Jakarta: Baby-faced Poom Saksansin of Thailand cruised to a comfortable five-shot victory when he closed with a five-under-par 67 to win his first Asian Tour title at the BNI Indonesian Masters presented by Zurich on Sunday.
The 23-year-old held a two-shot lead at the start of the day and stayed ahead of the chasing pack by shooting six birdies against one bogey to finish on 18-under-par 270 at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
Thai teenagers Phachara Khongwatmai (68) and Suradit Yongcharoenchai (68), both aged at 17 years old, and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura (70) settled for tied second place at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won his sixth Asian Tour title last week, enjoyed another solid result by finishing in fifth place following a round of 67. He ended his campaign six shots back from the champion.
Poom, who won his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in Malaysia last year, showed no signs of nerves when he made the turn in 34 before tightening his grip with three straight birdies on holes 10, 11 and 12.
Dropping only two shots in 72 holes, Poom played solid golf throughout the week and stayed calm under pressure when a host of players briefly threatened his lead early in the round.
“It feels great to be a champion. I just tried not to make bogeys today. Anything in the red numbers was good enough for me. Honestly, I was only hoping to make enough money to keep my Asian Tour card. This victory exceeded my expectations.
“I didn’t get into trouble in the first place so that’s why I only dropped two shots this week. My putting really saved me as well. My family will be very happy that I won, it also proves that I can play among the best players,” said Poom.
The victory earned him US$135,000 which moved him from 101st to 21st position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
“This win opens up so many doors and opportunities for me. I get to play in the big events now and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s still a lot of room for improvement for me and before I step up in the big events, I need to work even harder on my game,” added Poom.
Phachara, who secured his third top-five result in three weeks, got off to a fast start, holing four birdies in nine holes before making eight straight pars. He tapped in for birdie on the last to continue his superb form.
“I’m feeling very good but my putting on the back nine is very bad. I hit such good iron shots. I think I hit it near the pin on seven holes. I just couldn’t make my birdie putts until the last hole. I know Poom is playing very well and he is such a good player. I’m not surprised he won. I’m happy he won,” said Phachara.
The talented Suradit was delighted to finish inside the top-five in his debut appearance at the BNI Indonesian Masters as the result earned him a spot in the Venetian Macao Open on the Asian Tour next week.
“I was aiming for a top-five finish this week so I can play in Macao next week. I didn’t expect myself to play so well. Being the last man to get in to the tournament, I didn’t have any expectations. This is my first time playing on this course so I am happy with my result,” he said.
The 28-year-old Bhullar found 14 fairways and 18 greens in regulation but was let down by a cold putter where he negotiated the greens in 31 putts.
“A 62 was definitely out there. I’m pretty happy the way I played after winning last week. This course is one of my favourites on the Asian Tour. I’m glad that I was in contention during the week. There’s a lot of positives I can take out from the last two weeks,” said Bhullar.
Scores after round 4 of the BNI Indonesian Masters being played at the par 72, 7340 Yards Royale Jakarta GC course (am - denotes amateur):
270 - Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 69-69-65-67.
275 - Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 67-71-69-68, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 67-74-66-68, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 66-71-68-70.
276 - Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 66-73-70-67.
277 - Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 70-67-73-67, LEE Chieh-Po (TPE) 71-70-68-68.
278 - Casey O'TOOLE (USA) 69-69-73-67, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 69-67-70-72, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 68-69-69-72, Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) 68-68-69-73.
279 - Scott BARR (AUS) 72-70-70-67, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 71-71-71-66, CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 69-70-70-70, Dodge KEMMER (USA) 70-70-69-70, Keith HORNE (RSA) 70-72-67-70.
280 - Michael TRAN (VNM) 70-69-73-68, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 72-72-68-68, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 69-68-75-68, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 68-73-73-66, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 69-74-68-69, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 69-69-72-70, Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA) 66-75-68-71, LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 68-70-70-72, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 68-72-67-73.