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Wiesberger clinches the 2013 CIMB NIAGA Indonesian Masters

By: William Ashbee

Wiesberger clinches the 2013 CIMB NIAGA Indonesian Masters

Bernd Wiesberger of Austria sealed a one shot victory over current Open Champion Ernie Els with a five-under-par 67 to win the third edition of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters on Sunday.

In winning his second tournament in Asia, Wiesberger notched up a 15-under-par 273 total at the USD$750,000 Asian Tour Event played at the pristine Royale Jakarta Golf Club.

As part of his preparations to defend his Open title at Muirfield in July where he last won in 2002, Els shot a 68 to find himself in second place. Overnight leader Daisuke Kataoka of Japan completed a final round 70 to finish one further back, with Asian favourite and second round leader Thongchai Jaidee a further three shots back after a 69.

The physically imposing Wiesberger, a favourite amongst the female caddies, credited precise iron play for his victory. Finding it difficult at times off the tee and on the greens, it was his fizzing irons that landed him the Garuda bird porcelain trophy and batik jacket.

“I was struggling in the beginning after my birdie on one. But at the turn I got a bit of momentum going because I was confident with my ball-striking,” said Wiesberger, who finished 7th last year and went on to win in Korea. It was the day after that victory his grandfather died and for whom he dedicated this triumph.

A European Tour regular, Wiesberger only sees his coach Philippe de Busschere six or seven times a year with regular Skype chats and video analysis in-between. Fortunately de Busschere is based in Indonesia, something Bernd recognises as helping him reach the top this week.

He shot 34 through the first nine but sensed it was his day when he rolled in an eagle three on the 12th.  Els, who has continued to use the hotly debated belly putter post Augusta followed him in with a thirty-foot attempt from the fringe to stay in touch.

“He (Els) wouldn’t let go and that’s why he is such a great champion. It was a good time to do that and it got my round going.”

Els, the world number twenty four, was one-over through five but battled back with birdies on six and nine, followed by his eagle on twelve and birdie on 18 to sit alone in second place.

“I played and fought hard. I wasn’t quite at my best but had a good time. I didn’t hit my iron shots close enough especially at the start I was one over through five holes and had to battle back all the time,” said Els.

A real sense of patrimony as Open champion to spread the game of golf worldwide is evident in Els. Whilst his peers were battling it out at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina, The Big Easy is intent on popularizing his trade in the golf-mad emerging countries. Adorning advertising posters around Jakarta in the weeks preceding, his attendance was without doubt the main draw.

“A win would have been unbelievable but second is not all that bad. This has given me something and it shows my game is going in the right direction. I’m starting to feel really good about my game.”

Bernd WiesbergerThe South African acknowledged the performance of Wiesberger, who he played with for rounds one, two and four. “I think Bernd played better than all of us. I played with him for three rounds and I think he deserves to win.”

Kataoka, who had never led in a tournament before, felt the butterflies on the first tea but maintained his composure to finish with his best performance since turning professional in 2007. His third place matched his career’s best on the Asian Tour at the 2011 Taiwan Masters.

“I’m not disappointed with how I played this week. I played very well and hit a lot of good shots. When we teed off, I felt very nervous but I told myself not to be nervous and to try and concentrate on my own game. I didn’t sleep very well last night!” he smiled.

He hopes the experience of playing with a former World No. 1 and four time major championship winner Els will help him in future situations on the pressurized Asian Tour which is celebrating its 10th season this year.

“I had a good experience this week. I led for the first time in a tournament and it was fantastic to play with Bernd Wiesberger and Ernie Els. If I can continue to keep up with this consistency then I think my first win will come very soon,” said the 24-year-old.

For the other two previous major winners, Michael Campbell and Darren Clarke, Royale Jakarta proved less fruitful. US Open winner Campbell’s first round 79 severely hindered any chance of making the cut, whilst Open champion Clarke laboured to a three-over-par 291. To the disappointment of all, crowd favourite and twice major winner John Daly withdrew for family reasons but hopes to visit Indonesia soon.

The CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters had all the hallmarks of a world-class golf event. A fleet of luxury BMWs ferried players via police escorts, a merchandising marquee promoted many great products and charities, whilst a San Miguel beer tent provided lively refreshment throughout the day. All enjoyed the superb facilities of the Royale Jakarta clubhouse with patrons particularly enjoying close interaction with their heroes. Sponsors, VIPs and guests cheered the 18th green from their hospitality suites often with a glass of Casillero del Diablo in hand, whilst young aspiring golfers hunted for autographs.

WiesbergerAside from the world-class golf on offer, visitors were treated to Englishman Paul Barrington’s Golf Trick Show. A former World Trick Shot Champion and twice British Long Drive Champion, Paul wowed golfers and non-golfers alike with his repertoire of dazzling drives, silky skill and witty humour. The crowd went wild when he managed to clear the length of the practice range with a six-foot long driver! Four up and coming Indonesian youngsters were called upon impressing Barrington, who sees the future of Asian golf as particularly strong. Whether they take any of their new skills onto the course remains to be seen.

Pak Arwin Rasyid, President Director of CIMB Niaga was delighted with the third staging of the tournament, seeing it grow into Indonesia’s most prestigious golfing event. He used his presentation speech to make known his pleasure.

“When CIMB Niaga became the title sponsor to the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in 2012, we wanted to be part of an event that is the nation’s most prestigious. I stand here today proudly to say, we have achieved our goal. Thanks to the support of the other event partners and of course the golfing fans, we see the end of yet another edition of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters. We have certainly seen golf at its finest over the past four days and congratulations to Wiesberger for his spectacular win today. It was an exciting finish and you certainly earned yourself the title of CIMB Niaga Indonesian Master 2013!”

Wiesberger joins former world No. 1 and twice winner Lee Westwood as a champion of this now well-established golfing event. Roll on next year and the continued success of golf in Indonesia.

About William Ashbee

A new arrival in Jakarta and recent politics graduate, William works in the commodities sector. A single figure handicapper having learnt the game in England, he has certainly arrived in golfing heaven here in Indonesia.

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