Jakarta, Indonesia (February 20): Jonathan Wijono’s purple patch continued with a thrilling extra-time victory in the 10th anniversary edition of the Faldo Series Indonesia Championship.
Maintaining his rich vein of recent form, the 16-year-old prevailed at the second hole of a sudden-death play-off against Naraadjie Emerald Ramadhan.
In a magnificent, high-quality duel, the duo had traded blow-for-blow throughout the 54 holes of regulation play in the 21st and final leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
With birdies flowing, both ended the three-round event on 20-under-par 196 at Damai Indah Golf’s BSD Course in West Java – no fewer than nine strokes clear of their closest challenger.
Two shots ahead of Ramadhan heading into the final round after posting scores of 64 and 67, Wijono hardly put a foot wrong as he signed for a closing 65.
But Ramadhan refused to concede defeat, staging a brilliant late charge that saw him post a nine-under-par 63, the lowest round of the week. In the play-off, though, it was Wijono who emerged triumphant to continue an astonishing run of almost unbroken success in the past six months.
During that period, Wijono has claimed victories in the Indonesia National Games, the Indonesia Amateur Open, the Mizuno – Laguna National Junior Championship in Singapore as well as last month’s Indonesia National Junior Championship. Furthermore, he had the distinction of being the only Indonesian to make the cut at the 2016 Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Korea.
Thanks to his Damai Indah success he will cement his position as the leading Indonesian in The R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking and will likely break into the top-500 for the first time.
Wijono, a member of the Taman Dayu Golf Club & Resort in Surabaya, can also now look forward to a trip to Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam for next month’s 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by tournament founder Sir Nick Faldo.
Also representing Indonesia there will be M. Seandy Alfarabi, Almay Rayhan, Michela Tjan and Patricia Walanda Sinolungan.
For the second year in succession, Alfarabi topped the standings in the Boys’ Under-21 division while Rayhan bettered par in all three rounds at Damai Indah to claim first place in the Boys’ Under-18 category.
Tjan proved too good for her rivals in the Girls’ Under-21 section and Sinolungan fired a final-round 70 to overturn a two-stroke deficit and eke out a one-stroke success in the Girls’ Under-16 segment.
Six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Throughout the season the standard of play in the Faldo Series has been exceptional. I expected more good scoring in Indonesia ... but not quite as good as that!
“Congratulations to both Jonathan and Naraadjie on their outstanding performances. What a fitting finale to the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign.”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships have been staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.
Faldo Series Indonesia Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21:
212 – M. Seandy Alfarabi (73-73-66).
253 – Thariq Amanillah K. Swantry (77-91-85).
205 – Almay Rayhan (67-67-71).
209 – Kevin Caesario Akbar (71-74-64).
196 – Jonathan Wijono (64-67-65);
196 – Naraadjie Emerald Ramadhan (67-66-63).
216 – Michela Tjan (72-76-68).
222 – Rivani Adelia Sihotang (78-74-70).
217 – Patricia Walanda Sinolungan (72-75-70).
218 – Ribka Vania Hie (76-70-72).