The Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling, marks the next stop for this year's European Tour stars.
Taking place between Dec. 5-8, this year's competition is set to suffer under the weight of missing stars, who instead opted to compete in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Golf Course in South Africa.
As noted by the AFP, via the Sydney Morning Herald, Miguel Angel Jimenez is the only representative from the world's top 50 to make the trip to Hong Kong.
The 49-year-old could smash his own record as the tour's oldest winner when he comes up against Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang, who continues to impress at just 15 years of age.
Jimenez will be confident of defending last year's crown and capturing a purse worth $1.3 million, as reported by Fergus Bisset of Golf Monthly.
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Leaderboard courtesy of EuropeanTour.com
Miguel Angel Jimenez won the 2013 Hong Kong Open after a thrilling playoff round.
When the golfers finished the 72nd and final hole on Sunday afternoon, three players were tied at the top with a score of 12-under par. Jimenez, Stuart Manley and Prom Meesawat headed into the playoff with a chance at victory.
On the 18th hole during the playoff, Jimenez left himself with an 18-foot putt for birdie to post a tough score to beat. He sank that putt, and put the pressure on his two counterparts.
Meesawat couldn't answer, leaving his second shot short of the green as he couldn't hole in a chip shot that resulted.
Manley, who held a one-shot lead heading into Sunday, could not answer either. He had to make a tough putt to save par, which didn't stack up against Jimenez's birdie.
The 49-year-old Jimenez is no stranger to winning this event, as it was his fourth time notching victory at the Hong Kong Open.
Stuart Manley held on for a one-shot lead at the end of Day 3.
Leaderboard provided by EuropeanTour.com
|4=||Jose Manuel Lara||Spain||-8|
|4=||Miguel Angel Jiminez||Spain||-8|
Stuart Manley carded a four-under 66 as he improved to 10 under and took his place at the top of the leaderboard after Day 3.
The Welshman had one bogey across the front nine and dropped another shot across the final nine holes, but in between he played some magnificent golf that included six birdies.
A graduate of the Qualifying School, Manley is searching for his first European Tour title, and goes into the final day's play with a great opportunity to do just that.
India's Shiv Kapoor and American Wade Ormsby kept pace with Manley, finishing in a tie for second place with their own 66 and moving up a place.
Elsewhere, Steve Webster, Jose Manuel Lara and Miguel Angel Jiminez all hit a fluent 65 to jump 10 places up the leaderboard and leave themselves just two shots off the lead at eight under.
Of the three, Webster was the most consistent, not once dropping a shot as everything suddenly looked easy for the Englishman.
Just below that trio sits Sweden's Joel Sjoholm, who perhaps had the best day of all. Sjoholm also went round without dropping a shot for his 65, but had the biggest leap of the day as he climbed 20 places by the end of the third round.
With such a small margin between the top seven players, the final day's play is sure to bring out the best in the players vying for the title. In conjunction with this extra pressure, mistakes are also inevitable—which could in fact decide the tournament.
Leaderboard provided by EuropeanTour.com.
|1||Jbe Kruger||South Africa||-7|
Jbe Kruger produced six birdies across the back nine to take a well-deserved lead at the end of the second day's play at the Hong Kong Open.
The South African—who improved massively after carding three bogeys across his first nine holes—also showed a touch of class when he paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela upon taking the lead, per Sky Sports.
Kruger began to exert dominance on the 11th when he sunk a testing eight-foot putt, reported by ESPN. He took the top spot with a memorable 25-footer at the 14th and never looked like ceasing control from this point.
The 27-year-old is closely followed by Stuart Manley, who shot a three-under round to put himself in contention. Manley also holed three bogeys throughout the day—his coming along the back nine—but his spread of six birdies currently has him one shot off the overall lead.
Alex Cejka, Wade Ormsby and Shiv Kapur are one further shot behind Kruger, with Kapur's four-under round able to match the frontrunner's score for the day.
Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez enjoyed a better showing and should be considered as an outside threat to Kruger at this stage.
His three-under score puts him four shots off the South African in the overall standings, but Jimenez will be more than capable of closing that gap by utilising the experience that has seen him win this competition three times.
Guan Tianlang, the 15-year-old sensation who suffered a mixed opening round, dropped down the leaderboard after posting a five-over 75 for the day. He misses the cut.
Leaderboard provided by EuropeanTour.com.
|1||David Higgins||Republic of Ireland||-6|
|10=||Jbe Kruger||South Africa||-3|
David Higgins sank nine birdies to capture a one-shot lead during a dramatic opening day for the Hong Kong Open, which also saw Joonas Granberg disqualified for missing his tee time, as reported by Sky Sports.
Higgins' six-under round saw him evade Italy's Andrea Pavan in second, the Irishman shooting three consecutive birdies across holes 16, 17 and 18 to overcome three bogeys across the day.
The round was overshadowed by a Granberg mistake that saw him head to the first tee instead of his starting slot at the 11th. By the time he realised, his caddie had arrived at the 10th, a mistake Joel Sjoholm was also fortunate to avoid.
Seven players remain equal on four-under, while the chasing pack is crammed further still with five players on three-under for the day.
Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, easily the tournament favourite, suffered a disappointing round with a par-equalling 70.
Nevertheless, this was still one shot better than teenage sensation Guan Tianlang, who endured a challenging day, per the European Tour's official report:
15 year old Guan, who holds the record as the youngest player to make the cut at a Major Championship, set at this year's Masters Tournament, finished with a one over par 71 despite at one stage being five under.
Guan had been flawless through his opening 13 holes, but one bogey led to a collapse, which culminated with a triple-bogey at his penultimate hole for the day.