Meet The Golfer: Fadhli Rahman Soetarso
Fadhli Rahman Soetarso
PLACE OF BIRTH: Jakarta, Indonesia
D.O.B: 21ST April 1996 (18 years old)
PREVIOUS NOTABLE TOURNAMENT WIN(S): 2012 Indonesian Junior Championship, 2013 Pondok Indah Internationa Junior Golf Championship, 2014 Faldo Series Indonesian Championship U-18, 2014 Low Amateur Emeralda Citra Sembilansatu (IGT)
We caught up with the talented 18 year-old Indonesian Amateur Fadhli Soetarso the week before The CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters at Royale Jakarta. The tournament organizers arranged a separate qualifying initiative for this Asian Tour sanctioned event: ‘The Amateur League’, whereby the local amateur who accumulated the most points form the 3 Indonesian Golf Tour events prior to the event would gain the fourth and final sport to compete at the 2014 CIM Niaga Indonesian Masters. Fadhli was the winner, performing well in the run-up highlighted by a Top 5 finish at the Indonesian Golf Challenge at Palm Hills earlier in the year.
CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters was a thrilling event, and Fadhli came up just short of being the second local player to make the cut alongside Indonesia’s Number One George Gandranata. This would have been impressive given the fact there were 20 Indonesian Professional playing in the event. Fadhli was at even par for the tournament on Friday 15 holes into his second round when thunder suspended play at 5pm local time. Unfortunately 2 bogies the next day was literally one too many.
What is your official USGA Handicap?
I keep track of my scoring average wherever I play. My scoring average is around 74.
You were born and raised in Jakarta, where did you begin your golfing journey?
I was born in Jakarta, but my father got a work contract in Botswana when I was young. It was a fascinating place to live especially as there were more animals then people there. This is where I first started playing golf, and my family lived there for 3 years from when I was 5 years old to 7 years of age. I started experimenting with plastic clubs then but I started using genuine junior clubs when I was 6 years old. There are only two golf courses in Botswana and not many junior events, when I was 7 years old and back in Jakarta I started competing regularly in local Indonesian junior events.
You have had some notable accomplishments already in your junior and amateur golf career, which are your most memorable?
Winning the 2012 Indonesia Junior Championship at Jagorawi was one of my favourites, especially as I won by 8 strokes. I spent lots of time developing my game with Derrick Cribb at the Commonwealth academy at Jagorawi Jordan Irawan also practised with me there.
Jagorawi Old Course and New Course are notoriously tight courses where accuracy is key, would you say this helped you in your development towards being the successful amateur you are today?
From a young age, I was never physically big, and I was never a particularly long hitter. I relied on my accuracy and my ability to consistently put the ball in play, alongside an ability to shape my shots, which helped me develop as a golfer, and gave me lots of confidence on the golf course. I have always enjoyed playing on tight courses. On the big tours, consistency of the tee, will give you a better chance to make birdies.
What is your strategy going into the Indonesian Masters at Royale? The course plays long even by professional standards and one of the Par 4’s is 492 yards.
On the long Par 4’s, a par will be a good score, especially when the wind picks up. I played a practice round there the other day and on the longest Par 4, 492 yards I hit a Driver and a hybrid and I was pin high, buy yes I is a pretty long par 4. I am confident that if I stay patient and keep to my game plan I will have chances for birdies on several holes throughout my round.
What are your most notable achievements in tournament golf so far?
I won the Faldo Series Indonesian Championship U-18 title and that secured a place for me to compete in the Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills a couple of months ago. I have also had some good performances in local Indonesian professional events. I finished in the Top 10 at Rawamangun (Jakarta Golf Club at the end of last year) and I finished in the Top 5 at the Indonesian Golf Challenge at Palm Hills a few months back. The Emeralda pro event before the Masters I came 11th and this secured my spot to play in this year’s Indonesian Masters.
Now that you are 18 years old, what are your long-term plans? You can see that you have the game to compete with the very best local professionals on the Indonesian Golf Tour, will you turn professional in the near future?
I still feel I have to improve my overall game, when I played at the Indonesian Open at the end of 2013 I witnessed how Asia’s best players practised and played during tournaments. It was eye opening and inspiring and it gave me some ideas in how I should practice and what areas of my game that need to be improved to fulfil my dream to become a top professional.
I feel like it will take me a couple more years to master the game. Master in my own definition is to play under par consistently. For me to achieve this level of mastery it is a different mental game, because lots of players have talent but to develop it appropriately you have to nurture it correctly. When I wasn’t breaking par I felt frustrated because I knew I could do it, when I finally started breaking par I felt the same physically, but mentally I felt different.
Most importantly, my priority is to finish college and get a bachelors degree before I turn professional. My dream is to play college golf in the United States, and I have applied to several golf programs there.
The average age at the PGA Tour Q-School was 31-32 this season, so there is no need to rush.
2014 has seen the launch of the Indonesia Golf Tour, a local professional golf circuit with regular events and decent prize money, how excited are you about this new prospect here in Indonesia?
Absolutely, my coach and I will look at the schedule strategically, and be sure which event I really want to enter and to be sure I am ready to win. Each local tournament I join my aim is to win, and my priority now is to improve my World Amateur Ranking points. If is secure and maintain my position in the Top 2 – 3 in Indonesia I will get a chance to compete in the Asia Amateur Championships.
What are you interests outside of Golf, where will I find you when you are not playing golf? Are there other sports you enjoy?
I love to hang out with my friends, go to the cinema or go eat at a good place. I Love to eat and there are so many good places to eat here in South Jakarta, street food is sometimes the best. I used to play soccer in elementary school and into my last year at high school, I support Manchester United.
What is your favourite book?
I love the story David and Goliath. It relates to sport and life but not golf directly. It is really interesting to see how David thinks when he goes against Goliath and defeats him. It is the classic story of the underdog. I like to see myself as an underdog in Golf.