From sleeping in the bunkers to winning the Indonesia Open: The Incredible story of Indonesia’s Golfing Legend Kasiadi

From sleeping in the bunkers to winning the Indonesia Open: The Incredible story of Indonesia’s Golfing Legend Kasiadi

Kasiadi is one of the most influential figures in Indonesian golf. He is remembered for winning the Indonesian Open in 1989.
 
Kasiadi was born at Indonesia’s port city of Surabaya and in city’s eastern part there is a course named Ahmad Yani golf course, where young Kasiadi got his first job of caddie and along with accompanying guests.

While seeing the guest play golf on a regular basis, he developed a curiosity about the game, even though he didn’t know anything about golf and thought of playing the game but it was difficult to play on day time because of his work in the club and on the course. A few months later, he established a proper plan for playing golf and he decided to play golf at nights when he was free and there was no work.
Kasiadi took golf equipment from the club where he was working because he couldn’t afford to buy one and started practising golf at nights from 9 PM.

Kasiadi was a self-learned golfer because there was no one to make him enlighten about the sport so, one day, he thought of figuring out by himself as he started observing the guests playing golf shots, then he used to replicate the same shots at night.
After practising hard, he used to sleep at midnight in the sand bunkers, where he kept his head on the sand and legs outside, on the grass. He continued this routine for the next six years where he worked all day and practiced at nights on the course.
 
In 1984, Kasiadi directly turned professional instead of amateur, because he couldn’t afford to pay registration fees for becoming an amateur so, turning pro was easier. From 1984-1988, he won a couple of local tournaments and then the year came (1989), which changed his life forever.
 
In 1989, Kasiadi participated in the 15th edition of Indonesia Open sanctioned by Asian Golf Circuit.
The tournament course was a shorter one with 70 pars and was hosted by the revered Jakarta Golf Club.
On day one, players and fans were stunned to see a rather unknown player Kasiadi, getting a good score of two under 68 for round one and playing really well, again he got the same score in round two (68) and improved his score by one par in round three by scoring five under 67.
Staying inside par 70 for three days, helped Kasiadi to gain confidence and have an outside chance of winning the national open.

On day four, he had a great start and for 15 holes, there was no lapse in concentration for Kasiadi but when last three holes started, he found it peculiar that the fans had started following him whenever he used to go from one par to another.
Finally, this affected his game in the 18th hole when, somebody from the crowd said “he is going to win it for Indonesia” and this affected his concentration and had a terrible shot, which makes him gave away a bogey from his scorecard.
But still, Kasiadi won the event by three strokes over defending champion Frankie Minoza.
Kasiadi became the first Indonesian to win the Indonesia Open, since its inception in 1974.
 
Over the years, Indonesia’s international tournament, the Indonesia Open was won by non-Indonesian players for last 15 years, but thanks to Kasiadi, Indonesia also have their very own champion in the Indonesia Open winners list.
 
11 years later, Kasiadi got a dreadful accident and suffered a grave injury in his left hand and it took him many months to recover.
 
Kasiadi went to the course after recovering completely and when he hit a couple of shots, he felt that his driving distance was reduced and earlier, he easily got drives over 250 yards but after the accident, Kasiadi struggled to get even a distance of 200 yards. So, a few years later, Kasiadi thought of teaching the younger generation and focusing on a new career of golf coaching and due to this, he reduced the no. of tournaments, he played in a year after 2000.
 
Two of the best traits about Kasiadi were determination and his mental game, from the very beginning Kasiadi was determined to become better and he was never satisfied with his practice and achievements which subsequently made him win so many tournaments in his career because he always wanted more.
Kasiadi always mentioned about the importance of the mental game in golf, during his interviews as before every shot, par or hole he used to analyse the game, just like the game of Chess and this strategy helped him to become a better player.

Last time when a local player won the Indonesia Open was in 1989 and 31 years have passed and still, not a single Indonesian player is able to win the tournament.
 
Then also, there are few players who went really close to winning the open:

2011 Indonesia Open - Rory Hie:
Throughout the week, Rory Hie had great rounds but missed the win by just one stroke and finished runner-up in 2011.
 
2019 Indonesia Open – Naraajie Ramadhanputra:
Naraajie was the closest to winning the open for Indonesia because he was leading the tournament after end of round three and was carrying the hopes of a nation when he went to the course to play the final round but unfortunately in last six holes of round four, he got four bogeys, one birdie and one double bogey to +6 and he went from leading the tournament to finishing 4th, which shattered his dream of becoming the second local player to win the Indonesia Open after 30 years but it looks like, Indonesian fans might have to wait a little longer when a golfer like Kasiadi will come and win the event for Indonesia.

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References:
-Inilah.com
-Kompas.com

[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: ASIAN TOUR]


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May 09, 2020 - By Dhrub Trivedi

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