Rai on the Rise in Johor

Fri 23 Oct 2009

Rai on the Rise in Johor


Johor Bahru, Malaysia, October 23: India’s Hammit Rai stole the limelight again when he holed a birdie on the 16th hole to seize the second round clubhouse lead at the Iskandar Johor Open on Friday.

The young Indian, who only had 30 minutes to rest after completing his first round this morning, was in superb form as he posted a five-under-par 67 for a two-day total of 131 at the US$1 million full field Asian Tour tournament.

Tournament marquee name K.J. Choi of Korea and Brunei Open winner Darren Beck of Australia are a further stroke back after the duo posted matching 64s for a 132 total at the Royal Johor Country Club.

Chinese Taipei’s Chang Tse-peng continued his impressive form as he stayed in touch with the clubhouse leader on 133. Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat also gave himself a fighting chance with a 65 for a 133 total.

Rai, looking for his maiden win on the Asian Tour, fired a remarkable eagle on his second hole when his chip found the hole from 10 yards. He posted four more birdies against one bogey before taking a one-stroke lead.

“It is really satisfying because I have been practicing hard. My game plan with my caddie worked out well for us and I am glad to be on top the leaderboard,” said the 22-year-old Rai.

Despite completing nine holes this morning, Rai held his nerve and continued his surge up the leaderboard and managed to break away from Choi and Beck with a birdie on the 16th hole.

“Resuming play this morning did not perturb me because as a professional, I have to prepare myself mentally for rounds such as this. Everything went my way today, I hit my shots well and took full advantage of that. This is my best performance so far this season,” said the Indian.

Asian Tour honorary member Choi held true to his word that he would revive his stuttering for this week by posting a blemish free round highlighted by seven birdies.

“The key was my iron shots as I hit a lot of shots to about three to five feet from the pin. I kept the rhythm going and it was great because the more birdies I made, the more confident I felt,” said the three-time Asian Tour winner.

The Iskandar Johor Open, celebrating its third edition and offering a record prize fund this year, is sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Johor Golf Association and Malaysian Golf Association.

The main sponsor of the Iskandar Johor Open is the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). It is also supported by platinum sponsor - UEM Land Berhad, the master developer of Nusajaya which is a key driver of Iskandar Malaysia. Other co-sponsors include Iskandar Waterfront Development and UM Land. Official partners are TaylorMade Adidas Golf, 100 Plus, Srixon, Winston Wine, Dewars, Ricoh and the Puteri Pacific Hotel.

News and updates on the tournament will be available on the official IJO website www.iskandarjohoropen.com.

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.