Japan’s Naoki Sekito set a new course record at the Gunung Geulis Golf and Country Club after opening his campaign with a spectacular eight-under-par 62 at the Gunung Geulis Golf Invitational supported by Nomura on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Sekito, who leads the current Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit, returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by eight birdies to grab a three-shot lead in the inaugural US$75,000 event.
Sekito, playing in his second year on the ADT, is enjoying a superb season so far with one victory and three runner-up finishes in just six starts on the region’s secondary circuit.
“I didn’t miss a single green today,” said Sekito. “I played my irons well and I hit some good drives to give myself good chances out there. I haven’t been putting well the last few weeks, so I was feeling a little nervous when I started out from the first hole today.”
“I had a six-iron off the tee but it went into the bunker. I then hit a pitching wedge to around five feet and made the birdie putt. That gave me quite a bit of confidence heading into the round.
“It feels good to be leading the Order of Merit. I know there are a lot of good players out there but I will definitely do my best to challenge for the Merit title,” added the young Japanese, who took over the Merit lead following his tied-second place finish in Malaysia last month.
George Gandranata, who holds the honour of being the first Indonesian to win on the ADT in 2016, signed for a 65 to sit in second place alongside Japan’s Shinichi Mizuno and Poom Pattaropong of Thailand.
Reigning ADT Order of Merit champion Miguel Carballo of Argentina came in a further shot back to share fifth place with Singapore’s Jesse Yap, Thailand’s Tawit Polthai and Malaysian amateur Galven Green.
Gandranata, who enjoyed a fourth-place finish when he played an ADT event on the same course last year, said: “I got off to a bad start from the 10th but I told myself to stay composed and I kept grinding out there. The birdie on 12th calmed me down a bit and I was able to focus better from there.
“It was nice to eagle the seventh hole. I’ve been hitting fades during my practice rounds but today, I decided to play aggressive on that hole. I drove it to about 200 yards from the pin and hit a nice draw to like nine feet before making that downhill putt,” added Gandranata, who marked his card with an eagle and five birdies against two bogeys.
Green, one of the six amateurs in the field this week, was delighted to get off to a commendable start with his father on the bag and his mother and older brother Gavin supporting him from outside the ropes.
“I played solid. I managed to keep the ball in play and I made some putts out there. I made a nice eagle on the par-five seventh. I hit a good drive to about 130m from the pin and then hit it to about 15 feet before making the eagle putt.
“It’s good support from my family out there. I’m happy to get off to a good start. The greens are really tricky here. You need to miss it in the right places to have a chance to score out there,” said the 19-year-old Green.
The Gunung Geulis Golf Invitational supported by Nomura is the Tour’s second stop in Indonesia this season and the Gunung Geulis Golf and Country Club is hosting an ADT event for the third time since it first opened in 1992.
The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season and the winner of the Gunung Geulis Golf Invitational will take home a prize purse of US$13,125.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading round one scores:
62 – Naoki Sekito
65 – George Gandranata , Shinichi Mizuno , Poom Pattaropong
66 – Miguel Carballo , Galven Green , Jesse Yap , Tawit Polthai
67 – Pawin Ingkhapradit , Aman Raj , Shae Wools-Cobb , Justin Quiban
68 – Chanat Sakulpolphaisan , Hyukchul Shin , Koh Deng Shan , Amir Nazrin , Pannakorn Uthaipas
69 – Sorachut Hansapiban , Samarth Dwivedi , Matt Killen , Kwanchai Tannin , Suradit Yongcharoenchai , Chonlatit Chuenboonngam , Roby Sugara , Nitithorn Thippong , Rory Hie , Peradol Panyathanasedh , Settee Prakongvech , Sajawat Sriprasit
70 – Leunkwang Kim , Andrew Martin , Kosuke Hamamoto , Junghan Kim , Chanachok Dejpiratanamongkol , Suttijet Kooratanapisan , Nirun Sae-Ueng , Atiruj Winaicharoenchai , Sam Lee , Panuwat Muenlek
For full results, please click here.