Australia’s Harrison Gilbert held firm to secure victory in the Indo Masters Golf Invitational presented by TNE at Imperial Klub Golf today. His final round 66 was enough to clinch the win at 18-under-par despite a late charge by Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolphaisan.
Gilbert, who started the day in the final group alongside Thai duo Sakulpolphaisan and Chonlatit Chuenboonngam, opened the scoring with a bogey but soon recovered his composure in the US$70,000 Asian Development Tour event, posting three birdies and an eagle on the front nine. He picked up two more strokes on the way in to close with a six-under-par 66 and a final score of 270.
“I was really focused on just trying to keep it in play this week,” said the 23-year-old Australian, who made his pro debut in the Laguna Phuket Challenge as part of the Beautiful Thailand Swing.
“I made a few eagles which I was really happy about. After the first round I was one over and I thought I played pretty well, considering I hit it the water twice, and I was out of bounds, and then shot 64 the day after.”
The young Australian, who hails from the fabled Royal Melbourne course, is excited to get his professional career underway. “Really the last three days is probably the best golf I’ve ever played, “ he said.
“I feel like I’ve got room left in the tank to go lower. I’m honestly just really excited to get this journey underway, get the first win off my back and I’ll just stay in my lane and shoot for the stars. It’s really exciting.”
Chanat Sakulpolphaisan of Thailand. Picture by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Sakulpolphaisan maintained pressure all the way down the back stretch, carding six birdies in the last eight holes but in the end came up a single stroke short on 271. Chuenboonngam, who began the day tied for the lead, had a glimmer of hope on the front nine with four birdies but was unable to score after the turn and a final hole bogey dropped him down to a solo third with a score of 272.
Singapore’s Jesse Yap, the leader after Round 2, started the day strongly with five birdies and just a single dropped shot on the front nine, but was unable to improve on par through the back nine and finished fourth on 14-under-par and a final total of 274.
Thailand’s Sarun Sirithon and Jakraphan Premsirigorn, together with Shahriffuddin Ariffin of Malaysia, had all threatened the lead during the event but failed to deliver in the final round. Sirithon, who finished fifth overall with 275 strokes, seemed to have the best chance on the day with a pair of eagles and three birdies but a run of dropped shots on the back nine put paid to his chances.
Ariffin, who did himself no favors with only a par score for Round 2, recovered from an early bogey in the last round with a clutch of birdies but eventually had to settle for sixth place with a score of 276.
Jesse Yap, Jakraphan Premsirigorn and Sarun Sirithon shake hands following their round. Picture by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Premsirigorn, one of a handful who scored under par for all four rounds, was only able to improve on par by one stroke on the final day and finished in seventh with 277.
Round of the day was scored by Danny Masrin, who hadn’t made the most of his talents early on with only one shot gained to par in the first three rounds, turned in a blistering 63 to haul himself up the leaderboard on day four, with two eagles, seven birdies and astonishingly two bogeys to score the lowest round of the tournament.
Masrin’s eight place, with a score of 278, was shared with Thailand’s Nattawat Suvajanakorn while a group of five players – Elki Low of Indonesia, Malaysia’s Paul San, Justin Quiban of the Philippines, Australia’s Jack Murdoch and Tawit Polthai of Thailand – finished in 10th spot with a score of 279.
Alone in a solitary 15th place was Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines, finishing with a two-under-par 70 for a final score of 280.
Thailand’s Chonlatit Chuenboonngam turned in one of the low rounds of the day, posting a six-under 64 to vault up the leaderboard and into a share of the lead at the Indo Masters Golf Invitational presented by TNE.
Harrison Gilbert of Australia kept up the pressure following his low round yesterday to join the Thai in first place after an uninterrupted day’s golf at Imperial Club Golf, Lippo Karawaci, but two bogeys marred an otherwise impressive round of 67 which saw him finish at 12 under par, even after eagling the par five 11th for a second consecutive day.
Overnight leader Jesse Yap of Singapore started brightly in the US$70,000 Asian Development Tour event, but lost impetus with a bogey on the ninth hole, followed by two more dropped shots as his round came to a close. He shares third place with a group of four on 10 under par, including Thai duo Chanat Sakulpolphaisan and Sarun Sirithon who were in lockstep through the day.
