Leaderboard Logjam in Jakarta

Thu 23 Jul 2009

Leaderboard Logjam in Jakarta


Jakarta, July 23: Thai star Thaworn Wiratchant, Finland's Pasi Purhonen and Australian duo Marcus Both and Darren Beck fired matching six-under-par 66s to share the first round lead at the Indonesia President Invitational on Thursday.

The third edition of the US$400,000 Asian Tour event was a thriller with Korea's Lee Sung, Thammanoon Srirot of Thailand and Australia's Adam Blyth lying a further stroke back on 67s at the Damai Indah Golf - Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) course.

Singaporean prospect Quincy Quek, featuring in his first Asian Tour event as a professional, brilliantly fired seven consecutive birdies en route to a 68 to lie two off a crowded leaderboard.

Indonesia's top performer was leading amateur Benny Kasiadi, who returned a bogey-free 70, a score matched by defending champion Scott Hend of Australia.

The evergreen Thaworn, Asia's number one in 2005, sank three closing birdies from close range to extend his recent revival in form which has seen him win three smaller tournaments across the region.

"During the first six months of the year, I was doing everything the same as before but nothing happened for me. But recently, the putts started to roll in and things began to happen again," said the 10-time Asian Tour winner, who failed to register a single top-10 in the front half of the season.

"I have prepared well for the second half of our season and it's nice to have a good start. I'm happy but anything can still happen," added the 42-year-old Thaworn.

Beck, runner-up at the Hero Honda Indian Open last year, overcame a double bogey on the ninth hole with eight birdies for his strong start. "It was a good round despite the double bogey where I missed an easy tap in. Hopefully, I can continue to play well and challenge for my first Asian Tour win," he said.

The 33-year-old Purhonen, who recently came out from a four year sabbatical during which he was Finland's national amateur team coach, posted six birdies against one bogey to grab the early limelight. He missed his Asian Tour card by one stroke at Qualifying School at the start of the year but hopes to make full use of his second tournament in the region.

"I made a couple of good putts early on to keep it going and then the game eventually got a little better. I putted well the whole day and I hit a lot of fairways. I was really solid. Most of the putts were from inside eight or nine feet," said the 33-year-old.

Both was the last man to join the crowded leaderboard, thanks to a snaky 25-foot birdie putt at his last hole on the ninth. He credited the hard work put in with coach Adam Fraser, a former Asian Tour regular, during the summer break for his start.

"After a couple of months off, you are never quite sure how you are going to come back. Six-under on this golf course under these conditions, I'll take that for sure," said Both, the 2003 Sanya Open winner.

"I know what I have to keep doing and everything went nicely today but I still have a long way to go. I think everyone obviously wants to win golf tournaments and I wouldn't be playing any of these weeks if I didn't think I could win."

Singapore's rising star, Quek who started from the 10th tee, got off to a nervous start when he soared to three over par through seven holes. But he responded with an exciting run of seven birdies on the trot from the 17th hole to end the day two off the pace.

"Seven birdies in a row, you can't really complain! At the start of the morning, I wasn't quite awake but it warmed up and I got some confidence going and got the ball rolling and everything kind of went in. I put myself in some good positions for birdies and I'm quite pleased with the round," said the 22-year-old, who has won top honours in the Putra Cup - the region's top amateur team competition.


The Indonesia President Invitational is supported by platinum sponsor Pertamina and main sponsor Qatar Telecoms. The other co-sponsors include Indosat, Middle East Coal and Panasonic, and the partner sponsors are Ancora Indonesia Resources, Bormindo, Carlsberg, Coffee Bean, Evian, Garuda Indonesia, Golf Digest, Hotel Mulia, MNK, Pin High, Prestige, Ramsay Health Care, RICOH, Srixon, TAG Heuer, The Flag and Toyota.

The Indonesia President Invitational tournament is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Indonesian PGA (PGPI) and organised by the Indonesian Golf Association (PGI).

Leading first round scores

66 - Darren Beck (AUS), Pasi Purhonen (FIN), Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), Marcus Both (AUS)

67 - Adam Blyth (AUS), Thammanoon Srirot (THA), Lee Sung (KOR)

68 - Young Nam (KOR), Jbe Kruger (RSA), Simon Griffiths (ENG), Quincy Quek (SIN), Ted Oh (KOR), Kwanchai Tannin (THA), Antonio Lascuna (PHI)

69 - Peter Cooke (AUS), Lin Wen-hong (TPE), Jason Norris (AUS), Chris Rodgers (ENG), Kim Dae-hyun (KOR), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Masaki Sakata (JPN), Mitchell Brown (AUS), Kao Bo-song (TPE), Artemio Murakami (PHI), James Kamte (RSA), Chris Roake (ENG), David Gleeson (AUS), Adam Groom (AUS), Shang Lei (CHN)

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.