Jakarta, Indonesia, August 31: Indonesian amateur Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan Putra stands on the verge of becoming the first Indonesian in almost 30 years to win their National Open after he fired a third round nine-under-par 63 to take a six-shot lead into the final round of the Bank BRI Indonesia Open on Saturday.
Indonesia has not welcomed a local winner since 1989 when Kasiadi emerged triumphant on home soil. And the country’s long wait for another homegrown champion could possibly end on Sunday as Naraajie’s commanding four-day total of 18-under-par 198 surged him right to the top of the leaderboard.
The confident 19-year-old knows he is carrying the weight of the nation and is relishing the challenge of what lies ahead in his final 18 holes at the Pondok Indah Golf Club.
Argentina’s Miguel Carballo, who is the reigning Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit champion, knows he has to bring out his ‘A’ game to have any glimmer of hope of catching up with the local hero after he signed for a 66 to take second place.
Overnight leader Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand slipped to third place after carding a 71 and admitted it would take a herculean effort to clinch his Asian Tour breakthrough at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open.
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Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan Putra (Ina) Third round 63 (-9) Total 198 (-18)
I didn’t feel much pressure today as I was just focusing on my own game and trying to play good golf. I played each shot at a time, hole-by-hole and was just trying to do my best. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow and it’s going to be a different day, different feelings so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I know Indonesia has not welcomed a local champion for almost 30 years already and hopefully I can deliver. I’ve brought along my A game this week and hopefully it shows up again tomorrow too. I don’t feel any pressure. Tomorrow’s just going to be another day of golf for me.
Miguel Carballo (Arg) Third round 66 (-6), Total 204 (-12)
I’m very happy with how I played today especially my putting. I was very consistent in my back-nine and was hitting the ball well too. Whatever it is, I need to really play well tomorrow. My form has been good. The last couple of weeks, I played well every round. They were all under-par rounds and I’m happy I’m able to control my game very well.
Itthipat Buranatanyarat (Tha) Third round 71 (-1), Total 205 (-11)
I need a really good round tomorrow to stand any chance. I did not have a good round today. I could not putt well and miss several birdie chances. Naraajie is playing really well and it’s hard for anyone to catch him if he continues to play like this. I just hope for the best tomorrow and hopefully I can catch up with him, if some luck on my side.
Linkou, Chinese Taipei, August 31: Sweden’s Daniel Chopra will be looking to rekindle his fond memories of Chinese Taipei when he returns to the popular Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) for the first time since 2016 next week.
The 45-year-old Chopra, who has claimed two of his 15 professional victories in Chinese Taipei, is ready to challenge for top honours again at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club, where he enjoyed a tied-fourth place finish in his debut appearance in 2014.
Buoyed by a recent victory in Florida, Chopra, also a regular golf commentator now, is looking to replicate that success when he tees off for the US$500,000 full-field event, where he will play on a sponsor’s invitation.
“I like the golf course at the Linkou Golf and Country Club. The first time I played there, I finished tied-fourth. I am looking forward to return to Chinese Taipei for the event. Mr. Emmet Hsu (Chairman of the Yeangder Group) is very nice to offer me an invite.
“I won twice in Chinese Taipei and the next time I went back, I came in tied-fourth at the Yeangder TPC. Chinese Taipei has been a good slump breaker for me over the years,” said Chopra, who won the 1995 Taiwan Open and the Mercuries Taiwan Masters for his first Asian Tour title in 2001.
Born in Sweden to an Indian father and a Swedish mother, Chopra moved to India when he was seven where he was raised by his grandparents. In 2015, he returned to ply his trade in Asia and won the Asian Tour Qualifying School.
“I just won one of the small events in Florida recently. The game’s been pretty good. Started to figure out a few things on my game, telling myself to do what I need to do when I see shots in my head. Obviously looking for a good result to play my way back to the Asian Tour,” Chopra added.
Chopra also sang praises for the emergence of talents on the Asian Tour, having followed the rapid rise of Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Justin Harding of South Africa over the last couple of years.
“I’m always happy to see guys progressing to play on the world stage through the Asian Tour. I always thought the Asian Tour is a wonderful place for the next generation of golfers to hone their skills and get tested against some of the most amazing players from all over the world.
