Categorized | 2014, April 2014, News, On Tour

Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Championship

By: Antony Sutton

Michio Matsumura

Michio Matsumura of Japan the winner of the 2014 Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia PGA Championship: Photo Courtesy of OneAsia

Japan’s Michio Matsumura birdied the last three holes to snatch victory by a shot on Sunday in a rain-interrupted final round of the U.S. $1 million Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia PGA Championship, presented by the Indonesia Port Corporation.

The 31-year-old (with three career wins) on the Japan Golf Tour, had rounds of 65, 67, 67 and 68 to finish 21 under par around Damai Indah Golf’s 6,545-metre (7,160-yard) Bumi Serpong Damai course to claim the $180,000 first prize at a tournament co-sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Tour.

The final group of Juvic Pagunsan, Michio Matsumura and overnight leader Sang-hyun Park had reached the 10th fairway when lightning struck nearby and heavy rain suspended play for over 2 hours. The opening three days of the tournament had seen very dry, sunny and hot conditions, and several players were clearly feeling tired from the oppressive heat. The winner Michio, started his final day poorly shooting 38 on his outward nine, sitting two over at the turn on -15.

When play continued at about 4pm local time, conditions were a lot cooler, and Matsumura started to find his form and finished birdie-birdie-birdie to win his first professional tournament outside of Japan.

Australia’s Rhein Gibson may well have woken up on Nyepi and wondered on what might have been. On the final round of the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia PGA Championship, he was 10 under approaching the 17th hole.

The 28 year old Australian had started the fourth day on 206 -10, so far off the leading pack no one in their wildest dreams, not even Gibson, could have envisioned the round that followed.

The day began with South Korean Sang-hyun Park a stroke clear on 18 under, followed by Japan’s Michio Matsumura and Juvic Pagusan from the Philippines while Wu Ashun (China) was 15 under.

What followed was a phenomenal round by Gibson, seeing him race up the leaderboard with an eagle, 10 birdies and two bogeys to put him in the lead going in to the last two holes.

“I had some good yardages and just hit it to within a couple of feet,” he said. “I had some really cheap birdies and that’s what really got me going.”

Then the heavens opened. The torrential rain fell for nearly three hours, confining the players and spectators to the clubhouse.

Rhein Gibson

Rhein Gibson of Australia equaled the course record with a 62 on the final day: Photo Courtesy of OneAsia

When play resumed, Gibson could only par the 17th and 18th, his final putt receiving a chant of ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ from at least one compatriot who had been enjoying the complimentary service in one of the sponsor’s marquees.

Playing a few holes ahead of the other leading challengers, all Gibson could do was sit in the clubhouse and wait nervously. Would he lift the trophy or would he be left to rue disappointing scores on the first and third days when he managed a combined three under 141.

Perhaps he could find solace in the knowledge he had equaled the course record at 6,545 metre Indah Damai BSD course with Gaganjeet Bhullar who also posted 62 at the 2007 Pertamina Indonesia Presidents Invitational but as a professional he wants trophies. In 2012 he posted a world record 16 under 55 at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma but he still awaits his first title.

With the Aussie kicking his heels in the clubhouse, the Korean leader disintegrated. After leading since day one, Sang-hyun Park hit a final round 77 five over to see him end the competition eight shots off the winner and receiving $12,100 for his efforts.

But while Gibson was unable to recapture his earlier form after the rain break and Park just lossing his way, Japanese Matsumura found his groove and went on to pocket the first prize of $180,000 in prize money.

“It has been my dream since I became a professional to win a tournament outside Japan. It is a great honour to win this title at such a beautiful course,” he said, savouring the moment.

Golf fans following the final group were treated to a spectacle of top quality golf with 35 year-old Juvic Pagunsan, who plays on The Japan Golf Tour, looking odds on to win his second tournament at BSD, having won the Asian Tour’s Pertamina Indonesia Presidents Invitational back in 2007.

At the halfway point of the final round Pagunsan was one shot behind Gibson on -19, with plenty of birdie opportunities up ahead on his inward nine. Then the rain delay seemed to cool things down his momentum as he struggled to find his form on the back nine, bogeying the 10th hole and the 14th hole to drop to -17.

As Pagunsan was going backwards, Matsumura was going forwards birdying hole 11 and hole 13 and 14 to move to -18. Pagunsan refused to give up and looked to draw some inspiration from 2007 when he went birdie-eagle to finish on holes 17 and 18.

The 17th Hole was the key moment of the match for Matsumura, Pagunsan had knocked his second shot from the fairway to 6ft with a birdie looking certain, and Matsumura faced a lengthy 35ft putt for his birdie. His read was good and so was his stroke and with this long birdie you could sense the momentum was In Matsumura’s favor.

The 18th Hole at the Jack Nicklaus designed Damai Indah’s BSD course sets a dramatic setting for a final hole of a championship. A downhill sweeping Par 5 is reachable in 2 with a long carry over a lake to a contoured green well guarded by bunkers and the hospitality grand stands. Coming to the final hole Matsumura was tied with Gibson on -20 and Pagunsan was keeping one hand on the trophy on -19.

Juvic Pagunsan

Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines tees of at the opening hole during his final round. Photo Courtesy of OneAsia

Pagunsan ripped his drive to an ideal position to go for the green in two while Matsumura’s drive was equally as aggressive also allowing an attack at the green in two. Pagunsan struck first and landed his 3-wood a little short but in an easy position for a one chip one putt birdie. Matsumura with the adrenaline running through his veins fired his 3-wood piercing towards the green as it took a few bounces refusing the stop on the green and nestled in the heavy rough over the green and long. Pagunsan chipped his ball close for a dead certain birdie and put the pressure on the Japanese player. Matsumura executed a confident flop from the thick rough, which pitched just short of the hole and released to about 20 ft past the hole with an up-hill putt for victory.

Matsumura continued his fine display of putting and sunk his putt for the title and his first win outside of Japan. Juvic Pagunsan made his birdie putt and a tie for second, and was the first to congratulate a jubilant Matsumura who deserved his win for his stunning performance an a back nine requiring only 30 strokes on this final day of play.

Indonesia’s best effort came from George Gandranata, who ended on nine under, earning $5,200, but perhaps with a professional tour beginning this year, perhaps we may see more local players making a greater impression at such events in the future.

Top 5
267 Michio Matsumura (Japan) 65-67-67-68
268 Rhein Gibson (Australia) 69-65-72-62
268 Juvic Pagunsan (Philippines) 67-64-68-69
270 Wu Ashan (China) 69-68-64-69
271 Maeng Dong-seop (South Korea) 67-68-70-65

The One Asia tour next moves on to Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club April 24-27.

About Antony Sutton

I am a freelance writer who has been hanging round South East Asia for about 20 years. Unfortunately, I haven’t picked up a club in anger since my days in Bangladesh on the Kurmitola course where I benefited greatly from the words and wisdom of Nelson, the one armed caddy. Today, I keep threatening to head to the local driving range to shake off the cobwebs but haven’t yet made good with that promise. Instead I content myself with a few quiet, cold beers once in a while and helping my son become a good Arsenal fan!

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