Harrison Gilbert of Australia. Picture by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Playing together in the same group, Sakulpolphaisan and Sirithon finished with a pair of 68s to join Yap and fellow Thai Jakraphan Premsirigorn in third, Sakulpolphaisan pegging a bogey-free round while Sirithon mixed in two more birdies and two bogeys to match his final score.
Someone with better luck than Yap on the ninth hole was Justin Quiban of the Philippines, who holed out from the fairway for an albatross on the par five hole to close out his front nine in style. The rest of his round was also top notch, adding six birdies and just the one bogey to finish with a 64, matching the low round of the day and lifting him from 42nd place overnight to a share of 11th.
Leader after Round 1, Malaysia’s Shahriffuddin Ariffin, improved on his par score from yesterday but was unable to advance any further up the leaderboard with two bogeys slowing an otherwise good scoring round, including an eagle on the par 11th, one of four scored on the hole during the day.
Sarun Sirithon of Thailand. Picture by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Thailand’s Nattawat Suvajanakorn posted an impressive 65 to move into the top, with just one dropped shot against eight birdies to share 8th place at seven under par, joined by Malaysia’s Amir Nazrin and fellow Thai Tawit Polthai who scored a pair of 68s.
At six-under-par, a group led by Lloyd Jefferson Go and Justin Quiban of the Philippines, Australia’s Jack Murdoch and Ryoto Furuya of the USA share 11th place and while not completely out of contention, will need to take advantage of the low scores available and hope for some intervention by nature to make up ground on the leaders going into the final round.
After the disruptive storm delays of Round One, organisers OBGolf will be hoping for a continuation of the fine weather that has allowed two days of rain-free golf as the second event of an eight-leg Indonesia series comes to a conclusion.
Singapore’s Jesse Yap recovered well after a difficult start at the Indo Masters Golf Invitational presented by TNE on Thursday, backing up his first round score with a solid 67 to hold off a charge from Australia’s Harrison Gilbert and Jakraphan Premsirigorn of Thailand.
Play started early at Imperial Club Golf, Lippo Karawaci, with a 6.30am restart to make up the ground lost to bad weather at the end of the day on Wednesday, but there were no interruptions for Round Two, with the field able to complete the round in normal time with the cut falling at +3.
Yap’s round started poorly with a bogey on the first hole, but he rallied quickly and posted six birdies for a five-under-par 67, which was enough to secure the lead against a strong showing in the afternoon wave.
Low round of the day by Australia’s Harrison Gilbert. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Round of the day though belonged to Australia’s Harrison Gilbert, who turned in a bogey-free 64, with three birdies on each nine and an eagle on the par five 11th hole.
Said Gilbert: “My game was pretty good today, I was bogey free with eight under 64. I came out hot, four under through six, and said to myself just stay in the present because I’ve had a tendency in the past to not finish good rounds.”
“The course is such a tough driving course. Mentally you step up to every tee box thinking I have to hit a fairway otherwise it’s going to be hard to get the ball close to the pin. I hit the ball quite a long way and it just means I have to not hit driver, hit three wood for strategy and just really play to my positions. Today I did that really well, executed a lot of great shots so I’m really pleased.
“The weather I would say was just about perfect, I played in Phuket for the Beautiful Thailand Swing last month and the humidity was just too much for me but here its just about perfect. I’m just really happy we got through two rounds without a rain delay. Well I did, I got the good side of the draw and I was very lucky for that.
“Last week I really struggled with the rain delays so very pleased to get through two rounds without a delay this week. I’ll go into the next two days just with the same strategy, hit it to my spots, stay patient and stay in the present.”
Chen Guxin of China. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn made a late charge to secure a share of second place with a closing run of three birdies in the final four holes to secure a blemish-free 66, and he will be starting in the leading group when Round Three gets underway tomorrow.
