Jakarta, October 27: Australian veteran Stephen Leaney returned in the morning to birdie the 18th hole for a six-under-par 66, grabbing the first round lead at the Indonesia Open on Friday morning.
Gaganjeet Bhullar of India launched his title defence by signing for a 67, highlighted by a hole-in-one on 12, to trail by one shot in second place alongside local hope Danny Masrin at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.
A host of eight players, including American Johannes Veerman, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit of Thailand and Rory Hie of Indonesia, shared fourth place on matching 68s at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
The 48-year-old Leaney, who enjoyed a tied-20th place finish in Fiji two months ago, claimed his first win in 13 years on home soil last week and is chasing for a maiden title on the Asian Tour.
Bhullar fired three birdies in his opening six holes before stumbling with a double-bogey on the seventh hole to turn in 35. The 29-year-old Indian, however, capped a solid back-nine 32, highlighted by a birdie-birdie-hole in one-birdie run from the 10th hole.
A total of 28 players resumed their opening rounds at 6.10am on Friday. The second round had commenced at 6.15am as per schedule.
Did you know?
- Bhullar aced the par-three 12th hole after hitting an eight-iron from 172 yards.
- Bhullar’s ace on the 12th holewas the fifth hole-in-one in his professional career and second in a tournament.
- Bhullar is a two-time winner of the Indonesia Open in 2013 and 2016. He is chasing for a hat-trick at the storied event.
- Bhullar claimed his eighth Asian Tour title in Macao last week and became the youngest player to win eight times on the region’s premier Tour. He ties the record with Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal as the only three Indians with the most number of victories on the Asian Tour.
- Out of Bhullar’s eight victories, three were secured in Indonesia.
- Masrin turned professional in 2015 and he has been plying his trade mostly on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) over the last two years.
- The 25-year-old Masrin enjoyed a tied-14th place finish at the Indonesia Open last year.
- Tirawat, who just turned 28 two days ago, enjoyed a top-10 finish in Korea last month. He also claimed a breakthrough win on the ADT in June.
- Tirawat came in tied-eighth at the 2016 Indonesia Open.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) – Five under through 17
I have had five hole-in-ones so far, this is my second during a tournament. It was on hole 12, 172 meters out and I hit an eight iron. It was a lucky shot that landed just five feet away from the pin and then rolled in.
I made the turn at one-under-par, and then birdied the 10th and 11th that gave me a boost. I then made the hole-in-one on 12th, continued to make a birdie on hole 13 with a long 30-foot-putt, so that was a good stretch of holes for me.
I did not do anything during the suspension, just had my lunch and was ready to go.
Danny Masrin (Ina) – Five-under through 16
I left myself a six-footer for birdie on the eighth hole when play was suspended. I was overthinking it a bit when I returned after the suspension. I ended up missing the birdie putt. It was a tough line to read.
I had a good approach on the ninth and bounced back with a birdie there. I went on to birdie the 11th hole but dropped a shot on 13 and recovered immediately on 14.
My goal has just been to keep the ball on the fairway and try and make birdies every three holes. With the way the holes are set up, its pretty doable.
The first 14 holes, I was striking my ball well and was really confident off the tee so I hit every fairway except for the last three holes.
Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (Tha) – First round 68 (-4)
I am not feeling well. I was down with a flu since yesterday. I told myself to just try and shoot even-par today but I managed to shoot a 68 so I am very happy with how I played.
I got off to a rocky start from the 10th hole. I dropped two shots in my opening four holes but I told myself it’s alright, I will try and make birdies to come back to even-par. I putted well today. I made a good birdie on the 14th hole. I hit my third shot over the green and I chipped it in from about seven yards!
The course condition is really good. We didn’t get much wind in the morning. The wind started picking up when I came back. The greens are a little bit soft and you can attack the pins. The fairways are very good too.
Scores after round 1 of the Indonesia Open being played at the par 72, 7243 Yards Pondok Indah GC course (am – denotes amateur):
68 – Ye Htet AUNG (MYN), Michael CHOI (AUS), Rory HIE (INA), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), Quincy QUEK (SIN), Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA), Chanachok DEJPIRATANAMONGKOL (THA).
69 – Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA), Wolmer MURILLO (VEN), Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA), Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA), Johnson POH (SIN).
70 – Rinaldi ADIYANDONO (INA), William HARROLD (ENG), Danthai BOONMA (THA), HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE), Ben LEONG (MAS), Zaw MOE (MYN), Miguel TABUENA (PHI), Antonio LASCUNA (PHI), Jay BAYRON (PHI), Josh SALAH (USA).
71 – Jose SURYADINATA (am, INA), Andrew MARTIN (AUS), Suttijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA), George GANDRANATA (INA), Terry PILKADARIS (AUS), Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA), K P LIN (TPE), Anthony QUAYLE (AUS), Jack WILSON (AUS), Khalin JOSHI (IND), Daniel CHOPRA (SWE), Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND).
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