It’s back to the future for Rory Hie Indonesian On 17-Under; Rashid Just A Step Behind
Mewat (Haryana): Rory Hie is still on a high but with only a stroke separating the Indonesian and a focused Rashid Khan, the only former Asian Tour winner in the top-10, reading the cards is a difficult task.
Making the final day proceedings even more exciting is the addition of Abhijit Chadha in the equation. The Chandigarh golfer made a flying start, going 3-under after four holes, and matching Hie but a few unlucky lip-outs and a four-under 68 ensured he would start the fourth round two strokes adrift of the leader at 17-under.
The man from Jakarta - call him a Californian too - moved to the US when he was nine and emerged sixth in the world amateur rankings, but the
transition to pro golf has not been smooth.
Still winless on the Asian Tour, it has been back to the future for Rory this week as he notched up a five-under 67 on Day 3 of the $300,000 Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship.
In constant touch with his mental coach Lawrie Montague, the 31-year-old took his suggestion of approaching and simplifying the game the way he played as an amateur. “As a junior, I always had a positive attitude towards every putt, whether it was a par or birdie. I didn’t think about my swing, I was really happy just to play. So this has been an enjoyable week for me because I’ve managed to put my thoughts into practice.”
Another bolt from the past was the local caddie who carried his bag in the 2009 SAIL Open, the last Asian Tour event to be played on this course. “He searched my name on the list and approached me again.”
It was a year after Hie had turned pro. He finished ninth with a score of 17-under as he saw Chapchai Nirat chalking up a world record of 32-under.
The strapped right wrist spoke of a torn ligament injury four months ago but he has been playing without pain. “The bandage is a necessity but it doesn’t trouble me.” Playing on this course has been pure pleasure, meanwhile. “I grew up in the US and a lot of courses are wide open like this Jack Nicklaus one, and even though there is still some rough I feel I can manage my game around with the course set up this way.”
Rashid shrugged off his only bad hole in three days after dropping a bogey on the 11th, his first after 46 holes. “It was a misjudgment of where the flag would be placed.”
His slow start also didn’t bother him, knowing there were plenty of opportunities on the back nine. “Yesterday I was 4-under after seven, today I was one, but I knew I had kept it close on the return journey in R2 so I thought if I capitalised on the chances, I would be in a good position.”
He was right. Birdies on the12th,15th,16th and18th took him to six-under 66 and set him up for his third Asian Tour triumph. “That was like five years ago. I have to restart. To win a tournament, you have to be there first so that’s my plan. We will see on the last nine holes.”
The course has been a mixed bag for the 28-year-old who had won a domestic tournament here in 2013 but missed the cut at the PGTI Players championship earlier this year. Rashid was not looking back, or forward.
199 - Rory Hie (INA) 64-68-67. 200 - Rashid Khan (IND) 68-66-66. 201- Abhijit Chadha (IND) 68-65-68. 202 - Byungjun Kim (KOR) 69-66-67. 204 - Aadil Bedi (IND) 67-68-69, Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 69-65-70. Hyderabad: Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun, who is credited with helping PV Sindhu raise her game, has left for New Zealand due to a medical emergency. Kim was forced to leave in a hurry in order to tend to her husband, who is facing a medical issue that may take long time to heal.
When TOI contacted Kim on Saturday to enquire about her husband’s health and to ask about her likely return, the coach said: “At this moment, I am not 100% sure.”
Pullela Gopichand, chief coach of the Indian team, hoped that the coach would join them soon. "She left on a medical emergency. We stand by her during these tough times. I am hoping that things would settle down soon and she would be back with us," Gopi said.
In Kim’s absence, Gopichand will accompany the Indian team to the China Open BWF Super 1000 tournament.