Thai duo Chanat Sakulpolphaisan and Sarun Sirithon both made strong starts among the groups teeing off on the back nine, with Sakulpolphaisan posting five birdies before the turn and Sirithon also eagling the par five 11th hole before dropping a shot on hole 3 in his back nine. They posted a 66 and 68 respectively and share fourth place for the third round.
China’s Chen Guxin heads up a group of three in sixth place, sharing the spot with last week’s winner Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra of Indonesia and overnight leader, Malaysia’s Shahriffuddin Ariffin. Chen started well with three birdies on his front nine but two bogeys saw him slip back down the order. Ramadhanputra posted a reasonable 68 to gain ground on his overnight position while Ariffin was disappointed to see his lead slip away after trading birdies and bogeys to make par for the day.
Kurnia Herisiandy of Indonesia. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Kurnia Herisiandy of Indonesia, Chonlatit Chuenboonngam of Thailand, Malaysia’s Paul San and Ryoto Furuya of the USA make up a group on ninth place at four under. In 13th spot, Ira Alido of the Philippines, Thailand’s Tawit Polthai and the Malaysian duo of Galven Green and Amir Nazrin will start the day tomorrow at three under.
Rounding out the top twenty is Australia’s Jack Murdoch and Elki Know of Indonesia, both of whom dropped shots on the front nine, and they are joined on two under by Sam Gillis of the USA and Indonesia’s Rinaldi Adiyandono.
Malaysia’s Shahriffuddin Ariffin took an early lead at the Indo Masters Invitational presented by TNE today, posting a five-under-par 67 to secure the overnight lead after play was suspended due to lightning and heavy rain.
Ariffin, who had the advantage of an early tee time, posted a consistent if uneventful score with three birdies on each nine, with only a single bogey on his sixth hole of the day, the par 3 16th. His first time on the course, he was happy with his performance at the US$70,000 Asian Development Tour event, the second in a series of six in Indonesia.
“My driving and putting was very good today, I just focused on the target. For the par fives make a birdie, par the par threes and try to get a birdie on the par fours. I wasn’t expecting to go so low today, maybe three under, so I’m happy,” said Ariffin after his round.
“It’s my first time here but the course is not easy, you need to hit really good drives and pay attention to your ball position, otherwise you have to try to get up and down from where you finish. One bogey on the par three, I three-putted. Hit a seven iron off the tee and opened the club face so I went all the way right. So I just putted from there. Thirty-two feet, then six feet but took the wrong line.”
China’s Chen Guxin. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
China’s Chen Guxin, looking to improve on his fourth pace in last week’s OBGolf Invitational, was also able to take advantage of an early tee time at the Imperial Club Golf in Karachi, just outside Jakarta. Starting on the 10th tee, he posted nine straight pars before stretching his legs with back to back birdies just after the turn and a third birdie on his final hole.
Pisitchai Thippong of Thailand, staring from the first tee, struggled with the first half of his round, posting three bogeys offset with two birdies on the front nine, before recovering to score two more birdies and finishing with the flourish of an eagle on the 18th to claim equal second with Chen on 69. Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines and Singapore’s Jesse Yap, who will both finish their first round in the morning, are also in the three-under group in second place.
Sam Gillis. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Sam Gillis of the USA, joining the Indonesia series in match two, started well and also eagled the 18th on his first nine, but a bogey on the 9th pulled him up short and dropped him into a share of third place, together with Justin Quiban of the Philippines who posted a four-birdie, two-bogey 70 and Australia’s Jack Murdoch, who has five holes to play to complete his round in the morning.
Last week’s winner Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra of Indonesia started well from the 10th tee but two bogeys before the turn slowed his advance, although he was able to steady the ship and two closing birdies set him atop a large group in ninth place, with a number of contenders needing to finish their rounds in the morning.
Included in that group is the other ADT rookie Jonathan Wijono, fresh from the battle at last week’s OBGolf Invitational, who posted a straight par opening nine, and with one birdie in the three holes he played before the hooter blew, will be looking to advance when play resumes at 6.30am on Thursday morning.
Indonesia’s Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra turned in a flawless round of nine-under par 63 to clinch victory at the OBGolf Invitational to win his debut event as a professional golfer, overpowering compatriot and fellow ADT debutant Jonathan Wijono to win by four strokes on the Damai Indah Golf’s BSD Course.
