Indonesian Masters starting Thursday.
Baek will be among the new generation of young guns vying for honours this week as he aims to upstage world number two Lee Westwood of England at the majestic Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
He will be joined by three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, a five-time Asian Tour winner and decorated Indian star Jyoti Randhawa in the inaugural US$750,000 showpiece.
Baek’s career was skyrocketed by an impressive season last year when he was in contention in the Indian Open before settling for second place. He made three cuts in four attempts earlier this season and sparkled when he placed tied 17th in last week’s Maybank Malaysian Open.
Baek is hopeful for a good result this week despite the presence of former world number one Westwood.
“I’ve been practising a lot to play well in big tournaments such as this one. I know that if I get a good start in the big events, I can win enough money and hold on to my Asian Tour Card which is one of my goals this season,” said the 20-year-old.
Baek is eager to join newest Asian Tour champions Kiradech Aphibarnrat, winner of the SAIL Open in India and Anirban Lahiri, who won the Panasonic Open (India) in the illustrious winners’ circle.
“I believe that I’ve improved a lot and I’m feeling more confident after last week’s result. Pariya, who is a friend of mine won last year and Kiradech did it this year. It shows that young players can win out here and I’m hoping I can as well,” added the Korean, who has been based in Thailand for the past four years.
Chinese Taipei’s Lin hopes to get back into the groove of playing competitively as he played in his first Asian Tour event of the year last week.
“Before the Malaysian Open, I was on a four-month break. Believe or not, I felt a bit nervous playing in my first event after such a long break but I’m feeling better now and ready to challenge for honours,” said Lin.
He is determined to bury his demons this week after coming close to winning in Indonesia in 2008.
“I was joint leader at the Indonesia President Invitational two years ago but one bad shot on the final day dashed my chances of winning. I enjoy playing here and I’m confident of playing well,” said the 36-year-old.
Australia’s Darren Beck, winner of the 2009 Brunei Open knows he needs to get his putter on fire if he wants to contend this week.
“My hitting has been good but I just couldn’t hole enough putts. I putted quite well last week (Maybank Malaysian Open) and hopefully I can continue holing some putts this week as well,” said Beck, who finished in tied 16th place at the Avantha Masters in India in February.
Ticket sales for the Indonesian Masters are available at www.ibudibjo.com where all proceeds will go towards Habitat for Humanity, which the event is partnering. The non-profit organisation builds homes for the underprivileged in Indonesia.
The Indonesian Masters is earmarked to become the country’s foremost golf championship, with plans to raise its prize fund and attract other international stars to Indonesia in the coming years.
Other sponsors of the Indonesian Masters include Four Seasons Hotel, Royale Jakarta Golf Club, PNTS, Garuda Indonesia, Mercedes-Benz, Coca Cola, San Miguel, Casillero del Diablo, Toshiba, Brava Radio and Yahoo!
All the latest news from the Indonesian Masters is also available on www.indonesianmasters.com. The Indonesian Masters will be broadcast “live” over four rounds to over 130 countries worldwide, reaching over 400 million homes via the Asian Tour’s television platform.