South Australian Wade Ormsby and Japan’s Tomoharu Otsuki shared the opening round lead after they returned with matching five-under-par 65s at the season-opening Hong Kong Open on Thursday.
Ormsby found himself back in a familiar position atop the leaderboard, just like he did when he won the Hong Kong Open in 2017 after marking his card with six birdies and one bogey.
“I'm very happy with how I play today. It's nice to get off to a good start,” Ormsby said. “A little bit windy in the afternoon but I’m happy with how I held up. I like a lot of these shots around here, the course fits my eyes a lot. That's why I've chosen to start my season here.
“It's hard to tell what number to shoot until the tournament gets going. I thought it's quite fun out there. But it's quite tricky. This place is always tricky. So I think if you can go to double digits, you won't be far away.”
Otsuki, an Asian Tour Qualifying School graduate in 2019, enjoyed a fast start with three birdies in his opening five holes before adding two more birdies on holes 12 and 13 in his back-nine for a flawless 65 at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
"I like a lot of these shots around here, the course fits my eyes a lot. That's why I've chosen to start my season here." - Wade Ormsby
With swirling winds and challenging conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club presenting a tough test to the 120 players, Korea’s Yikeun Chang also showed his early promise when he signed for a 66 under testing conditions to share third place with the Australian duo of Travis Smyth and David Gleeson.
“I’ve been finding some good form as of late which is good,” Gleeson said. “Things felt pretty good. Did some work probably two and a half years ago with an old friend, Chris Gibson, which is doing really well with a lot of young players in Australia. Simplified things a little bit and I’m enjoying it.I don’t think I’m playing that much differently from how I used to maybe 10 years ago.”
Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul continued to carry forward his consistent form into the new decade when he returned with a 67 to stay two shots off the pace in tied-sixth that also included teen sensation Joohyung Kim of Korea.
Kim announced his arrival with his Asian Tour breakthrough in India last year and the 17-year-old did not disappoint again as he outplayed his playing partners, Jazz Janewattananond and Shane Lowry, who are the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion and Open champion respectively.
Jazz signed for a 68 to end the day in tied-12th while Lowry posted a 69 to be among the 11 players that also included Tony Finau in a share of 20th place.