15 September 2019: Rory Hie became the first Indonesian to win on the Asian Tour after he carded a flawless four-under-par 68 to win the inaugural Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship by two shots on Sunday.
Hie, who has never lost the lead since the first round, was determined to seal his maiden win and demonstrated that resolve with an opening birdie on the first hole.
Despite playing under intense pressure from the chasing pack, the 31-year-old maintained his composure by marking his card with 11 straight pars before a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th hole confirmed his place in the winner’s circle.
Hie paid an emotional tribute to the late Arie Irwan, who passed away in April as he knew his close friend was watching over him when he signed off with a winning total of 21-under-par 267 at the Classic Golf and Country Club.
Korea’s Byungjun Kim tried to surmount a charge, going even a shot clear of Hie after making his fourth birdie of the day on the par-four 12th.
However, that birdie would be the last he was able to make as he closed out his last six holes with straight pars to finish in a share of second place with India’s Rashid Khan on 269 total.
Did you know?
- Rory Hie is the first Indonesian to win a title on the Asian Tour, and he did so in sterling fashion by winning wire-to-wire.
- The 31-year-old Hie’s previous best Asian Tour finish came in the 2017 TAKE Solutions Masters in Bangalore where he finished tied-fourth.
- His best finish in 2019 had been a tied-fifth at the OB Golf Invitational on the Asian Development Tour (ADT). He was poised for a top-10 finish at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open two weeks ago being tied-fourth after 54 holes, but a final round 74 dropped Hie to tied-22nd.
- After earning First Team All American golf honors at Cerritos High in California, Hie played college golf as a freshman and sophomore at University of Southern California 2006-2008 before turning pro in 2009.
- Hie was ranked as high as sixth as an amateur before he turned professional.
- In his four Asian Tour events played in 2019, Byungjun Kim’s best result has been a tied-33rd at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open.
- The Korean is currently playing on a Country Exemption spot and has limited access to events on the schedule.
- The 37-year-old Kim has had eight career top-10 finishes on the Korean PGA Tour (KPGA), including a win at the Daishin Securities KPGA Championship in 2011.
- This top-five finish will give Kim an exemption into next month’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters, an event he otherwise would not be able to play.
- Having lost his card in 2018, this tied-second place finish has secured Rashid Khan’s Asian Tour playing rights for the 2020 season.
- Rashid Khan won twice on the Asian Tour in 2014, the Chiangmai Golf Classic and the SAIL-SBI Open, on his way to a career best 11th on the Order of Merit with US$243,600 in earnings.
- Between 2013-2017 Khan never finished lower than 42nd on the Order of Merit and has career earnings of almost US$860,000.
Rory Hie (Ina) Fourth round 68 (-4) Total 267 (-21)
Oh my god, I’m finally an Asian Tour champion. There is a lot of great players that didn’t, or haven’t won yet and I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I’m just so glad that it happened. And you know I just putted like a champion today, I think that’s what made the difference. Coming down the stretch today I pretty much almost made every putt. Without Lawrie’s (Indonesia’s National Golf coach) help there is no way I can pull this off, there is absolutely no way. I was so nervous coming into today I was just shaking, even on the driving range. But somehow I re-focused and actually after I made the birdie on 15 I knew I had a two shot lead, and I found it really hard to control my emotions at that point. I knew that all I had to do was pretty much par in. And you know I made a really great save on 17 that gave me that two shot cushion, so it was unbelievable. I want to dedicate this win to Arie Irawan who passed away, I felt like we went though all the same struggles as a pro, and you know unfortunately he never made it. I’m sure he’s proud of me right now, we were really good friends.
Byungjun Kim (Kor) Fourth round 67 (-5) Total 269 (-19)
I was playing really well until the 12 hole. I thought I had a good chance for the win and was putting the pressure on Rory. But from the 12th hole, I just could find my putting touch. The birdie putts just wouldn’t drop and when you don’t make birdies at that stage, it’s going to be tough. I put up a good fight but hats off to Rory who fought really hard for his win.
Rashid Khan (Ind) Fourth round 69 (-3) Total 269 (-19)
Today was a little up and down for me. I couldn’t find the fairways in the start at the front-nine and missed a lot of greens. In the back nine, what I thought didn’t work out. Just had 2 birdies and a bogey. I was there in the game when I made that birdie on the 14th and was just one shot back, but a wrong decision on the 16th where I was a little confused on which club to use from the tee and found myself in a really bad position. That was a little disappointing to make a bogey in the last 4 holes when you are just one back. Somewhere on the golf course I think I went against myself. My game is to attack the flag and I went a little safe today. Maybe it was because I was not able to find the fairways and from the rough it is really tough to control the ball. The way I started and I hit the ball today, I don’t think I should have shot under par but I still managed to do that. So I’m happy I played this week. It’s just that I have to practice a little, get confident when I’m hitting a shot and I’ll be fine and the big one will come.
Leading scores after round 4 of the Classic GCC International Championship being played at the par 72, 7114 Yards Classic Golf and Country Club course (am – denotes amateur):
267 – Rory Hie (INA) 64-68-67-68.
269 – Byungjun Kim (KOR) 69-66-67-67, Rashid Khan (IND) 68-66-66-69.
270 – Aadil Bedi (IND) 67-68-69-66.
272 – Aman Raj (IND) 67-67-72-66, Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 66-72-68-66, Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 70-72-63-67, Abhijit Chadha (IND) 68-65-68-71.
273 – Masahiro Kawamura (JPN) 70-67-70-66.
274 – Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 66-69-74-65, Mathiam Keyser (RSA) 70-68-68-68.
275 – Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 69-65-70-71.
276 – Pawin Ingkhapradit (THA) 72-66-73-65, Settee Prakongvech (THA) 72-71-67-66, Veer Ahlawat (IND) 71-67-72-66, Karan Pratap Singh (IND) 72-71-66-67.
277 – Kshitij Naveed Kaul (IND) 69-70-71-67, Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 72-66-71-68, Shivendra Singh Sisodia (IND) 71-70-68-68, Viraj Madappa (IND) 69-71-68-69.
278 – Travis Smyth (AUS) 72-67-72-67, Sattaya Supupramai (THA) 66-74-72-66, Sachin Baisoya (IND) 73-70-69-66, S. Chikkarangappa (IND) 70-67-71-70, Daniel Fox (AUS) 68-70-70-70, Abhinav Lohan (IND) 69-68-70-71.
Asian Tour Release