Monday, March 28, 2011

Australian’s Stolz wins, local hero Rory finishes second

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Karawaci | Mon, 03/28/2011 1:50 AM
Surprise, surprise: Indonesian Rory Hie reacts during the final round of the Indonesia PGA Championship at Imperial Klub Golf in Karawaci, Tangerang, on Sunday. JP/matheos V. Messakh 
Surprise, surprise: Indonesian Rory Hie reacts during the final round of the Indonesia PGA Championship at Imperial Klub Golf in Karawaci, Tangerang, on Sunday. [Courtesy of OneAsia]

Australian Andre Stolz, who came out of retirement two years ago, recorded an emotional triumph in the Indonesia PGA Championship at Imperial Klub Golf at Karawaci on Sunday.

Indonesian Rory Hie carded a 72 to finish alone in second place one shot behind Stolz.

The 40-year-old Stolz fired a final round four-under-par 68 for a winning total of 14-under-par 274 to win US$180,000 in prize money while overnight leader Rory pocketed US$102,000, in his biggest take ever.

Rory, playing in the final pairing behind Stolz, birdied the last two holes and lost his chance of winning after bogeying the 10th, double bogeying the 11th and bogeying the 12th.

“I really thought this was going to be my week. I prepared so hard. I am proud of the way I finished the round and this final day has been a great learning experience,” said Rory, who claimed the International Championship at the Imperial in 2008 on the ASEAN PGA Tour just months after turning pro.

“It’s bittersweet. I gave my best to win but I think that’s all I have. It’s not my biggest win but it is the biggest check I have ever had,” Rory said.

“I’m very thankful for what my dad has done for me since I was young. I owe everything to my dad,” Rory said, referring to his father and caddy, Tommy Hie.

Rory played for the University of Southern California and at one point was ranked the sixth best amateur in the world, leaving after two years to turn pro.

Culture Tourism Minister Jero Wacik hailed Rory as a future golf champion.

“We are proud that the Indonesia PGA Championship has been a success and we are also proud that we had a player that finished as a runner-up. He is just 23-years-old so there is still a lot of time to go. This is just a delayed victory for him,” Jero said.

“Over the last three days, TV coverage has always mentioned Indonesia because Rory was among the leaders. This rarely happens at any international golf championship — and this one was under PGA sanction.”

“President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, when he heard that Rory was the leader [Saturday], expected that Rory would finished in at least the top 10 [Sunday], but fantastically this young man finished second,” Jero said.

Sweet come back: Australian Andre Stolz and his wife, who caddied for him, enjoy a celebratory embrace after the final round of the Indonesia PGA Championship at Imperial Klub Golf in Karawaci, Tangerang, on Sunday. JP/matheos V. MessakhSweet come back: Australian Andre Stolz and his wife, who caddied for him, enjoy a celebratory embrace after the final round of the Indonesia PGA Championship at Imperial Klub Golf in Karawaci, Tangerang, on Sunday. [Courtesy of OneAsia]

Stolz was one of his country’s finest players before a wrist problem had a profound effect on his career

He won titles at the US PGA Tour, the Nationwide Tour and the Japan Tour plus tasted victory four times on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

However, in 2005 a nagging wrist injury caused by wear and tear forced him into retirement for nearly three years. He gradually started to play again and rejoined the Tour in Australia in 2008.

New Zealander Gareth Paddison and Park Eun-shin from Korea finished one stroke further back in the OneAsia season-opening event.

Stolz won the Victorian PGA Championship in 2009 but his win this week, worth a cool US$180,000, emphatically announced his return to the top tier.

“A couple of years ago I thought I would never play again and now I am standing here with a trophy for a US$1million event. It will take some time to sink in,” Stolz, accompanied by his wife and caddy Cathy, said.

Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant finished fifth after shooting a 70. He thrilled the crowds by holing his second shot for an eagle on the 17th.

China’s Liang Wenchong, the reigning OneAsia Order of Merit champion, ended in a tie for 28th place after closing with a 76.

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