Thursday, April 14, 2011

Local Golfers Look To Shine At Home

Jakarta Globe, 13 April 2011 - Most of the attention will be focused on Lee Westwood when the world No. 2 plays in next week’s Indonesian Masters.

But Rory Hie and his fellow Indonesian golfers are determined to grab a share of the spotlight.

The Indonesian Masters has created a buzz since Westwood confirmed he was competing at the Asian Tour event to be held at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club starting next Thursday.

Local players have generated much less hype than the visiting British golfer, but the Indonesian Professional Golfing Association (PGPI) said local talents remained the focus of the event.

“The PGPI will field 20 of the country’s top golfers at the Indonesian Masters, and I hope all of them will make the cut,” PGPI chairman Syafei Asnaf said on Wednesday.

“I hope there will be a local hero who will make it into the last round and contend for the championship.”

Rory became one such hero last month, when he came close to winning the Indonesia PGA Championship. The 22-year-old lost by one shot to Australian Andre Stolz. But Rory said he didn’t see the need to change his game.

“I will try to play in the Indonesian Masters with the same approach I took at the Indonesia PGA Championship,” he said.

Rory said his familiarity with the Royale Jakarta Golf Club should give him an edge.

“I find the greens to be quite tricky. But the more I practice there, the more comfortable I feel,” he said.

Burhan Bora and Ilyassak, two other local players who made the cut at the Indonesia PGA Championship, will also be competing in the Masters tournament, along with Benny Kasiadi, Sarmilih, veteran golfer Maan Nasim and 2010 PGPI Order of Merit champion Andik Maulidin.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand are among the top regional players taking part in the $750,000 tournament. Kiradeh won the SAIL Open in New Delhi last month, his first victory on the Asian Tour.

Considered one of the region’s best golfers, Thongchai has topped the Asian Tour Order of Merit three times.

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar is looking to win his second Asian Tour event in Indonesia, after winning the Indonesia President Invitational in 2009.

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