Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Modest Success For George Gandranata In Philippine Open

Tarlac, Philippines, December 20 - Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines fired a superb six-under-par 66 to claim a stylish win at the Philippine Open presented by ICTSI for his first Asian Tour title on Sunday.

The 21-year-old fired six birdies on his homeward nine to seal the deal with a winning total of 14-under-par 202 in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event which was reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather earlier this week.

Scott Barr of Australia missed out on winning his first Asian Tour title following a 68 but his lone second place result ensured that he would retain his Tour card for 2016 after jumping 15 spots to 49th place on the Order of Merit.

India’s Himmat Rai produced the round of the week at the Luisita Golf and Country Club with a sparkling 63 to share third place with Chinnarat Phadungsil (67) of Thailand on 204, two shots from the champion.

Lindsay Renolds of Canada, who held the lead in the opening two rounds, fired a disappointing 73 to finish in tied 10th place in the final Asian Tour event in 2015.

Indonesia's George Gandranata finished at a modest 52nd place at even par for the tournament. But given his failure to get his tour card for the 2015 Asian Tour, as well as to dominate the domestic Indonesian Golf Tour, this result will still give him some confidence that he is on his way back. Hopefully he can maintain this until at least the 2016 Asian Tour Q-school in January to secure his tour card for the upcoming season.

Home favorite Tabuena became the first Filipino to win his National Open since 2008 after making a brave charge at the turn highlighted by three straight birdies from the 12th hole.

“I’m glad the Philippine Open is my first Asian Tour title,” said Tabuena. “I’m really happy that my name will be on this prestigious trophy alongside some of the legends in golf in Asia’s oldest National Open.”

“I gave myself a goal at the start of the day which was to shoot a 66 or lower. There are a lot of birdie chances and people can make a move. I was one-under after the turn and I thought I lost some ground. I knew I needed to go out with all guns blazing,” he said.

The victory was a huge relief for Tabuena who fell short of winning his first Asian Tour title on numerous occasions including in Taipei this year where he settled for runner-up.

“You have to take your defeats as a positive and remind yourself that it is part of the process. It definitely made me a stronger golfer mentally. It helped a lot that I had already saved my Asian Tour card for 2016 earlier this year. I knew I was playing for the win.

“I played really well here before and I won on this course on the local circuit. I’m without words really. I’m happy and glad with the victory,” said Tabuena.

Barr retained his Asian Tour card for the 12th straight season after finishing one-shot behind Tabuena. He was in a good position to pip Tabuena to the title but let the chance slip when he bogeyed 17 after finding water. A birdie on the last earned him his best result since 2006.

“I couldn’t hole any putts for 14 holes. Once I did, it was game on and I holed my share. I did what I needed to do but it is a shame to finish one short. This week is a huge positive. I set very low expectations coming into the week but it is great that I’ve secured my card,” he said.

Rai, who lost in a play-off two weeks ago in Vietnam, continued his good run of form by returning with a flawless card to finish tied third.

“I didn’t have a number in my mind. I was thinking of eliminating my errors in round one and two. I wanted to play percentage golf and hitting it near the hole. I putted aggressively and that made a difference today,” said Rai, a one-time Asian Tour winner.

Chinnarat was delighted to hold on to his Asian Tour card. He was ranked 62nd on the Order of Merit at the start of the week but moved to 56th place thanks to his result at the Philippine Open. The top-63 players on the final Order of Merit secured playing rights on the 2016 season.

“It was an exciting week! There was so much pressure,” he laughed. After 13 holes I knew I had a chance to win but the putts didn’t drop. It is okay because my goal was to make the cut and get my Asian Tour card but this result will give me a better ranking on the Order of Merit!”

Other players who safely retained their Asian Tour cards include Unho Park of Australia (63rd), Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand (62nd), Adam Groom of Australia (61st) and Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei (60th).

There was heart break for 16-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand, who ended the season in 64th place on the Merit rankings.

Scores after round 3 of the Philippine Open being played at the par 72, 7042 Yards Luisita Course course

202 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 67-69-66

203 – Scott BARR (AUS) 69-66-68

204 – Himmat RAI (IND) 71-70-63, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 67-70-67

206 – Seukhyun BAEK (KOR) 69-71-66, Simon GRIFFITHS (ENG) 70-68-68, Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 67-70-69, Niall TURNER (IRL) 69-68-69, Keith HORNE (RSA) 69-68-69


216 - George GANDRANATA (INA) 70-72-74

Friday, December 11, 2015

Trump's Anti-Muslim Stance May Affect His Golf Projects In Indonesia

Donald Trump’s call for a blanket ban on followers of Islam entering the USA comes after his travel companies signed deals to open five properties in Muslim-majority countries.

