Jakarta, April 24 - Singapore-based Australian Unho Park battled the gusty conditions before signing for a second round one-over-par 73 to stake his place atop the leaderboard at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters presented by Enjoy Jakarta Golf on Friday.
On a windy day where only four players broke par at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club, Park continued to put himself in contention for his maiden Asian Tour win at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event with his two-day total of four-under-par 140.
Overnight co-leader Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei eagled his closing ninth hole to haul himself back into contention, taking the outright second place with a 75 after struggling for most part of the day.
Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul and Chapchai Nirat signed for matching 142 total to share third place with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and Japan’s Yosuke Tsukada while birthday boy Lee Westwood of England returned with a 74 to stay in touch with the leaders in seventh place.
Starting the day tied for second, Park stumbled early with a bogey on the first hole.
He recovered briefly with two birdies on 14 and 16 but dropped three more shots in his inward-nine.
“It was a tough day in the office today. I actually felt the winds were blowing harder today. I didn’t hit it as good as yesterday but I still managed to hit some decent shots,” said Park.
The 41-year-old, who has surprised even himself by holding the lead, is upbeat of his chances this week.
“I always surprise myself when I play well. Today, I just hung in there as it was really a grind today. But overall, it’s still a good position heading into the weekends,” said Park.
Chan meanwhile produced a spectacular masterclass on his last hole by chipping in from the edge of the green for an eagle-three.
That brought out the cheers for the 28-year-old who was staring at a five-over-par score before his last hole heroics changed the equation.
“I needed that eagle on the last hole to get me back into the game. It was definitely a big relief as I was four-over at the turn and needed something special like that to bring me back into contention.
“I’m used to such windy conditions as that’s what it’s like back home too but I struggle with the distance as this is a fairly long course and I’ve to hit it really long,” said Chan.
Westwood also conceded the gusty winds made play tough but remained confident of securing a hat-trick of titles at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.
“It was tough and one of the toughest I’ve ever seen in Asia. Conditions were really extreme. We didn’t get a break with the weather. Normally it’s quite calm in the morning but it was blowing from the get-go this morning.
“I feel like under-par will still get you into contention and I’m still in there. I think it’s going to be bunched up and a scramble on the Sunday. So it’s just the case of being within a few shots of the leaders,” said Westwood, winner of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in 2011 and 2012.
Ian Andrew was the only Indonesian golfer who managed to make the cut. In the first edition of the Indonesian Masters it was only Rory Hie who went through. Similarly, two years later it was Andik Mauludin left to play the weekend. This year it was Ian going through after posting a total of 151 strokes after two days of play.
"Today there was exceptional wind. I lost it at the par 3 hole 4. The ball landed in the water and I made seven shots (quadruple bogey). I immediately started to play safe, go for par, but made bogey instead. On the eighth hole I saved par and hole 9 I made birdie, so it motivated me again. Until hole 15 I made pars and was still 7 over and I just maintained the game", he said.
Ian claimed that not only the wind became an obstacle for him on this day, but also a slick green. Especially when he reached the 18th hole and it was already getting dark, he was just trying to land the ball closer to the pin. He also successfully recorded a par to keep the score for the day.
For all the other Indonesian players the wind was too much of a challenge and they all failed to make the cut. Best of the rest was amateur Kevin C Akbar, who missed playing the cut by only 1 shot.
Leading scores after round 2 of the CIMB NIAGA Indonesian Masters (A – denotes amateur):
140 – Unho PARK (AUS) 67-73
141 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 66-75
142 – Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 69-73, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 68-74, Thomas BJORN (DEN) 66-76, Yosuke TSUKADA (JPN) 71-71
143 – Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 69-74
144 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 71-73, Y.E. YANG (KOR) 73-71, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 69-75, Paul SPARGO (AUS) 70-74
151 - Ian ANDREW (INA) 72-79
152 - Kevin C. AKBAR (A) (INA) 77 75
156 - Denny A. WIJAYA (INA) 75 81, Johannes DERMAWAN (INA) 76 80
157 - Kurnia Herisiandy SANTOSO (INA) 76 81, Rory HIE (INA) 76 81, Tirto TAMARDI (A) (INA) 76-81
158 - Andik MAULUDIN (INA) 80 78
159 - Rinaldi ADIYANDONO (INA) 81-78, George GANDRANATA (INA) 79 80, William SJAICHUDIN (INA) 79-80
160 - Benita YUNIARTO (INA) 79-81
161 - Fadhli Rahman SOETARSO (A) (INA) 77-84, Almay RAYHAN (A) (INA) 81-80
162 - I Ketut SUGIARTA (INA) 78-84
164 - Rizchy SUBEKTI (A) (INA) 82-82
165 - Bramantio ADI (INA) 77-88
166 - Asep SAEFULLOH (INA) 75-91
167 - Jordan IRAWAN (INA) 81-86
170 - Andrew WIRAWAN (INA) 84-86
171 - Daniel WIRAWAN (A) (INA) 79-92
173 - Fajar WINURYANTO (INA) 87-86
83 - Sarmilih (INA) 83-WDN
77 - Junaidi IBRAHIM (INA) 77-RTD