KIWI PRO WATCH: PADDISON SOARS WITH EAGLES IN JAKARTA

28/03/2014

 

Wellington professional Gareth Paddison bagged two eagles on his way to a brilliant eight-under par 64 to grab the lead after the opening round of the Indonesia PGA Championship.

 

 

The left hander could have gone even lower if not for a bogey on his last hole - the ninth - but he holds a one-stroke lead over Australian David McKenzie and the Japanese pair of Kunihiro Kamii and Michio Matsumura.

The US $1 million tournament at Damai Indah Golf’s Jack Nicklaus designed Bumi Serpong Damai course is the season opener for both OneAsia and the Japan Tour, with the winner taking home $180,000.

Paddison has already shown some form this year having won on the PGA Tour of Australasia, but he was nevertheless surprised with his first-round effort.

“It was a bit out of left field, actually. I didn’t expect that of myself,” the 33-year-old said. ”I putted exceptionally well, played really steady really, and all of a sudden you’re standing on the last hole at nine under. It was a pity about that last one.”

Paddison eagled the par-five fifth and 18th in similar fashion, hitting driver and four iron to the green before draining putts of 20 and 35 feet respectively.

The Kiwi has been a professional for 12 years but has never won a tournament of this stature and is keen to take his game to the next level.

“I think I have made really big improvements recently thanks to a lot of work with my coach Dennis McDade,” he said. “I really want to step it up this year. I want big things to happen.”

McKenzie was also pleased with his effort on his first serious outing of the year following a bout of tendinitis.

“I played in the pro-am and didn’t think these sorts of scores were out there, but while the greens are very tricky, if you get it in the right place you can leave yourself with some make-able putts,” he said.

Kamii is also looking for his first win on a top-tier tour and could have had a share of the lead if not for a costly bogey on the relatively easy par-five 18th after putting his tee shot in the water.

“I am a bit angry about that,” said the 32-year-old from Osaka, “but I am still happy with my round.”

Several OneAsia champions kept themselves well in the hunt with excellent first rounds including Michael Hendry (67), four-time winner Liang Wenchong (67), and 2012 Order of Merit winner Kim Bi-o (68) - who triple-bogeyed the eighth - and Matthew Griffin (68).

 

 

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