The US$70,000 event was beset by rain delays for the first three days of the tournament but the final day turned out fine, and despite needing to clear up the stragglers from Round Three in the morning finished with time to spare.
Ramadhanputra, who turned professional after the recent SEA Games, began the day tied for the lead at 15 under. He was under early pressure from the in-form Wijono, who started with three straight birdies to open up a small lead. But a brace of awkward bogeys on holes four and five for Wijono soon put the impetus back with Ramadhanputra and the pair traded birdies and one eagle to make the turn with a significant lead over the rest of the field.
Wijono, who was playing his first ADT event as a pro, faltered again with a bogey on the 10th hole and despite recovering the dropped shot within the next two holes, a string of birdies from Ramadhanputra and two more dropped shots as the round drew to a close meant he had to ultimately concede defeat.
Jonathan ‘Jowi’ Wijono. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
A crucial putt on the 14th hole proved the deciding moment, as Naraajie went on to explain:
“Playing with Jowi (Wijono), we both hit a lot of birdies, he was six under through nine, I was five under, so it was close. We were the same score on the 14th, the par three. I hit it to the middle of the green, Jowi hit it close to about two or three meters, and I was about 8 meters away from the pin. I made the putt and he missed, so that was the turning point.”
“My ball striking and putting were both good today. We played 27 holes so of course I was tired but I just tried to do my best on each shot and it paid off in the end,” said Naraajie.
Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
The nearest contender at 17 under was Filipino Lloyd Jefferson Go, who posted a plucky 68 to keep hold of his overnight third place, holding off pressure from China’s Chen Guxin who could have caught him for a tie if not for a dropped shot on the 15th hole.
Australia’s Jack Murdoch maintained consistent scoring pressure throughout the tournament to finish at 15 under par, collecting fifth place honors which he shared with Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolphaisan. Sakulpolphaisan, who scored a commendable 6 under 66 on the final day, did well to recover from a poor start with a 73 on the opening day, but was eventually unable to recover enough ground.
Chen Guxin of China. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Danny Chia of Malaysia started the final round with a share of third place, but three bogeys and only four birdies on the day saw him drop back to finish on a solo seventh spot.
Singapore’s Abdul Hadi eased himself back into the top ten with a string of birdies around the turn after starting the day back in 16th place but an unfortunate double on the par 3 14th hole looked to have put paid to his charge, only to be rescued by a eagle on the closing par 5 18th.
Sharing eight place with Hadi was England’s David Langley posted a two under 70, with just one dropped shot on the back nine, rounding out a solid if uneventful tournament.
Jack Murdoch of Australia. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai, the leader after Day One, struggled for consistency on the final day, posting an eagle, birdie and two bogeys on the front nine, dropped three shots on the first two holes after the turn before recovering his form to finish strongly, birdieing five of the last seven holes. He shared 10th spot with India’s Udayan Mane.
Rory Hie, playing in a home tournament after a string of overseas appearances on the main Asian Tour, posted an 11 under total , sharing 12th spot with Shariffuddin Ariffin of Malaysia and Ryoto Furuya of the USA.
The weather had the upper hand once again today at the OBGolf Invitational, with a lengthy rain delay putting paid to an already cramped schedule at the Damai Indah Golf’s BSD Course. In contrast to yesterday’s stop start frustrations, a single interruption of nearly four hours played havoc with the day’s program.
Overnight leader Jonathan Wijono maintained his grip on the lead when play was called just after 6pm in Jakarta due to darkness but the closing pack led by compatriot Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra were making inroads on his advantage in preparation for a full onslaught when play resumes tomorrow.
Ramadhanputra carded three birdies in his opening nine holes to draw level with Wijono, who only managed to improve his overnight score by one before the hooter sounded to end the day’s play. With most of the back nine remaining to complete Round Three the pair will be neck and neck when they get back out on the course on Friday morning.
Jonathan Wijono keeping grip on the lead. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Wijono, who famously has abandoned his putter in place of his trusty two iron, was philosophical about the weather delays.