“I’m not surprised that they do well on the big stage because the variety of challenges you face on the Asian Tour, like the conditions, cultures, type of grasses, etc. You learn so much more when you play on the Asian Tour than any other Tours as a young golfer,” said Chopra, who has also won twice on the PGA TOUR.
Other notable players who will feature in the 2019 Yeangder TPC include India’s Shiv Kapur and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, as well as Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, Chan Shih-chang and Lu Wei-chih, the only local player to have won the event in 2011.
The Yeangder TPC will celebrate its ninth consecutive edition on the Asian Tour next week. It will be the Tour’s first stop in Chinese Taipei this season.
Jakarta, Indonesia, August 30: Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat snatched the outright second round lead after signing for a three-under-par 69 at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open on Friday.
Despite being distracted by the loss of his mobile phone, the Thai still managed to return with a bogey-free round that was highlighted by birdies on holes five, six and 18 at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.
Itthipat’s two-day total of eight-under-par 134 gave him a slender one-shot advantage over South Africa’s J.C. Ritchie and Indonesian amateur Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan Putra, who trailed closely behind after signing for a 66 and 69 respectively.
Ritchie lived up to his billing as one of the contenders for this week with a more composed showing while Naraajie kept alive the hope for Indonesia to welcome its first local winner in almost two decades.
Australia’s Zach Murray, an Asian Tour rookie who won his maiden Tour title in New Zealand earlier this year, showed no effects of feeling under the weather, as he made up for his opening round 70 with a 66 to make up move up the leaderboard in the morning.
Murray is among the group of four players that include compatriot Jake Higginbottom, Thailand’s Kwanchai Tannin and India’s Aman Raj, who share fourth place, two shots back of Itthipat.
Like Murray, Raj is also playing in his rookie season on the Asian Tour and he showed no signs of nerve as he also surmounted a charge with a 69 that kept him in contention heading into the weekend rounds.
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Itthipat Buranatanyarat (Tha) Second round 69 (-3) Total 134 (-10)
I started the day badly because I discovered I left my mobile phone in the taxi and I couldn’t focus. But I’m happy the taxi driver managed to drive back to the hotel and returned it. I’m so relieved. I missed lots of birdie opportunities today because I think I lost my focus. But luckily I still managed to play okay. If I was not distracted, I think I would have done a lot better! Now that I know my phone has been returned, I’m ready for the weekend!
JC Ritchie (Rsa) Second round 66 (-6), Total 135 (-9)
I drove the ball a little bit better today and made some putts as well. I’m starting to get a feel for the greens. I’m still trying to figure out certain holes but overall it was good and I felt I could have gone even lower. There’s a lot of good golf waiting for me out there. I prefer to be leading but I also have a good record coming from behind.
Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan Putra (Ina) Second round 69 (-3), Total 135 (-9)
Playing in the afternoon session meant that I had to face a stronger wind and that’s why I have to stay patient. My first nine was not so good, but fortunately I gave myself birdie chances on the back-nine and made the most of it, but still I really needed to stay patient. Other than that, my short game and putting was very helpful since my ball striking today went right and left. We’ll see how the condition is for tomorrow, hopefully I can play my best tomorrow.
Zach Murray (Aus) Second round 66 (-6) Total 136 (-8)
I played pretty steady the first day but just make those putts. But today I putted really well and that made all the difference. It’s the first time having my girlfriend on my bag and she’s making that difference too. It has been really good and she has been a calming influence. She actually studies psychology and it’s really nice to have her here. I haven’t been feeling good the last couple of days and sometimes that can be a blessing in disguise as you don’t really want to look that far ahead. That’s what it has been like this week.
Aman Raj (Ind) Second round 69 (-3) Total 136 (-8)
It has been good for me so far. Couple of putts were falling in for me but I would say today was more of a recovery round after two bogeys early in the round. I managed to recover well and I’m pretty happy with that. The conditions were pretty windy today and I was trying to hold on to my shots. My form’s good actually and I’m hitting the ball well although I wished my putting could be better. I feel more familiar and comfortable playing on Tour since earning my card from Qualifying School. I’m just trying to give my best and see how it goes.
