11 October 2017

Indonesia Thrashes Malaysia

Players from the Indonesian Golf Tour and Professional Golf of Malaysia met again for the second edition of the IGT-PGM Championship. The event took place on September 5-7 at Riverside Golf Club, Cimanggis, Bogor, with a Ryder Cup-Style match play format to increase the excitement for spectators and players alike. The tournament is prestigious for the two neighboring countries: Indonesia and Malaysia, who are always competing to be the best in any given sport.

With the appointment of Jubilant "Teddy" Arda as the Indonesian Captain, came the prediction that Indonesia had a good shot at winning the event. He prepared the team, choosing 12 players in total; eight from the IGT Order of Merit and four through his own personal selection process. As the host, Indonesia’s team had an advantage over Malaysia who claimed the trophy last year. After choosing the best eight players from the IGT Order of Merit, Jubilant picked four players who fit with his strategy. 

Meanwhile, news came from Malaysia that their four top players on the PGM Order of Merit - Nicholas Fung, Gavin Green, Danny Chia, and Ben Leong - weren’t able to join the team because they had to focus on securing their Asian Tour cards. Was it good news for the Indonesia team? It was too early to say whether Indonesia would benefit from the situation, the result would be determined on the course. 

The battleground for the IDR600 million event would be Riverside Golf Club. The course, which was designed by Australian golf legend Greg Norman, was carefully selected by Indonesia’s Team Captain as part of his strategy. Hopefully, it would play to the strengths of his team and help them to put up a resistance against the visitors.

Monday, September 4, the two teams arrived at the course to prepare and practice. Ready for a showdown, the IGT-PGM Championship began….

Tuesday Morning Foursomes

Foursomes was the opening format for the three-day event. Indonesia’s duo, Danny Masrin and Elki Kow, faced Malaysia's Khor Kheng Hwai and M. Sasidaran, opening the morning’s play. The second match presented Ian Andrew and Joshua Andrew Wirawan against Airil Rizman and Wafiyuddin Abd. Manaf, then Adrian Halimi and Rinaldi Adiyandono challenged Malaysian pair Amir Nazrin and Shahriffudin Arifin. Duet George Gandranata and Fajar Winnuryanto were the last match to go out in the morning, they faced R. Nachimuthu and Sukree Othman.

Clement Kurniawan, Rory Hie, Benyta Kasiadi and Indra Hermawan sat out the morning session for Indonesia, while Kemarol Baharin, Kenneth Tobuse, Irfan Yusoff, and Kim Leun Hwang from the Malaysian team were sidelined.

The morning session of the IGT-PGM Championship was a promising start for Indonesia. The four teams made a clean sweep, beating Malaysia 4-0. 

Indonesia got their first point from duo George and Fajar. They ran over their Malaysian opponents 5&4. Then followed the two Andrews, Joshua and Ian, who toppled Airil and Wafiyuddin, 3&2. The other two Indonesian pairs were forced to work hard to defeat their respective opponents, both only managing to ensure the victory after completing the final hole.

“We faced an opponent who played pretty well today. We've played very well but the opponents are also giving us a fierce fight,” said Adrian. 

The event continued with afternoon four-balls teeing off from 2 o’clock. One and half hours later, play was suspended due to bad weather. The first match, between Indonesian’s Rory Hie and Clement Erio against Khor Kheng Hwai and Kim Leun Hwang, was suspended when they were on 8th, while the last match of Danny and Benyta Kasiadi against Kemarol Baharin and Irfan Yusoff, were on the 5th. 

With no improvement in the weather, the organizers decided the session would have to resume the following morning before the next matches.

Day 2
Wednesday Morning Foursomes

Team Malaysia earned one out of four possible points from the Tuesday afternoon four-balls, they were left behind by the Indonesian team on 7-1 entering the Wednesday morning foursomes. The only point which Indonesia failed to claim went to Khor Kheng Hwai and Kim Leun Hwang who defeated host players Rory and Clement 3&2. 

The Wednesday morning foursomes teed off at 9 am. Indonesia decided to rely on their undefeated formation from the Tuesday morning foursomes to hopefully continue their domination in the second foursome session. 

Contrastingly, the Malaysian team overhauled the formation of all their pairs. These changes seemed to have a positive impact on the Malaysian team. Two Indonesian pairs - Fajar and George and Ian and Joshua - were forced to recognize the superiority of their opponents. Sasidaran and Kenneth Tobuse set the tone by beating Fajar and George 3&1, while Sukree and Kemarol Baharin defeated Ian and Joshua 3&2. 

"We did not play badly. But our opponents were very good indeed. They complemented each other. One player had advantages in shots to the green, while the other was good at putting," said Joshua. 

Despite the defeats, Indonesia still led by a good margin of 9-3 after three games. Due to darkness, the afternoon four-balls had to be suspended once again. The matches would resume on Thursday morning, and the day would then continue with 12 singles matches. 

The host team needed just 4 1/2 points to secure their first international team championship victory. 

Day 3
Thursday Singles Matches

Indonesia and Malaysia both started their days by adding two points from the Wednesday afternoon four-balls. The host team secured theirs with a victory by Rory and Clement who rolled over Sukree and Sariffudin Ariffin 6&4, while Elki and Rinaldi beat Airil and Sasidaran 3&1. The score stood at 11-5 for Indonesia. 

The singles matches, which were initially set to comprise 12 players from each country, presented 11 matches after Indonesian’s Indra Hermawan had to withdraw due to back pain. Both teams were awarded half a point which meant Indonesia only needed three points from a total of 11 points available to win the trophy. 

Adrian opened the Thursday singles matches against Nazrin, while Benyta was the final player to go out, facing Wafiyuddin. 

Both team captains continually monitored the singles matches with tense feelings. Good news came for Indonesia on the 16th hole where Adrian defeated Nazrin 3&2. Fifteen minutes later, on the 15th, Rinaldi put a stop to Shariffudin’s ambition to continue the match, beating him 4&3. 

Benyta extinguished Malaysia’s last hopes of retaining the trophy. The 30-year-old player beat Wafiyuddin 5&4 on the 14th and ensured victory for Indonesia, 14 1/2. With this success, the Indonesian team received prize money of IDR390 million out of the total purse of IDR600 million.

The triumph of the Indonesian team was down to a great strategy by team captain Jubilant which underpinned the team’s efforts. A former national golf athlete himself, Jubilant managed to organize his players into lethal combinations that proved hard to beat in the team categories.

"The victory in this tournament was predictable. We knew we had advantages in the team categories. I set nine points for the team categories (foursome and four-ball). However, we took 11 points. It just made our effort easier. Probability for the singles matches was the same. That's why I set out to gain more points in the team category," said Jubilant, divulging the secret of his team's success.

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