Friday, April 22, 2011

Hie Provides Early Home Cheers

Jakarta, April 21: If there was one Rory thrilling the Malaysian galleries last week, the inaugural Indonesian Masters saw another Rory providing the local cheers on Thursday.

Rory Hie, Indonesia’s great hope, posted a solid four-under-par 68 at Royale Jakarta Golf Club in the opening round of the US$750,000 Asian Tour event and put himself in touch with opening round leader Siddikur of Bangladesh, who set the early pace with a superb 66.

The 22-year-old knocked in five birdies against a lone bogey to raise hopes of a maiden victory on the Asian Tour.

Hie was delighted with his effort. “It was a really good round. I hit the ball really good,” said the young Indonesian, who hit 15 greens in regulation.

“All in all it was really good. I hit a lot of fairways and greens. I could have made a lot more putts and gone to seven or eight under. I will go work on my putting later. Hopefully I can come back stronger tomorrow.

“I had an eagle putt on the 12th hole from 12 feet but didn’t make it. It was still okay because I still had a birdie.”

The benefits of enjoying numerous practice rounds at the impeccable Royale Jakarta paid off nicely for Hie as he rarely looked in trouble of dropping shots, despite a lone blemish on the par three 15th hole.

Last season’s swing changes seem to be paying off as well for Hie with the Indonesian talent showing greater composure on the fairways as well while competing alongside Asia’s elite.

“I didn’t have a number in mind. I just tried to play the best that I can. Honestly, I don’t have any expectations at all and I hope to keep my mind clear and focus,” said Hie.

“I’m hitting it really solid and I need to maintain that. My preparations have been good. I’ve played pretty well for about four months now so I’m happy with my game now.”

If his namesake Rory McIlroy finished third at the Maybank Malaysian Open last weekend, Rory Hie would certainly be keen to match that performance, if not better it by a couple of notches in front of his home fans.

Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng credited his accurate iron shots after making birdies in his closing two holes for a 67 to remain one back from the leader.

“My irons shots were really good. I struggled a bit with my driver but overall I’m quite happy with my game. I played last week and it was very hot and tiring. I have to admit that I’m still feeling a bit tired.

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