Rory Hie is on course for an encore at the Classic Golf & Country Club as he kept the lead for the third day running after posting a six-under-par 66 at the Gurugram Challenge.
The 33-year-old Indonesian ace – who became the first player from his country to win on the Asian Tour when he claimed the Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship at the same venue in 2019 – maintained his one-shot overnight lead and moved to 18 under for the tournament.
American Dodge Kemmer’s 66 saw him stay in second place, in an event jointly-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the Professional Golf Tour of India.
India’s Abhijit Singh Chadha, also in with 66, is tied third, one shot further back along with Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolaphaisan (67).
Hie is in search of his first ADT title and his cause was helped by two chip ins today including one on the first, and later the seventh. He also eagled the par-five 18th where he hit a great four-iron second shot to set up a three-foot eagle conversion.
He said: “It was windy at the start and then calm on the back nine, so I took advantage of the relatively easier conditions there.
“The seventh was a crazy hole. I had no swing with my second shot but managed to hit it over the green. I then chipped-in from there which was really a bonus.
“I had to dig deep today after I made bogey on the 16th. I made a tough eight footer for par on the 17th before the eagle on the last hole that gave me good momentum heading into the final day.
“I’m just looking to enjoy myself in the final round at one of my favourite venues. This week is good preparation for me for the Asian Tour events coming up soon.”
Kemmer go off to a flying start as he putted his way to an eagle and three birdies on the first six holes with some long conversions.
Said the American: “I couldn’t get enough practice before the round this morning as I had trouble finding transport to the golf course. So, I was delighted with my start as it could’ve been a lot worse.
“I was in the trees a lot more than the last two days but was able to find some gaps and get it into play and save par on a few occasions. The aim in round four would be to hit more fairways than I did today and putt well.”
Indonesia’s Rory Hie continued to lead the Gurugram Challenge today after a second round three-under-par 69 at the Classic Golf & Country Club.
The 33-year-old Hie, the first-round leader by two shots, moved to 12 under for the event and a one-shot advantage over American Dodge Kemmer and Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolaphaisan, who carded rounds of 66 and 67 respectively.
The inaugural US$75,000 event is being jointly sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India.
India’s Manu Gandas and Abhijit Singh Chadha plus Benjamin Follett-Smith of Zimbabwe carded 66s to tie for fourth on 10 under with Ira Alido of the Philippines, in with a 69.
Hie is the hot favourite this week as he claimed the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship here in 2019 to become the first player from his country to win on the Asian Tour.
He had a poor start as he made bogeys on his first two holes, the 10th and 11th. However, his chipping and bunker shots got him back on track as he collected six birdies thereafter at the cost of just one more bogey.
He said: “I’m glad that I was able to turn it around and salvage my round after a bad start. I was happy to end my round with two birdies on the last three holes. My best birdie was on the seventh where I hit a terrific drive and made a long putt.
“The conditions were easier today as the wind wasn’t that strong. But I didn’t create as many birdie chances today since I didn’t hit my iron shots as close as I had done in round one.
“When I got to the course I realized that I hadn’t put my 2-iron in my bag. I forgot it at the hotel and instead carried my 3-iron. So tomorrow I’ll make sure that I carry my 2-iron in the bag as it would be more useful for me at this course.”
Kemmer is also a regular on the Asian Tour.
“My putting came on from the 11th,” said the American.
“I sank a long putt there and thereafter hit my wedges close and drained a few more long birdie putts. One needs to be on the right side of the greens here in order to create scoring opportunities.”
Chanat chipped-in for eagle on the 18th to stay very much in contention.
Indonesia’s Rory Hie took the first-round lead in the US$75,000 Gurugram Challenge at the Classic Golf & Country Club today after shooting a stunning nine-under-par 63 – in what is the opening event of the year on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
Filipino Ira Alido returned a 65 while India’s Shamim Khan, Rajiv Kumar Jatiwal, Tapy Ghai and Amrit Lal plus Chanat Sakulpolaphaisan from Thailand all carded 66s.
Hie won the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship on the Asian Tour here in 2019 and his affinity for the venue was on display once again today.
“It’s always nice to come here and for some reason everything just flowed today,” said Hie.
“The birdies seem to come really easily. Made nine birdies and no bogeys so I am very happy with that start. Somehow this place has been pretty magical for me.”
The 33 year old finished 64th in last week’s The DGC Open presented by Mastercard at Delhi Golf Club and planned to use this week to relax.
He added: “This week was supposed to be di-stressing from last week because last week was probably the toughest conditions I have ever played in, really love the course, I think it’s one of the best courses in the world, it just takes a lot out of you.”
Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan from India fired a 67 and is one of six players tied for eighth.
This week’s inaugural event is jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and is one of 10-12 events planned for this year’s ADT as it works its way back to a full schedule next year.
Prior to this week the last time an ADT event was played before the pandemic hit was the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship in January of 2020, when Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert triumphed.
Classic Golf & Country Club is a member of Asian Tour Destinations – an exclusive network of world-class golfing venues with direct ties to the Asian Tour.
The Asian Development Tour (ADT), the Asian Tour’s feeder circuit, makes its long awaited and popular return this week, after a two-year break caused by the pandemic, at the inaugural Gurugram Challenge in India.
The US$75,000 tournament tees off tomorrow at the Classic Golf & Country Club in Nuh, Haryana, close to the national capital New Delhi, and will be jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).
Prominent names participating include Asian Tour winners Rashid Khan and Khalin Joshi from India and Indonesian Rory Hie – who won the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship on the Asian Tour at Classic Golf & Country Club in 2019.
Joshi also has good memories of playing at Classic Golf & Country Club as he won a PGTI event at the venue in 2016.
Khalin said: “It’s good to be back at Classic where I have won in the past. The course is in great condition with the fairways and greens being immaculate. There is no rough so putting would hold the key this week.
“After I won on the PGTI last October, I fell ill and missed an event. So, the swing has not felt the same since then and I’ve not been at the top of my game. But I’m feeling good heading into this week. I know it’s just about shooting one low score and the confidence will be back.”
The last time an ADT event was played was the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship in January of 2020, when Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert triumphed.
“One of the Asian Tour’s greatest achievements over the past decade has been the successful implementation of the Asian Development Tour,” said Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner & CEO, Asian Tour.
“Launched in 2010, our incredibly popular secondary Tour has been a conveyor belt of stars of the future – such as current Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Korean Joohyung Kim and four-time Asian Tour winner John Catlin from the United States – and so I am truly delighted that the Asian Development Tour will restart this week after a two-year hiatus.
“The Gurugram Challenge, in collaboration with our friends at the Professional Golf Tour of India and the Classic Golf & Country Club, commences a season when we are expecting to stage 10-12 tournaments as we rebuild and look to get back to a full schedule next year.”
Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI, added: “We are delighted to jointly sanction the inaugural Gurugram Challenge along with the Asian Development Tour. The tournament is yet another initiative to provide international exposure to Indian professionals. We thank the Classic Golf & Country Club for partnering with us in staging the event. We look forward to the event emerging as a regular feature on the PGTI schedule in the coming years.”
Classic Golf & Country Club is also a member of Asian Tour Destinations – an exclusive network of world-class golfing venues with direct ties to the Asian Tour.
For live scoring, please click here.