JAKARTA, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 07: Padraig Harrington of Ireland poses with the trophy after winning during round four of the Indonesia Open at Damai Indah Golf, Pantai Indah Kapuk Course on December 7, 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo by Khalid Redza/Asian Tour/Asian Tour via Getty Images)
It has been quite a while since I have written a winning report and I have to say that it feels great to be doing so again! I have been saying for the last few months now that things were good and that I was not far away from a big week, so it is nice to see it come before the end of the season.
I added the Indonesia Open late to my schedule as I had never played there and also because I wanted to play another tournament. Even though I have played a lot this year, I wanted to get another tournament in because I knew that things were moving in the right direction. As it turned out it was a great idea.
On Thursday morning I wasn't quite sure what to expect, I had played really well on Tuesday but poorly on Wednesday. I started on the tenth on Thursday morning and came out of the traps flying with birdies on the 10th, 11th and then the 13th. Two more birdies on the 17th and 18th got me out in five under and it could have been more. I made three more birdies and one bogey on my back nine for a round of seven under. It really could have been anything, as I played really well and putted great. It seems strange to come off a course after shooting seven under par, my lowest round of the year, and say that it was probably the worst score I could have shot but it was certainly the case. However I was happy with my opening score, which meant that I had got myself right into the tournament. After round one I was in second place, one shot behind.
On Friday I played late and when I got to the course I was five behind already and the scoring seemed quite good. It can be a little off putting when you are out late any day and you see good scores coming in before you even go out. When I did get started I got off to a flyer again by eagling my first hole and then birdies on two and three. It settled me down straight away and even though I bogeyed the fourth after pulling my tee shot into the water I wasn't fazed. I birdied the seventh and eighth to be out in five under again. We got as far as the 13th hole and we were called in for a storm. At this stage I was still 12 under par having made a bogey on the 11th and then another birdie on the 12th. The storm never cleared and so we had to come back in the morning to finish our round. I was tied for the lead at this stage, but when I came back on Saturday morning I wasn't able to capitalize on the calm conditions. I made six pars to finish tied for the lead on 12 under par. I didn't play as well as I did on Thursday but it was still good and I putted well again. Similar to the first round I could have been a lot better than five under.
I had about three hours between my finishing my second round and starting my third round so I went for a sleep in the locker room. I always try and get a sleep in whenever there is a delay. When I did get going in the third round I started quickly again with birdies at the first two holes. Another birdie on the seventh got me out in three under par, which was solid play again and my putting was very good. I picked up another birdie on the par five 13th to get to four under par for the round and a 16 under total. At this stage I was five shots clear and cruising. We were called in again after hitting our drives on the fourteenth and like Friday there was a big storm so we had to come back on Sunday morning to finish off. When we did come back I chipped it stone dead for a birdie and a six shot lead. However I wasn't able to make anymore birdies and actually bogeyed the fifteenth to finish my round on four under and a 16 under total. My six shot lead was cut to four by Khrongpha after he birdied the last two holes. He had struggled on Saturday but when he came out on Sunday he was like a different man.
A four shot lead going into the final round is great but I have always found leading harder than chasing and also it had been quite a while since I was in this position. I got off to a bad start by bogeying the first, a short par five. I hit a bad drive and had to lay up. I hit my pitch too hard and left myself a 30 footer downhill for birdie. From here I had my first three putt of the week, which was really not the start I was looking for. I struggled for the whole front nine and was out of position on every hole. I couldn't get anything going and to make matters worse Khrongpha was playing great. After six holes I was one over, which was great going as I hadn't made it easy for myself, and he was three under and so we were level. Then on the seventh hole I hit a terrible seven iron into the water right and ended up taking a double bogey five and dropped two shots behind. So in seven holes I had gone from four ahead to six behind. At this stage the clouds were getting dark and I said to Ronan that a storm delay would be great. It didn't come until the ninth and by that stage I had managed to make a birdie from off the green on the eighth and then just missed one on the ninth. As we were walking to the tenth tee the hooter went and I have to say that I was delighted. It came at a great time for me, as I needed something to change. We sat around for a few hours till it cleared. I managed to get about an hours sleep and when I came back out I felt much better. I hit the ball well and was now giving myself the opportunity to score.
