Wed, 02 Jul 2003

Song takes early lead in ASEAN junior golf c'ship

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The host youngsters surged into the lead as the Ninth Damai Indah-Panin Bank ASEAN Junior Golf Championship 2003 teed off on Tuesday at the Damai Indah Golf Course and Country Club in Tangerang, Banten, with 150 players competing in the four-day, stroke-play tournament.

Michael Song from Jakarta's Aspirasi Club, competing in the A Division for golfers aged between 15 and 17, carded a 4-under-par 68 to shoot into the lead after the end of the first day.

He went out with a 35 with one bogey and two fine birdies on the fourth and eighth holes. He shot another three birdies on his way back to the clubhouse for a 33, putting Song in the lead ahead of a pack of young guns.

Three shots behind the leader was Amin Sarems of the Jakarta Golf and Country Club (JGCC) at 71 (35 36). Two strokes further adrift was Julius Caesar, who fired a 73 (36 37).

In the B Division for players between the ages of 13 and 14 a South Korean teenager playing for JGCC Jeong Chan-young took the first-round lead with a two-under-par 70 (35 35). He shot a birdie on the seventh and another on the 12th, firing pars on the rest of the holes.

The annual tournament, initiated in 1993 by Ciputra, a leading real estate businessman, was originally only for local players. The tournament did not take place in 1994 and 1999, and since last year the competition has been opened to athletes for ASEAN member countries. The field is limited to 150 golfers divided into five divisions.

The youngsters' skills are being tested on a challenging course designed by Jack Nicklaus.