Trump Hotel Collection this autumn announced it would open resorts in West Java and Bali in Indonesia, while two Dubai golf courses and a luxury hotel in Azerbaijan are due to open next year.

The company said it had plans for the West Java property, Lido Lakes Resort, “to revive the allure of the fabled destination” and the Bali hotel at Nirwana was “a project designed to reflect the authenticity of the local culture”. Although Bali has a majority Hindu population, West Java is 97 per cent Muslim. Both project deals were signed with Hary Tanoesoedibjo's MNC Group, owner of the Lido Lakes and Nirwana Resorts.

The resorts' overall value is unknown but a Trump hotel in Vancouver, slated to open next year, will be in a building itself costing $360 million.

Mr Trump, whose net wealth Forbes puts at $4.5 billion, called for all Muslims to be banned from entering the United States following a terrorist attack, but has faced a worldwide backlash that risks threatening his business interests in the Middle East and countries where Islam is the major religion.

Despite his statement that claimed there is, "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population", the business magnate has shown little hesitation to expand into countries where the majority of the population follows Islam.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ian Andrew Claims Victory After Playoff At The Grand Final Of The Indonesian Golf Tour

Karawaci, 10 December - The final round of the Grand Final of the 2015 Indonesian Golf Tour (IGT) presented by LINC Group really presented a fight that could be considered the "peak" of the IGT journey during the year. The Grand Final champion could only be determined after extended drama (play-off). The actors being Benita Y. Kasiadi, Ian Andrew, and 2014 champion Rinaldi Adiyandono. All three had an equal score of 208 (eight-under par) after completing the final round, therefore a play-off was unavoidable.

Ian Andrew eventually established himself as the champion of the Grand Final of the Indonesian Golf Tour presented by LINC Group in 2015, held at Imperial Klub Golf, Karawaci Tangerang. A birdie from a distance of about two meters established the 27-year-old golfer as Indonesia's best golfer this season, while Benita and Rinaldi were only able to make par.

"I intentionally attacked the pin at the third shot, because I could Benita's ball was just half a meter from the pin. But, as it turned out my ball fell in front of the pin. Therefore, I was forced to attempt to make a birdie, and it worked!" said Ian, who was determined to win this Grand Final.

Ian completed the last round with a score of 70 (two-under par), maintaining his position atop the leaderboard that he shared with Rinaldi in the second round. However, Ian admitted he was worried to see Benita's game during the final round.

"At 17 I already lost hope, when I made bogey and Rinaldi scored birdie, leaving me behind by one stroke of Benita and Rinaldi who both were at eight-under par. They had a chance (to win) at hole 18, I was just determined to make birdie on the final hole. Fortunately, they failed to birdie the hole," said Ian, who took home a cash prize of Rp 48.000.000. "But Benita was remarkable today. He should have scored at least 10-under par. Unfortunately for him some of his short putts did not go in."

It looked like Benita played flawless. Without scoring a single bogey, the winner of three titles at the IGT 2015 series could match the total score of Ian and Rinaldi after carding a round of 66 (six-under par).

"My goal today was to finish at eight-under par. Therefore my target was reached. I didn't think of becoming champion as the second day I played very poorly. That's why I did not set that target. When I could compete for the play-offs, I thought this to be my best achievement after successfully reaching my target of eight-under par," said Benita.

Rinaldi, who failed to defend his title in the Grand Final, was not too disappointed with the final result at the play-offs, although he had a great opportunity to win. He considered the Grand Final as a try out for himself before plunging to the level of the Asian Tour next season.

"This becomes my stepping stone, because my main target is the Asian Tour Q-School in Thailand. This tournament can forge me mentally as well as my game, so that I can reach my peak at the time of Q-School," said Rinaldi.

He therefore was happy that Ian could win the Grand Final. For him, this indicates that the ability of several national professional golfers started to become more evenly, so that winners are not limited to one or two people. He saw his and other golfers overall score has improved in the past year.

"In my opinion, the implementation of IGT last season started a process of which we can see the results in improvements this season. As golfer we become more mature, and our competitive spirit becomes more visible," he added.

