Lowry shoots blistering 64 as Ormsby gets season off to flying start by winning the Hong Kong Open

By Brian Keogh  

Shane Lowry. Photo by Golffile

Shane Lowry headed for Abu Dhabi with a spring in his step after firing a superb 64 to finish second behind wire-to-wire winner Wade Ormsby in the Hong Kong Open.

Ten years after missing the cut for the second year in a row on his last trip to Hong Kong, the Open champion showed he’s now a far more accomplished player as he began his push for Ryder Cup qualification in hugely positive fashion.

“It’s a golf course I obviously didn’t have much success on in the past but I’m a different player than I was then, and I really enjoyed it this week,” said Lowry, who picked up a welcome haul of Ryder Cup qualifying points, a timely confidence boost ahead of the $7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship defence this week and a cheque for $110,000.

“I said to my caddy going down the last, we need to start picking courses that suit me and I think this is one of the courses that suits me.”

A runner-up finish represented the second-best start to a season in Lowry’s 11-year career, bettered only by last year’s hugely significant victory in Abu Dhabi.

Having started the day in a six-way tie for ninth, six shots behind the 39-year old Australian, the Offalyman showed his intent by holing a bunker shot for an opening birdie three.

Ormsby would start with a bogey some 30 minutes later to allow Lowry to cut the gap to four, but the Adelaide native then birdied the next three holes in a row en route to a four-under 66 and a four-shot win over Lowry on 17-under par.

“I’m very happy with myself,” said Lowry, who birdied the fourth, 10th and 12th to move into second place and then eagled the par-five 13th from 18 feet to briefly cut Ormsby’s lead to three.

“Fair play to Wade, he’s run away with it and didn’t really give us a chance but I went out there and did as much as I could. 64 around here is a pretty good score in these conditions.”

Lowry’s slim hopes of victory evaporated with a bogey at the 15th and while he holed a curling putt from 30 feet from the at the 16th to give himself a glimmer of hope, he couldn’t birdie either of the last two holes and Ormsby birdied the 17th to take a comfortable four-shot lead down the 18th. 

“I felt like the pressure was on all week,” Ormsby said after two-putting from long-range for a closing par at the treacherous 18th. “I’m proud of the way I played this week and it’s nice to get 2020 off to a flying start.

“It’s still nerve-racking coming down the stretch you know, like that 18th hole, it can do anything to you but I got the tee-shot in play and hit a weak iron shot into it but anyway. Four on the card and won by four, so I’m very happy.”

Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul was third on 12-under after a 69 with compatriot Jazz Janewattananond fourth, a shot further back

Lowry played the final round alongside Japan’s Tomoharu Otsuki and world No 16 Tony Finau, who double-bogeyed the 18th to finish fifth on 10-under after a 67.

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