Categorized | 2013, December 2013, News

Nostalgic Bhullar clinches the Indonesia Open 2013

By: Simon Reynolds

Gaganjeet Bhullar the Indonesia Open Champion 2013

Gaganjeet Bhullar the Indonesia Open Champion 2013

Gaganjeet Bhullar the talented Indian golfer clinched the Indonesia Open at Damai Indah Golf’s Pantai Indah Kapuk course in North Jakarta, posting a flawless final round 68 and a total of -16 for the tournament. The Indian had led from day one of the Open having posted a sizzling 64 during the opening round. A combination of confidence, patience, and an exhibition of long straight driving, alongside a sound short game, was the difference between Bhullar and the rest of the field. Bhullar hit every fairway on the final round of play and having missed a couple of greens put the ball in the hole with as little as 27 putts for the round. It was a slow start for the Indian, who was out in 35 strokes and even par, but a birdie on the 11th hole kick started some momentum resulting in a couple more birdies on holes 13 and 14. It is the rainy season here in the tropics, and lightening stopped play for the second time during the tournament with the last group of Jaidee, Janewattananond and Bhullar about to hole out on the 15th hole for their bogey, bogey and par respectively.  When rain resumed Bhullar showed his nerve and confidence, to tap in for par on the 15th. He then resumed his exquisite master-class of powerful driving, finding the fairway with his long 300 yard drives, as he closed out to seal the victory with a succession of 4 well made pars.

Nicholas Fung from Malaysia

Nicholas Fung from Malaysia

Jakarta is one of Bhullar’s favourite cities in Asia, with a sense of nostalgic pleasure in his heart for the Indonesian capital, where he captured his very first Asian Tour victory back in 2009 at the Indonesia President Invitational. Bhullar ironically finished last in the recent World Cup of Golf in Australia representing India, his incredible performance here in Jakarta was a welcome back to form and an awakening back to the level of golf he knows he is capable of producing. This his fifth career Asian Tour win will give him plenty of confidence as the 2013 season comes to a close and he looks forward with bright eyes to the upcoming 2014 season.

“Obviously, I was a little disappointed with my performance at the World Cup of Golf in Australia, but I didn’t let it effect my performance and focus during this tournament here in Jakarta, actually I think I am still getting over the jet lag. Nonetheless I came here and played my game with lots of confidence as I knew all my hard work over the season would come through eventually, as long as I stayed patient and stuck to my strategy, I always knew I had the game to win the tournament.”

“I love playing Golf in Jakarta, I won my very first Asian tour event here back in 2009, so the city will always have a soft spot in my heart,” said a beaming Bhullar after the final round and trophy ceremony, where the Indian secured his first professional win for just over a year back in 2012, the Venetian Open in Macau.

Chapcai Nirat the Thai veteran of 10 years on tour

Chapcai Nirat the Thai veteran of 10 years on tour

Indonesian golf fans were treated with a great spectacle of golf all week, and the final round saw many of Asia’s most talented players pressing Bhullar from the start with notable performances from Malaysia’s rising star, the bespectacled Nicohlas Fung, who shot an impressive 66 for a tie for second. The veteran Thai golfer Chapcai Nirat struck 2 eagles on his way to a final round 67 to finish in a tie for second with Fung.  Fung came in with a 32, during the final round, and came one step closer to winning his very first Asian Tour event. His 2nd place finish is his best Asian Tour finish to date, with a fifth place finish in Manila two weeks ago his best outing previously. Despite falling just short, Fung can be proud of his performance, a 30-yard bunker shot to the 17th green, leading to a tap-in for birdie was one of many highlights from the talented Malaysian player.

“I’m extremely happy with my performance this week. It’s really good to see my name up on the leader-board amongst the other experienced players,” said Fung, a hugely talented Malaysian golfer, poised for great things on tour in 2014.