In addition to the announcement of the winner, during the Grand Final of the 2015 Indonesian Golf Tour (IGT) presented by LINC Group awards were also to the sponsors and golf courses that have supported the smooth implementation of the IGT season 2015. Some media also received attention and awards for their coverage of IGT 2015,

In the amateur category, Cahyo Adhitomo finally won the low amateur. The excellent play Cahyo displayed the day before did not make him waste this opportunity. On the final day Bobby, as he is usually called, completed his round with a score of 71 (one-under par), for an accumulated score of 215 (one-under par). Cahyo outperformed runner-up Dicky Prionggo by seven shots.

While for the ladies amateurs, Putri Aisha Amani won the battle with Michela Tjan through count back, and won the Low Amateur for ladies. Putri, who posted a score of 79 (seven over par) and Michela who today played with a score of 80 equally accumulated a total score of 239 (23-over par). The winner was decided by count back, based on final day scores made by both players over a number of predetermined holes.

Monday, December 7, 2015

IGT 2015 Grand Final Kicks Off At Imperial Klub Golf

The Grand Final of the Indonesian Golf Tour 2015 presented by Linc Group will start tomorrow Tuesday 8 December 2015 at Imperial Klub Golf, Karawaci - Tangerang. The three day event, sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Indonesia, will determine who will be crowned the 2015 IGT Champion on Thursday 10 December.

The 30 highest ranked professional players of the IGT will battle to determine who will succeed Rinaldi Adiyandono, who claimed the title last year. They will be accompanied by 9 men amateur players as well as 6 ladies amateur players.

The 30 professional players will be guaranteed a split of the total prize money of IDR 300,000,000, while the 3 highest ranked players will get the opportunity to play on the Asian Development Tour in 2016.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Indonesia To Attract Korean Golfers

Indonesia wants to attract Korean golfers to a country that boasts more than 140 courses.

The comment was made at the "Indonesia Tourism Insight: Policy and Strategy" conference hosted by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry on Nov. 24.

Noviendi Makalam, director of international marketing communication at the ministry, spoke about new Indonesian tourism regulations and destinations.

"We invite travelers from South Korea to enjoy golf resorts and religious pilgrimage in Indonesia," the director said at the conference at Courtyard by Marriott in Seoul. "Indonesia is home to some of the world's best golf resorts, complemented by international-standard amenities."

According to the ministry, Indonesia has been a venue for international golf tournaments, including the 6th Ballantine's Team-Am Golf Challenge in September and the World Amateur Golf Championship last month.

As part of promoting the country as an attractive golfing spot, the tourism ministry has a new strategy, "Three Greater: Jakarta, Batam and Bali." The three regions are working together so foreign tourists can enjoy Indonesia's nature.

"Indonesian golf courses are equipped with top facilities and services and supported by strategic locations," Makalam said. "Only in this country can golfers can indulge in different settings at each course."

He said the Indonesian government's new policies will attract more Korean travelers: free visa and more immigration checkpoints for Korean travelers, the abolition of clearance approval for Korean yachts to enter Indonesian territories via 18 ports, and the abolition of cabotage, which gives priority access to cruises to embark/disembark foreign tourists at five harbors in Indonesia.

"Our new policies will help South Koreans to travel more conveniently to Indonesia," Indonesia Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.

Korean travelers can access more immigration checkpoints at arrival gates at five airports and nine ports. Additional immigration checkpoints are available at departure gates at 19 airports, 29 seaports and two landed ports.

"Since developing the marine tourism industry is one of our targets, the new policy allows cruises with foreign flags to take passengers in five ports in Indonesia," the minister said.

According to a recent presidential regulation, foreign yachts are now allowed more easily to enter Indonesian territories, with processing of their custom, immigration, quarantine and port documents available at 18 ports. The ministry expects the policy to increase the number of yachts visiting Indonesia to 5,000 in 2019.

The five cruise ship ports are Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, Belawan Port in Medan, Soekarno-Hatta Port in Makassar, and Benoa Port in Bali.

The government has also removed visas for citizens of 90 countries on short trips, including Korea.

"With these new policies, we're hoping to increase Indonesia's tourism values in the global industry," Makalam said.

According to the ministry, the number of Korean travelers is increasing. Last year, more than 370,000 Koreans visited Indonesia, and the ministry predicts the number will reach 500,000 this year.

The number of foreign tourists to the country in January-August was up to almost 3 percent compared with the same period last year.

By Rachel Lee, The Korean Times