Indonesia’s Rory finds Asian Tour high at last

Updated on Sep 15, 2019 09:08 PM IST

“Today was the toughest day and I could not afford to think of winning,” said Rory Hie

Indonesian golfer Rory Hie(Twitter)
Indonesian golfer Rory Hie(Twitter)
Mewat (Haryana) | By

Rory Hie was nowhere close to ending his run in the wilderness when he dreamt one night of walking the 18th green after a dream tee shot for his first professional victory. The wish came true five years later, on Sunday, as he became the first Indonesian to win on the Asian Tour.

More than his career’s biggest pay cheque of $54,000 and the wire-to-wire win at the Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship, the essence of the day was a man who had ploughed on in the belief that his time would come.

There were moments of weakness as well. Since turning professional, the 31-year-old admitted he felt “past the expiry date”, especially after being “counted out by people” on occasions he had lost count of. After all, the promise he held out as the world’s No 6 amateur when he turned pro in 2009 had remained unfulfilled. Rory was here that year when Chapchai Nirat won the SAIL Open with a world record score of 32-under 256. Then to now, the course had matured but Rory, at the start of the week, was still searching for his moment under the sun.

The mindset was too defensive after making cut just twice on the Asian Tour last season. “I played well in the practice round here and told myself it would be good if I could make cut.” As if ordained, a few factors combined to shape Rory’s win. After signing up for an in-house caddy, he was spotted by Lakhan, who had carried his bag in 2009 and helped post his best finish, ninth, in the rookie season. The golf course too suited him this time. From little or no rough that allowed players to bomb it off the tee box, being able to work his way on the course suited his style of play.

Starting the day with a one-shot lead and making birdie on the first hole, Rory remained wary. “Today was the toughest day and I could not afford to think of winning.” Playing with a strapped right wrist in the aftermath of a ligament injury suffered a few months back, he kept at what had worked this week, living in the present. Only after the birdie spree from the 13th to 15th did he relax somewhat, and once the par putt on the 18th went in, the arms went up.

“Bring it on,” he said as a couple of friends on tour soaked him with water. His dream had come true, and amid the high, Rory dedicated the moment he had waited for so long to close friend Arie Irawan, a Malaysian pro, who passed away in April.

Final scores (top four)

267: Rory Hie (64, 68, 67, 68)

269: Byung-jun Kim (69, 66, 67, 67); Rashid Khan (68, 66, 66, 69)

270: Aadil Bedi (67, 68, 69, 66)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Robin Bose has more than two decades of experience as a sports reporter. He specialises in writing on golf.

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