Harding exhibits brilliant all-round game to win the Bank BRI Indonesia Open
Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14: Justin Harding of South Africa put an exclamation point on the closely contested final day, as he carded a one-under-par 71 to win his maiden Asian Tour title at the US$500,000 Bank BRI Indonesia Open on Sunday.
The 32-year-old, who missed only three greens-in-regulation before the final round, uncharacteristically dropped two shots on holes seven and eight. However, he bounced back when it mattered with two birdies before emerging victorious with an 18-under-par 270 total at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.
Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent transferred the pressure to Harding early in the round after firing three consecutive birdies on the second, third and fourth hole. But he lost the advantage after dropping three shots at the sixth, ninth and 10th. He eventually ended the week in second place, his fifth top-10 finish this year.
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat and United States’ Sihwan Kim shared third place after carding 68 and 69 respectively. Gaganjeet Bhullar of India is one shot behind the duo, in lone fifth place.
Johannes Veerman (66), who led the tournament after the opening round, ended his tournament with a flourish. He grabbed a share of sixth place, along with India’s Udayan Mane and Thailand’s Natipong Srithong.
Harding will be taking up Asian Tour membership after his win at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open. The current Sunshine Tour Order of Merit leader was playing in the tournament on an invite.
Justin Harding said: “It was a hard day today. Perhaps it was a case of nerves, but I was playing for a Tour card and there was a lot of money of the line. I started well and I thought that I can birdie the sixth then I had two bogeys out of nowhere. My last bogey was at the second hole in the first round! I tried to stay patient and keep the momentum going. I aim to hit the greens and statistically, you are bound to make one or two. I made one on the 12th, and that got me going. I was annoyed not to make another one on 14.
I’m a leaderboard watcher as I like to know what’s going on. That makes a difference to how I play. The 16th is a tough hole; I played conservatively there the whole week. Today, I hit it inside 10 or 15 feet. I rolled it in, which was crucial as it gave me a one-shot lead.
I hit a good shot at the 18th. I was planning to lag it down there to two inches and tap it in, but I didn’t mean it put it four feet past the hole!
I’m thrilled with the victory. I came here not knowing what to expect. I’ve been playing nicely the whole year. I like the golf course and it was set up quite nicely for me. You can’t get too aggressive on it. Manage distances and make some putts here and there. I didn’t expect to win, and it was to have done so.
I knew that Scott (Vincent) will come out firing. I thought that I have to finish close to 20-under to have a chance. His time will surely come. If you finish ahead of Scott, then you are going to have a good week. We had a good day out there and I’ve had a good week in Indonesia.
(About accepting membership for the Asian Tour) I’m glad to have avoided Q-School! I’m looking forward to playing on Tour, but I’ll have to look at the schedule and shift some things around. I’m just happy to get an opportunity from the Asian Tour to play here and I’m glad it all worked out fine.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who finished fifth, said, “It was a solid round of golf. I made a few good birdies. Most of them were tricky putts. I was looking at the leaderboard and with that, I kept motivating to get up there. I kept on going. But I still assessed the situation hole-by-hole. For the final few holes, I was particularly aggressive because I was hitting the ball well.
“My swing is on the way to being fixed. I see plenty of progressions and the goal is to be really consistent and get to my peak really soon. I’m working really hard to get my ninth Asian Tour title.”
India’s Udayan Mane carded a two-under par 70 to finish tied sixth: “A top-five finish is always great, but I’m not happy about what happened during the middle of the round. The wind affected my play on the eighth. On the ninth, I put myself in a decent position but I three-putted. At the 10th, I hit a good drive down the fairway. Had 120 yards in but I was so upset with my bogeys I skipped my thought process and three-putted. But at 11th, I recovered from a snap hook off the tee with a par. That got my round going.”
Did you know?
- Justin Harding missed only three fairways in his the first three rounds.
- At 90 per cent (65/72), he is ranked first in greens-in-regulation at the tournament.
- Before his consecutive bogeys on the final round, he last dropped a shot in round one, on the second hole.
- Harding turned professional in 2010.
- He has a total of seven victories on the Sunshine Tour.
- Scott Vincent posted two top-10 finishes in his rookie year. He was tied-ninth at the 2016 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open and tied-second at the 2016 Shinhan Donghae Open.
- Vincent came into the Bank BRI Indonesia Open on the back of two top-10 finishes. He was tied-sixth at the Queen’s Cup and tied-seventh at the Sarawak Championship.
- He graduated from Virginia Tech University with a finance degree.
- Sihwan Kim finished ninth on the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2013.
- After the Queen’s Cup, he rose to 211st on the Official World Golf Ranking list, the highest achieved so far in his professional career.
- Gaganjeet Bhullar won both his Indonesia Open titles in 2013 and 2016 by three shots.
- Udayan Mane has won on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) this season, at the Golconda Masters 2018.
- Johannes Veerman is the 2016 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit champion.
- At one point of the final round, only three shots separated the top nine golfers.
- This was the first time in three years the officials did not have to suspend the play due to bad weather.
Scores after round 4 of the Bank BRI Indonesia Open 2018 being played at the par 72, 7243 Yards Pondok Indah GC course (am – denotes amateur):
270 – Justin HARDING (RSA) 67-66-66-71.
271 – Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 69-66-66-70.
272 – Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 69-67-68-68, Sihwan KIM (USA) 69-67-67-69.
273 – Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 69-67-69-68.
274 – Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 66-72-70-66, Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 68-65-73-68, Udayan MANE (IND) 67-68-69-70.
275 – Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 70-65-74-66, Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS) 68-71-68-68.
276 – Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 68-72-67-69, Matthew MILLAR (AUS) 66-68-70-72.
277 – Steven JEFFRESS (AUS) 72-70-68-67, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 67-68-71-71, Angelo QUE (PHI) 69-68-67-73.