Categorized | News, On Tour

The Indonesian National Amateur Golf Championships (23rd – 26th September 2014 | Gading Raya, Pading Golf & Klub)

By: Simon Reynolds

Picture 2After a five year hiatus, Indonesia’s leading amateur golfers were pleased to see the return of the Indonesian Amateur Golf Championships. The venue for this high-profile amateur championship in 2014 was Gading Raya, Padang Golf & Klub, located in Serpong, Tangerang.

Organized by PGI (Persatuan Golf Indonesia), players with a USGA Handicap of 12.1 and below were free to enter, as long as they belonged to a PGI affiliated golf club or organization. A total of 49 male golfers and 21 female golfers competed in the event vying for the chance in becoming the Amateur Golf Champion of Indonesia. The male participants played from the black tournament tees, which play at 6,446m and the female participants played off the white (member) tees, which play at 5,609m.

The success of Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Lydia Ko, and Victor Dubuisson are all testament to strong and successful amateur careers. National Amateur Championships are excellent opportunities for young and up-and-coming golfers to test their golf skills in tournament play against other talented golfers, where no money is played for just pride, and honour. Playing successfully in amateur events will give the very best golfers the confidence that they have the ability to turn professional or continue to play in these high profile amateur championships while they study or work professionally in other work, whatever it may be. The very best amateur golfers today have added incentive to play and play well in amateur and professional events in order to accumulate amateur world ranking points. For a top Indonesian amateur, the most elusive tournament to play in would be the Asia Pacific Amateur Championships, which later in October 2014 will be held in Australia. Indonesia will send its top three golfers to compete in this event according to the Official Amateur World Ranking Points. As things stand, these spots belong to Kevin Akbar, Tirto Tamardi and Fadhli Soetarso.

PGI have recognized the importance to develop the quality, standard and number of talented amateur golfers in Indonesia, and the re-start of the Indonesian National Championships is a signal for promising times ahead. The Putra Cup and Kartini Cup are both high profile amateur events which are played towards the end of 2014, bringing together the best amateur golfers from Southeast Asia. PGI are looking for a strong performance by the Indonesian National Amateur team and the Indonesian National Championships will be the first event towards selecting the elite squad which plays and trains for Indonesia during these up-and-coming events. From the male participants, the Top 12 Indonesian players from the Championships will form the elite squad of players who will have access and development from Indonesia’s very best coaches up until the event. The Putra Cup will feature four male players representing Indonesia, and these will be selected judging from ranking points gained from these 12 elite squad Indonesian players from their performances in major events from now onwards.

Picture 3The Top-7 in the female category of golfers will be selected to form the elite squad which will train and develop towards the Kartini Cup. The Top-3 females according to ranking points will represent Indonesia in the Kartini Cup based on their performances in events leading up to the Kartini Cup.

This future development plan for Indonesia’s best amateur golfers was announced during the press conference and the players’ technical meeting 22nd September after the official practice round. This information sure added incentive for all the top players competing in the Championships, as the top players had a chance of playing their ways into the Indonesian Amateur national elite squads in preparation for the Putra and Kartini Cups.

Gading Raya proved to be a more than suitable venue for the National Amateur Championships, with GM Anthony Chandra and his team doing an excellent job in taking care of the golfers, family and fans all week. Gading Raya offers first class practice facilities, especially some of the best short-game practice areas in Indonesia. Three greens of varying sizes, complete with challenging breaks, bunkers, first-cutt and rough offer serious golfers plenty of different scenarios and areas to fine-tune their short games and have fun whilst improving their short games. Like most of Jabodetabek, the dry season is proving to be very dry indeed this year and it has been some time since the course has seen rain. Fairways were firm and players could enjoy decent roll from the fairways; greens were firm and speed was kept to around 9.5, enough to raise a heartbeat. Wind played a big role in the tournament outcome, and although all four days were dry, hot and very dry, on the first two days of play, wind speeds picked up and many of the top players were challenged in competing their ball flight low in order to score well and reach the greens safely, especially on the long par 3s of 200 yards+.

Looking at the field of participants from both the male and female categories, the future of Indonesian golf has plenty to look forward to as there were lots of young and junior amateurs competing in the Amateur Championships. In the male category, special mention must go out to Dominikus Glenn who remarkably finished in a tie for 11th place having shot rounds of 74-79-72-75 (300 / +12 total) for the tournament, all the more impressive as he is only 12 years old, playing on a course which played at 7,100 yards. Glenn was hitting 5-woods to many of the par-4s all week, and with a fine short game and creative range of golf shots, was able to compete with far more mature amateur players throughout the week.

Special mention also goes out to Naraajie from Bandung, who at 15 years of age featured in the final pairing on the last day alongside the eventual champion Joeh Seik, a Korean player based in Jakarta, representing the Sim Golf Academy at Senayan Driving Range. Naraajie finished the tournament in solo 4th position with rounds of 76-72-72-74 (294 / +6 total). Joeh Seik is an 18-year-old who has been making a name for himself this year, playing on the PGTI Indonesian Golf Tour. Early this year in April at the Indonesian Golf Challenge at Palm Hill Golf Club, Seik was leading going into the final round but ended up finishing just short, still securing low amateur for the event.

Picture 4Joeh Seik led from start to finish and his scores showed levels of class and consistency that was unmatched by any other golfer all week. Seik was also the only golfer from all the 70 golfers competing in the male and female categories to finish under par, with scores of 71-71-72-73 (287 / -1 total). Indonesian youngster Rizky Subakti made things interesting on the final day, posting a final round 69 to finish two shots behind Joeh Seik on 289, +1 for the tournament. The low round of the week was posted by Almay Rahyan Yaguta, a big hitting 16-year-old representing Bekasi, who finished with a final round 68 to climb seven spots form 12th position to a tie for 5th on 296, +8 for the championships.

The ladies category saw a strong contingent of junior players competing for the championship. Several 15-year-olds were in contention all week, but the championship was won by Michela Tjan who trains and plays at Imperial Golf Club under the guidance of the Imperial High Performance Center. Michela went ahead of the field after strong rounds of 71 & 72 on days two and three of the competition. Going into the final round Michela had a five-shot lead over fellow youngster Chiara Refaya Arya. After a nervous start and a front nine of 40 from Michela and Chiara’s 35, the scores were level. From holes 10-16 the two youngsters traded blow for blow until the drama unfolded on the 17th hole. Michela found the fairway bunker with her drive as Chiara safely found the fairway and then the green in makeable birdie distance. Luckily Michela was faced with a clean uphill lie and was confident to go for the green with a hybrid. It proved to be a good decision as she picked her ball clean and onto the green from approximately 150 yards with a 15ft putt for birdie. Chiara went first and just missed her putt, whereas Michela confidently stepped up to sink her birdie putt to go one shot clear. The final hole was paired by both golfers and Michela was crowned Indonesian Amateur Champion 2014.

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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