“The delays didn’t really affect me, although the game today was bit stressfuI. I had a lot of good approach shots but a lot of missed putts. Unlucky putts. Not a bad putt, just not lucky. Started on the line but at the end, just veered off to the left or the right”, he said.
“Tomorrow I just have to be patient. I will stick with my game plan. Hopefully the momentum will change tomorrow. I’ll be happy if I’m in second or third place for the last round, I don’t like being in the lead on the final day”
Ramadhanputra was also equivocal about the rain delays. Having completed his round yesterday he started the day refreshed but took his time to settle in the early wet conditions. “In the first couple of holes it was rainy which made the short game pretty challenging, but after 5 holes the course became a bit easier,” he explained.
“My game was OK today. I think I’m in a good position – eleven holes with three birdies – and I hope tomorrow will be even better. Strategy today was to control my irons shots and my ball striking was pretty good. Missed a couple of putts but overall pretty good.”
Of the day’s other contenders, the group of Lloyd Jefferson Go, Danny Masrin and Chen Guxin set the pace for the field, each scoring the day’s best score of four under par, generally trading birdies as they made their way through to the back nine. Returning to play on the 13th hole tomorrow, the trio will need to keep up the challenge to make up four or five shots on the leaders.
India’s Udayan Mane, moving up into third spot. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
India’s Udayan Mane has been in contention on all three days so far and was going well with three birdies today, until an unfortunate bogey on the 9th hole pulled him up short as darkness fell. At 12 under and two under for the day, he will also be looking to make a fresh start when play resumes.
Danny Chia of Malaysia started strongly with a birdie to add to his strong showing yesterday, although a double bogey on the next hole brought him swiftly back to reality. Posting a birdie two holes later was enough to see him card a par score for the day and he will return to the course with only a few holes to play.
Danny Chia of Malaysia, in fourth after even par start. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Rookie Indonesian golfer Jonathan Wijono turned in a blistering nine-under round in a stop-start day at the OBGolf Invitational today with a score of 63 to dramatically take the lead in his first ever Asian Development Tour event as a professional – and he did it all without a putter in the bag!
The 22-year-old national athlete turned professional in 2020 after a strong amateur career, including individual gold and a team silver in the 2016 Indonesian National Games. He resisted the switch to professional status while still at college in Perth, maintaining that he would turn pro when ready, and when he could devote all his time to golf.
He certainly showed what he is capable of today, turning in a commanding performance in his first ADT event and on a day when the weather kept disrupting the flow of proceedings with several breaks in the action. The US$70,000 OBGolf Invitational event is being played at the Damai Indah Golf’s BSD Course from June 7-10.
“My game was very good today. I didn’t expect to shoot nine under, just maybe around five under. I tried to get birdies on the par fives and maybe on the short par 4 but luckily today I played really good. My strategy was on point and I executed well so I ended up better than I expected,” he said.
“I was quite tired because of the stops. Today we had I think five or six stops which was tiring. My approach shots were working quite well, I could get the ball in close to the pin with a lot of birdie chances below five meters. That was a strong part of my game today.”
Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra started strongly and finished with a 68. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
Following up on his his four-under 68 yesterday, Jonathan leads the tournament going into the final round, two shots ahead of compatriot Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra who started strongly but dropped a few shots in the closing stretch to finish with 66.
“Jowi”, as Jonathan is known, unusually doesn’t like using a putter.
“Actually I didn’t bring the putter to Jakarta. I’ve only 13 clubs in my bag, I used the two iron as my putter. Why? Because I just don’t feel comfortable with the putter, Just from the setup I don’t feel comfortable. I tried with five different putters and it didn’t work, I don’t know why, but the two iron is like my best friend.
“Tomorrow I’ll just try to play like usual, follow my game plan, follow the same strategy as today and yesterday.” With a putter? No, still no putter,” he laughed.
Sarun Sirithon sits in third place after a four-under 68. Photo by Yulius Martinus / OBGolf
With groups still out on the course as the day drew to a close, including the first round leaders Poosit Supupramai and Udayan Mane, other members of the field put in a strong showing.
