16th September 2019 | Asian Tour
History-maker Hie dedicates first Asian Tour win to late Arie
Sentosa, Singapore, September 16: After registering his maiden Asian Tour victory at the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship and becoming the first Indonesian to do so on Sunday, Rory Hie dedicated his win to late friend and former Tour player Arie Irawan.
The 31-year-old Indonesian had led from start to finish before claiming a two-shot victory over Korea’s Byungjun Kim and Rashid Khan of India, thanks to a closing four-under-par 68 and a 21-under-par 267 winning total at the Classic Golf and Country Club.
Hie, who has played on Tour since 2008, took home a winner’s prize purse of US$54,000 following his triumph in the US$300,000 full-field event, which was also his 85th start on the region’s premier Tour.
Hie’s landmark success came five months after the sudden passing of Arie Irawan, who was one of Malaysia’s and the region’s most promising talents. Arie, a two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), had passed away of apparent natural causes in China earlier in April.
“I am sure my late friend Arie Irawan is proud of me right now,” said Hie during his winner’s press conference. “I shared a room with him a couple of times before. We were always working on our swings and always trying to be the best that we can. We always look for every possible way to improve.”
“Unfortunately, he passed away earlier this year at a young age of 28. I still couldn’t believe what happened but I am sure he’s watching me from above and is very proud of me. I want to dedicate this win to Arie Irawan,” Hie added.
Hie notched his first ever top-10 finish on the Asian Tour when he last visited the Classic Golf and Country Club 10 years ago. Little did he expect to win his first Asian Tour title in his return to the same venue last week, with the same local caddy on his bag.
“I actually dreamt about this winning moment years ago. I dreamt about walking down the 18th hole with a two or three shot lead. I can’t believe it happened. It’s pretty amazing that my caddy still remembers me.
“India’s one of my favourite places to go. I love the food and my roommate was laughing at me because I ordered the same food (chicken tandoori and garlic naan) for five nights in-a-row,” said Hie, who propelled to 37th place on the Order of Merit following his victory.
Reflecting on his week’s performance, Hie thought: “After that eight-under on the first day, I was on a roll. I was in the zone. I haven’t felt that in the longest time. I was trying to get that same feeling every day. I knew I can’t think about winning but it’s so hard. Now that I’ve won, it’s amazing. It’s a dream come true.”
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond continues to lead the money list with a current haul of US$761,613 while Australia’s Scott Hend trails by over US$230,000 in second place. Japan’s Yosuke Asaji sits in third with US$285,181.
The Asian Tour returns to Korea this week for the 35th Shinhan Donghae Open, which will be tri-sanctioned for the first time by the Asian Tour, Korean PGA and the Japan Golf Tour. It will be held once again at the Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club in Incheon from September 19 to 22.