Honma Hong Kong Open

Hong Kong Open: Typhoon Mangkhut has made Fanling easier, says defending champion Wade Ormsby

  • The Australian won with 11 under in 2017 but this year’s winner could reach minus 20
  • It looks unlikely he will make it back-to-back titles
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 November, 2018, 6:06pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 November, 2018, 11:00pm

The destruction of Typhoon Mangkhut saw 700 dump trucks of debris removed from Fanling and defending Honma Hong Kong Open champion Wade Ormsby says the storm is playing a role in this year’s low scores.

Ormsby won last year’s tournament with an overall score of 11 under but this year’s winning total is poised to be far lower, with three-round leader Aaron Rai already sitting at 16 under par.

“I think overall there’s a little bit more depth in the grass so it doesn’t play quite as fast, combined with the typhoon knocking quite a few trees down,” Ormsby said.

“It just feels a bit more open out there, sometimes it’s a bit more claustrophobic. The greens are probably a touch slower too, a little bit more receptive.”

Hong Kong Open: Typhoon Mangkhut took more than 1,000 trees from Fanling and filled 700 dump trucks with debris

It is looking unlikely Ormsby will claim back-to-back Hong Kong victories, with the Australian’s two-under-par 68 on Saturday leaving him 11 adrift of Englishman Rai.

“I still can have a good week but the leaders have skipped away, I’ll go out there tomorrow and go as low as I can and see what happens,” he said, adding that while he is relatively happy with his form, there’s room for improvement on Sunday.

“You always want it better, I’m a bit disappointed with the bogey on the last but there’s a lot of good stuff in there for me at the moment so I’ve just got to put it all together, get a bit of rhythm out there, get after it and have a low one.”

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Australian’s have won the Open in three of the last four years, with Scott Hend in 2014 and Sam Brazel in 2016 also saluting, but the chances of the trophy heading Down Under this time out are slim.

Jason Scrivener is the best of the Aussies, seven shots behind Rai at nine under.