Thailand’s Sarun Sirithon, who made a late charge into third place on Tuesday, carded a solid 68 to finish on 10 under. He started strongly on the back nine with three birdies but two dropped shots on his final nine holes pushed him back to a one under finish for the nine, helped by one birdie and and eagle on the par-five fourth hole.
Ryoto Furuya of the USA, who was just one under and sharing 25th place after round one, posted an impressive 65 to top a group in fourth place, helped by a strong five birdies on his second nine.
David Langley of England looked to capitalize on his 69 in round one, and with seven birdies offset by two bogeys he scored a solid 67 to join the group on eight under in fourth. Malaysia’s Danny Chia completed nine holes today at three under and also remains with a share of fourth. He will finish his round tomorrow.
Thailand’s Suttijet Kooratanapisan, Chen Guxin of China and Singapore’s Abdul Hadi share 10th place between them, carding a 69, 71 and even par 72 respectively.
Indonesia’s Danny Masrin sits at five under, following up his 69 yesterday with a two under score of 70 today. He shares 13th place with Van Thomas of the USA, who remains out on the course with a score of four under so far for the day, and Australia’s Jack Murdoch is also showing strong form at two under after nine holes, with a birdie, bogey and eagle making up his front nine 34.
Play was suspended shortly before 7pm due to darkness, and a number of players remain on the course needing to finish the second round. The cut is projected at +1, with 53 players currently within the limit.
Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai set the early pace at the OB Golf Invitational on Tuesday, June 7, with a flawless round of seven under par to finish the opening day tied for the lead on 65 with India’s Udayan Mane.
Supupramai, after teeing off in one of the first groups, posted a bogey-free round with four birdies on the front nine and three on the back, closely followed by Singapore’s Abdul Hadi playing in the same group. India’s Udayan Mane also started very strongly, with a powerful six-under 30 on the front nine, and would have grabbed a late solo lead if not for an unfortunate bogey on the 17th.
Hadi, with two starts on the Asian Tour already this year, had a more mercurial front nine with six birdies and one bogey, but was unable to maintain momentum and slipped back to third place with a six-under 66. Thailand’s Sarun Srithon was one of the later finishers who completed their round before play was stopped for a second time due to rain. He carded a 66 to join the group in third spot, together with Malaysia’s Shahriffuddin Ariffin.
Inclement weather stopped play temporarily at 2.05pm, with golfers returning to the course at 3.15pm after a short delay. The US$70,000 event, played on the Damai Indah Golf’s BSD course on the outskirts of Jakarta, finishes on June 10th. Play was stopped a second time at 5.28pm and will resume on Wednesday at 6.30am.
Danny Chia of Malaysia started the day in steady fashion. Teeing off on Hole 10, he maintained par through the first nine holes, then began to gather pace for a strong finish, birdieing six of his last nine holes to score a five-under 67 and secure sixth place, later tied with Peradol Panyathansedh of Thailand. Chia’s compatriots Paul San and Khor Kheng Hwai finished four shots back in a tie for 18th with Van Thomas of the USA with a one under score of 71.
Thailand’s Jaturon Duangphaichoom, looking to get his season underway after a stuttering start, began strongly on the back nine, gathering momentum towards the turn and scoring a precious eagle on the par five ninth hole. A birdie on the very next hole showed promise but he was unable to make the most of his burst of form, dropping two shots before a last hole birdie rescued a score of three under and a share of eighth place. The elder Supupramai brother, Sattaya, also finished the day in the group at three under par, together with Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines, Australia’s Jack Murdoch, Suttijet Kooratanapisan of Thailand and USA’s Jeremy Wendelken.
Leading Indonesian amateur Amadeus Christian Susanto, fresh from a second place finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games individual event, started sluggishly from the 10th tee with two bogeys in three holes, but was able to gather himself by the time he reached the turn and carded three birdies in his last 10 holes to finish in 15th place on even par.
Settee Prakongvech would love to win around the globe but wouldn’t mind either if every tournament he teed it up in was at Blue Canyon Country Club.
The 27-year-old continued his love affair with the Phuket course’s fabled Canyon layout when he captured his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title on Friday in a classic snatch and grab job after jetting in from the Asian Tour.
