) and Max Zechmann (who died this week). "We're all a family on tour especially among the caddies and such a shock to lose two in a couple of weeks," said Peterson after his first round 66. 

Watch: What a way to finish a round. Clubhouse leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello eagles the 10th (oddly his last hole of the day)



Defending champion (oh and Olympic Games gold medallist) Justin Rose is under way. Looking a little stiff, but he is here and playing and recieved a warm welcome from a good opening day crowd on the first tee. 

At the top of the leaderboard, Rafa Cabrera-Bello (below) is the new clubhouse leader after bogey-free six-under-par 66. The Spainiard is two clear of Sam Brazel and Paul Peterson, with Andrew Dodt, Jordan Smith and David Lipsky also two back but with holes to play.


Looking closer to home, Yannick Artigolle and Yue Hin-ho are three-over after 13 holes, with Humphrey Wong (below) back in the clubhouse after a six-over 76. Terrence Ng is under way for his first round with a par at his first hole of the day. 

The driving range is filling up ahead of the start of the afternoon session. 


That's Paul Peterson back in the hutch with a 66. Just the one bogey for the American compared to two from Sam Brazel. Jordan Smith still leads by one at five-under with five holes to play. 

Justin Rose rightly taking his time. Looked a little stiff and held his back briefly as he worked his way through his bag on the range. 


Masters champion Danny Willett and defending Hong Kong Open champion Justin Rose are on the driving range ahead of their first rounds on a glorious day at Hong Kong Golf Club it has to be said. Virtually no wind and warming up nicely. 

On the course, Jordan Smith is now at five-under with six to play, with Sam Brazel in the clubhouse at four-under after a first round 66. 


New leader. Amercian Paul Peterson moves to five-under with three holes to play. 


Getting a bit crowded at the top of the leaderboard with Sam Brazel (below), Paul Peterson, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Jason Scrivener and Jordan Smith now at four-under.

I have just been asked who Sam Brazel is....I have to admit our paths have not crossed yet. He does not have a profile picture on the European Tour website, but thankfully our friends at the Asian Tour are more accommodating.....

“Sam enjoyed his best season in 2015 highlighted by a fourth place result at The World Classic Championship at Laguna National in Singapore. It helped him to a 13th place finish on the Order of Merit for his career’s best in Asia. Also posted two other top-10s and played his way into contention on several occasions. In 2014 he finished tied fourth at the Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT.”

He has played 17 events on the Asian Tour this year, earning just under US$100,000, although he has had just one top 10 finish in 2016.


Sam Brazel remains in front at four-under alongside Jordan Smith, with Paul Peterson, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Jason Scrivener and Jorge Campillio at three-under. Slip for Ian Poulter with a first bogey of the day at the 18th to drop back to two-under.

See what Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello had to say ahead of this week

While this event is the third event of the 2017 European Tour season (don’t worry it’s still December 2016 - have you seen Santa yet...) but this year’s Open is the final event of the 2016 Asian Tour season. Australia’s Scott Hend currently leads the way on the order of merit ahead of compatriot Marcus Fraser and India’s Anirban Lahiri. The later isn’t here this week, so Fraser needs to win and hope 2014 winner Hend finishes lower than 13th. Hend gets his challenge under way at midday, with Fraser currently one-over through 10.


Hong Kong update, 2016 Hong Kong Open Amateur and Mid Amateur Championships Yannick Artigolle is one-under-par through six, with fellow amateurs Humphey Wong and Yue Hin-ho at three-over.

As for Jason Hak, he was hoping to earn a place in this week’s final stage of qualifying for the PGA Tour’s second-tier circuit via his finish on the PGA Tour China Series order of merit but missed out by a couple of places.

Read all our Hong Kong Open coverage

Watch: Patrick Reed shares his thoughts ahead of today’s first round. (The American is one-over-par through seven holes playing with Ian Poulter).


Australia’s Sam Brazel is now the outright leader at four-under through 10 holes despite dropping a shot at his first hole of the day, with Ian Poulter, Jason Scrivener and Jordan Smith one off the pace.

Some of the players were up early this morning and have already taken to social media...


On the course, Sam Brazel and Ian Poulter are the early pacesetters on a bright but cool first morning with the duo three-under-par, with Jason Scrivener, Shiv Kapur and Jorge Campillo also going well at two-under.

Interesting to note, for the first two rounds players are starting at the first tee (nothing new there) but also the 11th due to the layout of the Composite course at Hong Kong Golf Club.

Good morning and welcome to the first day of the 2016 UBS Hong Kong Open from Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling. This is the 58th staging of Hong Kong’s longest running sporting event, with a total of US$2 million in prize money up for grabs. Justin Rose is the defending champion, but can he recover from a back injury to compete with the likes of Masters champion Danny Willett and American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed. And don’t forget loveable Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez who is seeking a record fifth Hong Kong Open title. But with 126 players getting their first rounds under way today, who will emerge the winner come Sunday at a course which has produced some fantastic finishes over the years. Who remembers Rory McIlroy v Lin Wen-tang in 2008 to name just one?

Looking down the draw sheet, today’s highlights are:

07:40 Miguel Angel Jimenez/SSP Chawrasia/Rafa Cabrera Bello

07:50 Ian Poulter/Patrick Reed/Gaganjeet Bhullar

12:00 Justin Rose/Scott Hend/Thongchai Jaidee

12:10 Danny Willett/Kiradech Aphibarnrat/Wang Jeung-hun

From a Hong Kong point of view, Humphrey Wong (7:00), Nathan Artigolle (08:10), Yue Yin-ho (08:30), Terrence Ng (11:20) and James Stewart (11:50) are all in action.