Jakarta, December 4 - Kalem Richardson of Australia fired a superb eight-under-par 63 to lead by one shot over Padraig Harrington of Ireland after the first round of the BANK BRI Indonesia Open on Thursday.
Richardson, who has two top-five results in his last three events, rolled in eight birdies, including a 20-footer on the last hole to steal the limelight from Harrington, who is making his debut at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event.
The three-time Major champion, produced his best score in 2014 with a 64 after birdieing his first two holes from close range at the Damai Indah Golf – Pantai Indah Kapuk course.
Australia’s Adam Groom battled through a leg infection to return with a 67 to tie for third place alongside India’s Arjun Atwal, Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand and Bryce Easton of South Africa.
The local field was led by it's current number 1 player, George Gandranata, and amateur Fadhli Soetarso. Both players played 2-under par and are in a 15-way tie for 14th place. Another amateur, Tirto Tamardi, is one shot further back, with Jordan Irawan (71) as well as Johannes Dermawan and Andik Mauludin (both 72) all still in the top 54.
Starting from the 10th tee, Richardson stayed sharp on his first nine holes, as he did not play the stretch during the practice round, and was rewarded with four straight birdies before turning in 31.
“I guess when you haven’t played the back nine, you concentrate more because you don’t know where you are going. You really need to rely on the yardage book and good advice from your caddy,” said the 26-year-old Richardson.
He is playing without any pressure this week after securing his full Asian Tour card for the 2015 season after finishing tied fourth in Thailand last week.
“I secured my Asian Tour card last week so I’m going to try and enjoy the week and see what happens. I got no pressure on me now so I’ll just try and finish as high as I can on the Order of Merit. Obviously I want to try to get a win before the season ends,” said the Australian, who is ranked 47th on the Merit list.
Harrington took advantage of his early morning start and birdied his opening two holes before going on to add six more birdies which included a 15-footer birdie on the par three seventh hole.
“I could have picked a few spots to make more birdies. I made a nice 15-footer on the seventh hole and it is always nice to hole a nice putt when you are already six-under for the day,” said the Irishman.
“Overall I’m happy with the round. Obviously it is still a long way to go. It was very nice early on and the greens are a little bit softer. When the wind came up after nine holes, it wasn’t really a problem for me because I had a few birdies in the bank at that stage,” smiled Harrington.
Atwal, the 2003 Asian Tour number one and first Indian to win on the PGA Tour, got off to a slow start when he turned in 35 but bounced back with three birdies on his way home.
“I didn’t take advantage of the early start. I didn’t make a birdie after six holes but I stayed patient and tried to hole some putts which happened on my back nine. My game is getting better every week and I’m happy with today’s efforts,” said Atwal.
Thailand’s Thanyakon holed his greenside bunker shot on the first hole for eagle and chipped-in from 125 yards on the par four fifth hole for his second eagle of the day.
The slightly built Thai hopes to continue his hot form after finishing tied third in Japan last week and securing a share of second place in Chiangmai on the Asian Tour two weeks ago.
“It was a good day even though I bogeyed the last. I’m playing with a lot of confidence. I missed the cut here last year but now I’m playing much better,” said the 24-year-old Thanyakon.
Scores after round 1 of the Bank BRI Indonesia Open (Par 71:
(Indonesian unless stated, A denotes amateur):
63 – Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS)
64 – Padraig HARRINGTON (IRL)
67 – Adam GROOM (AUS), Bryce EASTON (RSA), Arjun ATWAL (IND), Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA)
68 – Danny CHIA (MAS), Rahil GANGJEE (IND), Sam BRAZEL (AUS), S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND), Daniel CHOPRA (SWE), Carlos PIGEM (ESP), Blair WILSON (AUS)
69 – Fadhli Rahman SOETARSO (A), George GANDRANATA
70 – Tirto TAMARDI (A)
71 - Jordan IRAWAN
72 - Johannes DERMAWAN, Andik MAULUDIN
73 - Zaki AULIYAN (A)
74 - Asep CAPRIE, Junaidi IBRAHIM, Indra HERMAWAN
75 - Benny KASIADI, Jamel ONDO
76 - Fahmi REZA, Ian ANDREW, Cahyo ADHITOMO (A), Rinaldi ADIYANDONO
77 - Rizchy SUBEKTI (A), William SJAICHUDIN, Kurnia Herisiandy SANTOSO
78 - I Ketut SUGIARTA, Dominikus GLENN (A)
79 - Calvin ALAN (A), Anugerah BAGINDA (A), Joshua Andrew WIRAWAN, Bramantio ADI
80 - Fajar WINURYANTO, Kevin C. AKBAR (A)
81 - Sarmilih, Asep SAEFULLOH
82 - Ilyasyak
83 - Jon CAHYADI (A), Ramadhan ALWIE
85 - Rafa SALMUN (A)