I made solid pars on the 10th, 11th and 12th which were the first solid ones I made all day. Krongpha came out and while he was still playing well his momentum seemed to have stalled. He parred the 10th and 11th also but a pulled tee shot on the par three 12th cost him a bogey and meant that we were tied again. We both birdied the 13th; I hit my two best shots of the day to set up my two-putt birdie. It then turned into a matchplay situation at this stage, as it was really only between the two of us. We both made straightforward pars on the 14th and on the fifteenth, a long par 3, I hit my hybrid in the bunker right and left myself a very tough up and down. I hit a really good bunker shot to five feet. Khrongpha had to hole a six-footer for par after a poor first putt leaving me to hole my five footer to stay level, which I did. On sixteen he made a great up and down from the right bunker to a right pin for par. The seventeenth I got away with a pulled four iron and got a break to have a shot to the green for my third. I hit my pitch to eight feet, Khrongpha had just missed the bunker with his second and ended up chipping to 12 feet. He holed his, it was a really nasty putt, but then I holed mine after him.
The eighteenth is a tough finishing hole; you drive over water and have water all down the right and a hazard on the left with a bunker short of it. I hit three woods on this hole all week, as I couldn't carry the left trap with it, but anything carrying this makes the left hazard. I stuck with my game plan but pulled it towards the bunker, but I got a bad break as my ball skipped through the bunker and ran into the hazard. At this stage I was thinking I had lost it, I was only hoping that I might get a chance to make a putt for a playoff. Khrongpha hit a poorish drive but got away with it and was in good position for his second. When I got to my ball I was looking at my options, I could try and chip it out and leave myself a nine iron or so or else to take a drop and have six iron in. While I was doing this Khrongpha was playing, then Ronan and myself couldn't believe it when we saw him hit it in the water which got us right back into it. I took a drop and left myself 180 yards into the wind. I hit my best shot of the day, a three quarter six iron to ten feet. He dropped and chipped it short of the green and then chipped it up to a foot, which meant that I had two putts to win. I managed to hole it to win by two shots and really couldn't believe it.
In the end it was total steal. I thought after my drive on the last that I was gone, only to be let in at the last minute. I am delighted to have picked up a win; it?s been four years since I won a tour event. I always knew that I would get back to winning ways but it is still nice to get it done. It gives me great confidence going into next year and makes me look forward to my winter break even more. As always I made the final round hard work. Looking back on it I can see that I was a bit tentative and also a bit tough on myself, particularly on the front nine. Kn the back nine I was less so and it showed on my scoring.
It's great to add another Open title to my collection and also another country that I have won in. Its home for seven weeks and 100,000 swings for me but before all that I am looking forward to celebrating my latest win. If there is one thing that I have learnt over the last few years is that they don't come along as often as you think, so when they do its important to celebrate them.
This week I am in Jakarta for the Bank BRI Indonesia Open, which is my last tournament of the year. I have had two weeks off prior to this and spent most of it in South Africa on a family holiday. We had a great time, although it was actually a bit of a busman's holiday as I played in the Gary Player Invitational pro-am. Gary runs it every year to raise money for his charities and seeing as I was going to be there I was delighted to be able to play. The rest of the holiday was spent total relaxing, with a small bit of practice in the evenings.
This is my first time in Indonesia, which was actually a big bearing on me playing this week. I really enjoy playing in new countries and there are fewer and fewer of those left for me now. I got here on Monday evening, so Tuesday was my first look at the course. I played twelve holes, the first six and then the last six, and did some practice before and after. The course is surprisingly firm for this part of the world, normally with the thunderstorms they get out here the courses are generally soft. However that is not the case this week and it makes a big difference to the greens. They are releasing quite a bit and if you miss them there are some tough chip shots. I was happy with how I hit the ball on Tuesday and the work I did last week certainly helped.
On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am, which was a 7 o'clock shotgun start. I wasn't a happy man when the alarm went off and felt like throwing it out of the window! But by the time I got to the course I was fine and looking forward to playing. I got to see the full course and I have to say I really like it, it is a good test. There are some relatively easy holes and then a few tough ones. If you play well you can shoot a score but you have to be careful as it can be tricky around the greens and so if you are not on your game then it can be tough. However, I didn't play as well in the pro-am as I did on Tuesday; there were a few ropey shots and I found the greens fast. After the pro-am I spent my time practicing my chipping and putting so as to get a good feel for how the greens react and also the pace of them.
I am really looking forward to playing this week. I am here looking to win in order to finish my year off on a high and I am out early on Thursday and late on Friday. We are seven hours ahead of home so it means that my round will be finished when everyone is getting up at home.