Johannes Veerman (Usa) Second round 70 (-2), Total 138 (-6)
I didn’t see that coming as I was really playing very well until that triple on five. I had a good rhythm going and I haven’t made a bogey all tournament yet. So, that kind of blindsided me in a way. I got too aggressive with my chip and I paid the price for that. But it’s comforting to know I have a very good track record here and that’s why I still have that belief that I can do well this week.
Catch up with the day’s highlight from this week’s Bank BRI Indonesia Open.
Jakarta, Indonesia, August 29: India’s Viraj Madappa restored his self-belief and powered his way to the top of the leaderboard with his opening seven-under-par 65 to share the first round lead with Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open on Thursday.
Madappa together with Itthipat, hold a one-shot advantage over Thailand’s Kosuke Hamamoto, Indonesian amateur, Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan Putra and India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu after the trio returned with matching 66s.
Madappa is searching for his second Asian Tour win after his breakthrough on home soil last year while Itthipat is coming into the week, fresh off a tied-sixth finish in Kuching a fortnight ago and seeking his maiden victory on the region’s premier Tour.
Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, who was part of the Thai national golf team that finished fourth in the team event at last year’s Asian Games which was also held at the Pondok Indah Golf Course, continued to impress when he returned with a 67.
Sadom, who broke into prominence when he became the record fastest Qualifying School graduate to win on the Asian Tour in Bangladesh, is among the five players bunched in a share of sixth that also include compatriot Jazz Janewattananond and Indonesia’s Rory Hie at the US$500,000 full field Asian Tour event.
Playing for the first time in Asia, South Africa’s J.C Ritchie returned with a 69 to end the day in a share of 24th place, four shots of the pace.
Ranked 120th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), Ritchie is the second highest-ranked player after Jazz (58th) and is playing on a sponsor’s invitation, which has been extended as part of the closer collaborations and reciprocal opportunities with the Sunshine Tour.
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Viraj Madappa (Ind) First round 65 (-7)
It has been a while since I felt happy with the way I played. I’ve been playing well but just not able to put together four good rounds. So it’s really satisfying to be able to post a good score for a start today. I’ve been playing well but just not able to believe in myself. I’ve not been mentally disciplined enough and I was not trusting the shots I knew I could hit. But I’ve been working on that for a couple of weeks now and it’s good to see the results today.
Itthipat Buranatanyarat (Tha) First round 65 (-7)
It was a roller-coaster round for me and although I’m in the share of the lead, I feel I still need to work a lot on my short game as I feel that is my weakness today. Overall, my form is good but I just need to be more confident on the golf course. I tend to lose my focus and the key is to recover well after making bad shots. I did some of that today but hope to be more consistent in that aspect.
Kosuke Hamamoto (Tha) First round 66 (-6)
I’m happy with my round and hopefully I can keep it going for the next three days. I played on this course a couple of times when I was still an amateur and was even here for the Asian Games last year. I finished seventh in the Men’s individual and the country finished fourth. The greens are firmer and the rough is not as thick as last year. I just have to keep playing good golf and the rest will take care of itself.
Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan Putra (Ina) First round 66 (-6)
My ball striking today was not good, my driver and iron shots were not like what I had expected, but luckily my putting and short game were really good. My shot of the day was probably on hole 12. It was 156 into the wind, I hit it with my seven-iron and the ball stopped about three meters away from the pin where I birdied the hole to go to five-under at that stage. I will need to work on my ball striking and longa game and then take some rest for the second round.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) First round 66 (-6)
This round has given me much confidence going into the week although I wished I could have played the par-five a little bit. But overall it has been good. We had a bit of a break but I’ve been practicing hard and it’s showing in my game today. I hope there’s less wind tomorrow so that I can attack the pins.
Sadom Kaewkanjana (Tha) First round 67 (-5)
I did not get off to a good start as I three-putted 12 but I managed to birdie 14 which brought back the confidence. I think I really needed that birdie to regain my composure. Luckily I managed to go on and make more birdies to finish strongly. I played here several times already and I’m familiar with the course. I just need to maintain my focus and that should be the key for this week.