2006: Dyson delivers again in Asia
Simon Dyson felt right at home at the HSBC Indonesia Open last week. Dyson, from Yorkshire, England, played on the Asian Tour in 2000, when he won three times.
This time, he was playing in the area as a PGA European Tour member and was searching for his first triumph.
Dyson, 28, turned in a bogey-free 5-under 67, highlighted by a 1-foot eagle at the seventh hole, en route to a 20-under 268 total at the Emeralda Golf & Country Club, two shots better than Australian Andrew Buckle.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Dyson said. “A couple of years ago I thought it might never happen. But this year I thought it could more than any other year, and to do so early on and get the result, I can’t put it into words how good it feels.”
Dyson’s check for 137,701 euros (approximately $166,225) moved him to No. 17 on the tour’s Order of Merit.
In 2000, Dyson won the Asian Tour Order of Merit. He also won the tour’s Rookie of the Year title and Player of the Year honors.
Dyson helped Great Britain & Ireland win the Walker Cup at Nairn, Scotland, in 1999 before heading to the Far East to begin his professional career.
“This is where I started my golf, and I always enjoy coming back,” Dyson said. “I plan on playing about 10 events in Asia this year. I love it.
“I’ve got a lot of friends out here, and whenever you’re here everyone is hospitable. The year I played out here I had three wins, three seconds, a third, and just seemed to play really well.”
Dyson’s victory was helped slightly by the inclement weather that hampered the event. During a rain delay in Round 2 Friday, Dyson had time to regroup after he’d struggled slightly over his front nine.
“I have to admit the rain break helped me,” he said. “I seemed to find something. I had just pulled a couple of drives previously and then didn’t miss a fairway.”
Costly quad: Australian Andrew Buckle was battling Simon Dyson for the Indonesia Open crown until the 467-yard par-4 sixth hole Sunday derailed him. Buckle, leading by one, walked off the sixth green three shots behind after a quadruple-bogey 8 to Dyson’s par.
“My tee shot was not too bad, it was just a bit to the left and landed in the rough and then it didn’t bounce out of the rough,” Buckle said. “Instead, it landed on top of an old divot and I took two (shots) to get out of it.”
Buckle reached the green in 5 and three-putted for an 8.
“I told myself to try to make a game of it,” said Buckle, who regrouped and birdied Nos. 7, 11, 12 and 17 to finish at 3-under 69. “I’m happy and proud of the way I bounced back. I could have let him run away with it.”
Buckle tied for 15th in his other PGA European Tour starts this year (Qatar Masters, Johnnie Walker Classic).
Gaining experience: David Higgins had a share of the first-round lead and hung around near the top all week. He eventually tied for seventh.
The Irishman needs more finishes like that if he is to avoid a return to the Challenge Tour next year. Higgins knows all about Europe’s developmental circuit. He has gained his Tour card twice through the Challenge Tour (finishing No. 2 in 2000 and No. 12 in 2005).
“The Challenge Tour is very tough,” Higgins said. “It’s a grind more than anything. You are not there to make money. You are out there to get here (the European Tour). That is what is on your mind the whole year. There is a lot of pressure.
“This is the start of a new year for me and I feel fresh, which is the most important thing for me, and that is showing in the scores.”
Higgins has made the cut in his past two European Tour starts after missing the cut in the first four of this season.
Short shots: Anthony Kang was low American, tying for 19th. Kang has made three of six European Tour cuts this year. . . . The European Tour presented a $100,000 check from its International Relief Golf Fund to assist with the continuing relief efforts in Indonesia in the wake of the tsunami disaster in December 2004. Another $41,500 was raised during a charity auction prior to the tournament.
– Alistair Tait and wire reports
On the tee
Next up: TCL Classic, March 16-19, Yalong Bay Golf Club, Sanya, Hainan Island, China. Defending champion: Paul Casey.
The buzz: Casey is back to defend and will look to add to his Volvo China Open triumph in November, which was the second event on this year’s European Tour schedule.