Jakarta, Indonesia: Perseverance paid off for Kevin Caesario Akbar in the 11th edition of the Faldo Series Indonesia Championship.
An age group runner-up in each of the past three years, Akbar marked his final tournament as a teenager by claiming top spot in the 18th and concluding leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season.
In a close-fought event over Damai Indah Golf’s BSD Course, Akbar compiled a composed closing three-under-par 69. That gave him a 54-hole aggregate of four-under 212 – two shots ahead of Gabriel Hansel Hari and four clear of Patricia Walanda Sinolungan.
As a result of his success, Akbar, who turns 20 on February 24, will spearhead Indonesia’s challenge at the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam in the first week of March.
Joining him there will be Hari (Boys’ Under-16 champion), Michela Tjan (Girls’ Under-18 champion) and Sinolungan (Girls’ Under-16 champion).
Much will be expected of Akbar in Vietnam where he will be aiming to go one better than compatriot Jonathan Wijono last year and become the first Indonesian winner of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Currently 394th in The R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, one-handicapper Akbar is the third highest ranked Indonesian in the standings, behind only Wijono and Naraadji Emerald Ramadhan.
Wijono was unable to take part at Damai Indah due to exam commitments while Naraadji was disqualified after the first round after signing an incorrect scorecard.
Nonetheless, Akbar, a member of Perkumpulan Akademi Golf Indonesia and a regular in his country’s international team for the past five years, was a worthy winner, showing strength and stamina in returning rounds of 71 and 72 on a gruelling opening day.
One shot clear of the field heading into the final round, the two-time Southeast Asian Games player held firm to see off the chasing pack.
Victory was well deserved for Akbar, who was runner-up in the Boys’ Under-16 segment at the Faldo Series Indonesia Championship in 2015 and second in the Under-18 category in 2016 and last year.
While Akbar will be making his debut at Laguna Lăng Cô, it’s the second year in succession that Tjan and Sinolungan have qualified for the Grand Final. Last year, Tjan was runner-up in the Girls’ Under-21 section.
Both Tjan and Sinolungan should be at their sharpest when they arrive in Vietnam next month, direct from Singapore’s Sentosa Golf Club where they headline a strong Indonesian contingent at the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “I’m delighted that Michela and Patricia will once more be challenging at the Grand Final and I look forward to welcoming Kevin. After runner-up finishes in his age group division in 2015, 2016 and 2017, I’m pleased to see him finally take top honours in the Faldo Series Indonesia Championship.”
The 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as two events in China and Thailand, championships have been staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.