Jazz Janewattananond the 18 year-old Thai prodigy

Jazz Janewattananond the 18 year-old Thai prodigy

The tie for second was also a welcome return to form for the veteran tour pro Chapcai Nirat, who has won three times in his career on tour but is looking to end a four year drought on the Asian tour. The Thai star has been entertaining Asian golfers for 10 years on tour, and he finished the top placed Thai golfer, in an event which saw 6 Thai professionals in the Top 10 after 3 rounds of play at the event. The big hitting Nirat’s second shot, a 7 iron, to the 17th green par 5, left him with a 20ft putt for his second eagle on the back nine, then lightening stopped play as the players were evacuated from the course and back to the clubhouse:

“I made a few mistakes after my first eagle and I was so angry with myself. I gave my tee shot on the 17th hole a 100% effort and my seven-iron approach landed 20ft from the hole. I had a lot of time to think about that putt during the weather delay and I made it when play resumed,” smiled Chapcai.

Thai and Asian golf fans were bedazzled by the 18 -year Thai prodigy Jazz Janewattananond throughout the week, with his bright golf attire and refreshing style of free thinking and attacking golf. The youngster with a big future was the co-leader coming into the final round, but a 74 led him to slip down the leader-board at the close of play. Golf fans all over Asia will be pleased to know he played well enough to seal his tour card for the 2014 season and that they can enjoy some more Jazz on tour next year.

Rory Hie Indonesia’s Number One golfer

Rory Hie Indonesia’s Number One golfer

Rory Hie showed huge promise for Indonesia, as the country strives for a local winner to take home their National Open. Hie posted three consecutive rounds of 68, and was in the penultimate group playing in the final round. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan as Rory’s errand drive on the 8th caused a penalty stroke and a double bogey, then trouble struck on the 9th hole when Hie’s approach to the 9th green found the water hazard guarding the front green. After taking a drop, his pitch to the green landed over the trap but back-spinned back into the water, Rory guarded a quadruple bogey and

Jordan Irawan the lowest amateur at the Indonesia Open

Jordan Irawan the lowest amateur at the Indonesia Open

finished with a final round 79 to finish at -1 and a tie for 41st place. However, Rory played some fantastic, exciting golf all week, and Indonesian golf fans will never lose faith in their hero as he continues to inspire youngsters to take up the game of Golf here in Indonesia. Local amateur Jordan Irawan took home the low amateur trophy at the Indonesia Open, and the 18 year old from Bandung ended the tournament at +5 as one of Indonesia’s most promising prospects to produce a professional winning golfer.

The Indonesia Open is Indonesia’s oldest professional event, and over the years it has consistently attracted a strong field of top Asian, European and American players to compete here in Jakarta. This illustrious event has seen many notable champions over the years including Payne Stewart from the United States and Frank Nobilo from New Zealand. The Indonesia Open 2013 was undoubtedly a huge success, and after a three-year hiatus, it has proved to be welcome return to the Asian Tour calendar, and long may it continue for many years to come.

Salam olahraga!

The Top of the Leaderboard and the prize money, at the close of play at the Indonesia Open 2013, played at the par 71, 7100 yards Pantai Indah Kapuk, Damai Indah Golf Course:

268 – (-16) Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 64-67-69-68. US$135,000

271 – (-13) Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 66-67-72-66, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 67-67-71-66. US$64,875

272 – (-12) Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 71-65-69-67. US$37,500

273 – (-11) Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 69-70-65-69. US$30,750

274 – (-10) Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 74-65-67-68, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 71-68-67-68, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 70-64-69-71, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 66-66-68-74. US$20,193

275 – (-9) Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 67-66-71-71, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 67-67-68-73. US$13,707

276 – (-8) Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 70-71-71-64, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 71-68-71-66. US$11,776

277 – (-7) Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 67-72-71-67, Daniel CHOPRA (SWE) 71-69-68-69, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 72-68-67-70. US$10,388

About Simon Reynolds

Simon fell in love with the game of golf at an early age. Watching Happy Gilmore when he was 12, Simon was hooked, and to this day thanks Adam Sandler's genius in the film for his passion for the game. His golfing hero is more refined and mature these days, and he continues his spiritual quest to model his golf game on Ben Hogan's perfect golf swing.

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