World golfers set to return to Indonesia for PGA championship
More than 150 golfers from 20 countries, including 2011 champion Andre Stolz of Australia, Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Simon Dyson of England, Daniel Chopra of Sweden and Shingo Katayama of Japan are expected to participate in the US$1 million event.
Local support will focus on Rory Hie, who finished runner-up in 2011.
The tournament, with the Jakarta administration as the main sponsor, is the second series scheduled for this year organized by OneAsia Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO), with Thailand hosting the opening series on March 14-17.
“We hope this tournament will help promote Jakarta as a tourism destination,” said deputy Jakarta governor for culture, art and tourism Sukesti Martono on Thursday.
He expected the event to be a challenging field for local golfers against their international, professional opponents.
“This championship helps raise the curtain on our 2013 season in spectacular fashion and we are extremely grateful to Enjoy Jakarta for their support,” said Sang Y Chun, OneAsia’s chairman and commissioner, in a press release.
“This is OneAsia’s fifth season and we have been thrilled with the incredible pace at which we are growing thanks to events like this and outstanding venues like Emeralda,” added Chun.
Hie, Indonesia’s top golfer, is looking forward to the tournament given he plays much of his golf at Emeralda.
“I think it’s fun to play at home because there will be a lot of support and it helps me focus when people pay attention to what I do,” Hie said.
“I have played well in the last couple of years in Indonesia, almost winning twice, and I hope to contend again this year. I’ll be preparing really hard for this event and hope to do well again.”
The event will be aired by a Japanese television channel for five hours a day during the competition, according to JGTO executive director Andy Yamanaka.
He said the tournament would be a great opportunity for Japanese golfers before they participated
in their own championship later this year.
“They will compete against the best players in the region,” Andy said.
The Indonesia PGA Championship was first held in 2011 in Karawaci, Tangerang, before being absent in 2012 due to a sponsorship problem.
In Singapore, Spain’s Azahara Munoz shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the HSBC Women’s Champions on Thursday, AP reported.
Munoz, playing in the first group of the day, made seven birdies in a error-free round to top the leaderboard that boasted a star-studded field at Sentosa Golf Club, including 17 of the top 20 players in the world.
Five players shared second place at 5-under 67: Stacy Lewis, Karin Sjodin, Lizette Salas, Pornanong Phatlum and Sun Young Yoo.
Paula Creamer was a stroke back at 4-under 68, despite struggling with a right shoulder injury sustained in a car accident in Thailand on Sunday.