Starting the final round of the $75,000 Blue Canyon Open three shots back, Prakongvech made the most of his own hot front nine and the misfortune of others coming home to win the 54-hole event, co-sanctioned by the MENA Tour, by a stroke.
Prakongvech’s closing four-under 68 saw him finish the Beautiful Thailand Swing (BTS) decider at -12, clear of a five-way tie for second featuring countrymen Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (65), Piya Sawangarunporn (67) and Witchayapat Sinsrang (68), Frenchman Victor Rui (71) and overnight co-leader Dodge Kemmer (72) of America.
It comes after the world No. 385 won the second of his thus far three All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT) titles, the Singha All Thailand Championship, on the Canyon course last September.
This was Prakongvech’s sole appearance in the four-tournament BTS but victory comes as little surprise given he is currently third on the ATGT Order of Merit (OOM) and has been focusing his talents on the Asian Tour with his country exemption status.
He flew into Phuket fresh from a T-19 finish at the 41st GS Caltex Maekyung Open in Seoul and before that a career-best third-place finish at the DGC Open in India.
That US$31,5000 payday in Delhi makes up the bulk of the $39,421 that currently sees him feature 29th on the Asian Tour OOM.
“I have win here before at Blue Canyon, I love the course and today I played very well on the first nine,” said Prakongvech who negotiated the Canyon course’s outward half in four-under before mixing a birdie on 16 with a bogey on the next to play the inward nine in even par.
“I made two birdies on the par-3s and two birdies on the par-5s on the front nine, I hit every fairway, my game was very good and I can make the putts. But for the back nine, I have problems with the approach shots. I didn’t hit close to the pin so not many chances for birdie.”
It turns out Prakongvech got all the help he needed from the two groups ahead of him.
First tall Thai Vanchai Luangnitikul, the overnight co-leader with Kemmer, imploded with a triple-bogey six after ditching his tee shot on the par-3 14th in the water.
MENA Tour player and ADT affiliate Joshua Grenville-Wood was making a serious title charge in the penultimate group, arriving at the penultimate hole at five-under for the day and in the lead at -13 overall. But the young Englishman sadly found water to the right of the par-3 17th, settled for a double from the drop zone and then dropped another stroke on the last to sign for a 70 and a hard-to-accept share of seventh place.
Kemmer, who won the ADT’s season-opening Gurugram Open in India, had his putter to thank for hanging tough until the last hole when he ditched his drive into bushes hugging the left-hand side of the fairway on the par-4. The 34-year-old from south of San Francisco got a free drop from the GUR but came up short with his approach, pitched past the hole with this third and couldn’t muster one final piece of magic from his blade just when he needed it most.
“I am surprised, I didn’t expect for win,” Prakongvech said afterwards.
“I thought if I played my best I could finish top-five and not even when I finished I didn’t think I could win the tournament so it is a surprise.”
The $13,125 payday put Prakongvech up to fourth on The ADT OOM behind China’s Blue Canyon Classic winner Chen Guxin ($20,389), Kemmer ($18,756) and Laguna Phuket Cup champion Sarun Sirithon ($17,708).
Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolphaisan ($13,059), Malaysia’s Shahriffuddin Ariffin ($10,237) and Thai teen Denwit Boriboonsub ($10,131) occupy the other spots in the top seven that will earn automatic Asian Tour promotion at the end of the season set to feature a run of six events in Indonesia announced on Friday.
Englishman Tom Sloman, who won the BTS’s opening Laguna Phuket Challenge, clinched the MENA Tour’s 2020+ Journey to Jordan OOM despite missing the cut in the Blue Canyon Open, along with second-placed David Langley.
Countryman David Hague had a chance to snatch the title with a top-four finish on Friday but struggled with his putter and had to settle for a 17th place. The $879.38 Hague won meant he moved up to $26,053 for the season and remained third overall behind Sloman ($28,870) and Langley ($27,557).
