Wednesday, 8 January 2014 | MYT 3:59 AM
Gandranata leads the scoreboard at the Jakarta Invitational
George Gandranata in a file picture. The Indonesian shot an opening five-under 66 to lead the inaugural Jakarta Invitational.
PETALING JAYA: Local talent George Gandranata set the stage alight when he shot an opening five-under 66 to lead the inaugural Jakarta Invitational.
Gandranata fired a flawless round highlighted by five birdies for a two-shot advantage over Japanese Mitsuhiko Hashizume and Australian Jack Munro, who signed for matching 68’s to tie on second place at the Jababeka Golf and Country Club.
England’s Grant Jackson, who is fighting to get into the top four on the ADT Order of Merit to earn his 2014 Asian Tour card, shot a 69 to share fourth place with Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert at the US$60,000 (RM200,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event, which is the season finale for the 2013 ADT schedule.
Local hopefuls Rory Hie, Andik Mauludin and IIyasyak were a further shot back to share sixth place with Man O Im of the United States, who fired a magical hole-in-one on the par-three sixth hole.
Gandranata, a regular on the ADT since turning professional in 2012, credited his growing experience for helping him shoot into the lead.
“I managed to hit a lot of greens. The course is quite long for me and it can be quite tough to make good judgments out there but I am glad I got help from a senior caddy. I’m sticking to the same plan for the next three days. Hopefully, I can score as well,” said the 27-year-old who is aiming for a maiden win on the ADT.
“Playing on the ADT has really helped my game. It has given me a lot of experience playing with the professionals out here. I think I will still play on the ADT even if I earn my Asian Tour card through the Qualifying School next month. The competition is really good here and it gives you the opportunity to hone your game,” added Gandranata.
With current number one Nicholas Fung of Malaysia having already secured his Asian Tour card through the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, the next best three players on the ADT rankings will be “promoted” after this week’s final tournament.