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Golf | European Tour

Hong Kong Open on defensive



Organisers of the $2 million UBS Hong Kong Open have moved to defend the tournament after it lost its main drawcard, the world No 1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy.

The 23-year-old failed to make the cut after his second round on Friday. Despite that and rain forecast for Saturday, organisers of the co-sanctioned European Tour and Asian Tour event said they expected a good weekend of action.

"Like us, he was obviously disappointed that he could not find his very best on the course this week," an official statement said.

"But it certainly was not for want of trying and his absence for the last two rounds in no way detracts from what promises to be another exciting weekend."

After McIlroy, the highest-ranked player in Hong Kong is the American Matt Kuchar, who is 17th in the world. He was in tied 20th at the halfway stage.

Crowds at Hong Kong Golf Club are marginally up on last year, according to official figures.

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