Sloman earns a start in one of the Asian Tour’s upcoming International Series events for his victory while the top-10 in the final J2J OOM earn invites to the next two ADT events (the June 7-10 OB Golf Invitational at Damai Indah Golf BSD and the June 15-18 Indo Masters Golf Invitational presented by TNE at Imperial Klub Golf), plus exemption to the final stage of the 2023 Asian Tour Q-School.
The Asian Development Tour (ADT), the Asian Tour’s feeder circuit, will stage six events in Indonesia this year – thanks to the gradual relaxation of restrictions for inbound travelers in the country.
Set to run in a window from early June through to the first week of September, total prize money of over half a million US dollars will be on offer with purses ranging from US$70,000 to US$110,000.
This exciting development will mean that Indonesia will become the biggest destination for the ADT in 2022.
With the addition of the Indonesian tournaments, the ADT schedule is now made up of 12 events, including four which are jointly-sanctioned with the MENA Tour – concluding this week in Phuket under the banner of the ‘Beautiful Thailand Swing’.
Sarun Sirithon is currently second on the Merit list.
The 72-hole Indonesian events will commence on June 8 with the OB Golf Invitational, followed the week after by the Indo Masters Golf Invitational presented by TNE at Imperial Klub Golf. Details of an event to be held in July will be announced later.
Then starting in August a lucrative stretch of tournaments will be held consecutively: the US$100,000 Gunung Guelis Golf Invitational supported by Nomura; the US$110,000 Ciputra Golfpreneur; and, the US$100,000 Combiphar Players Championship at Parahyangan Golf – a member of the Asian Tour Destinations network.
More ADT events this season will be announced in due course.
Unho Park, Director of Tour & Player Affairs, Asian Tour, said: “Providing playing opportunities for our ADT members is our prime objective this season. I’m delighted, therefore, that we’re able to announce these six ADT tournaments in Indonesia”.
“Not only will this enable us to surpass our target of staging at least 12 events this season, but also it gives us a massive boost as we continue to rebuild after such a long and frustrating break … and put together a full schedule for 2023.”
Park added: “The ADT has been a springboard to the Asian Tour for dozens of players, including our reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Joohyung Kim of Korea and American John Catlin, a four-time winner on the Asian Tour”.
“We’re all excited to see which players will take up the baton this year and secure themselves spots on the Asian Tour in 2023.”
The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on next year’s Asian Tour.
Following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ADT resumed last month with the inaugural Gurugram Challenge at the Classic Golf & Country Club on the outskirts of New Delhi, a co-sanctioned event with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). Victory went to American Dodge Kemmer.
Dodge Kemmer claimed the Gurugram Classic in India.
Chen Guxin currently leads the Order of Merit, helped by winning the Blue Canyon Classic last week; in doing so, he became the first player from China to win on the Tour.
The Boonchu Ruangkit Championship, won by Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert in January 2020, will be counted on the current ADT season having been played before the COVID-19 pandemic suspension.
2020-2022 ADT Schedule:
Boonchu Ruangkit Championship
Jan 23 – 26, 2020 US$119,000 Rancho Charnvee Resort & CC
Won by Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA)
Mar 29 – Apr 1 US$75,000 Classic Golf & CC
Won by Dodge Kemmer (USA)
Laguna Phuket Challenge
May 3-5 US$75,000 Laguna Golf Phuket
Won by Tom Sloman (ENG)
Laguna Phuket Cup
May 8-10 US$75,000 Laguna Golf Phuket
Won by Sarun Sirithon (THA)
Blue Canyon Classic
May 13-15 US$75,000 Blue Canyon CC
Won by Chen Guxin (CHN)
Blue Canyon Open
May 18-20 US$75,000 Blue Canyon CC
OB Golf Invitational
Jun 7-10 US$70,000 Damai Indah Golf BSD
Indo Masters Golf Invitational presented by TNE
Jun 15-18 US$70,000 Imperial Klub Golf
Jul 20-23 TBC Royale Jakarta
Gunung Geulis Golf Invitational supported by Nomura
Aug 17-20 US$100,000 Gunung Geulis CC
Aug 24-27 US$110,000 Damai Indah Golf BSD
Combiphar Players Championship
Aug 31 – Sep 3 US$100,000 Parahyangan Golf