Stephen Dodd will tee up in the Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open searching for a missing link as he attempts to rekindle the form of 2005 which brought him two individual titles and the WGC - World Cup for Wales.
Dodd, the highest ranked player in the field at the Emeralda Golf Club, enjoyed a sensational 2005 season, winning the Volvo China Open and the Nissan Irish Open before partnering Bradley Dredge to Wales’ first victory in the WGC – World Cup in Portugal since 1987.
But Dodd has struggled to hit the same heights in the early part of the 2006 season, his highest finish being joint 24th, and he hopes some work on his game last week will bring about a change in fortunes.
“My form so far hasn’t been great but your year is based on the whole season and not the first month or two,” he said. “I did a bit of practice last week and the game seems okay so hopefully will be good this week.”
A slight adjustment in his set-up, moving the ball back in his stance, seemed to bring about some improvement on the range but after a disappointing practice in the Pro-Am, Dodd declared: “It’s back to the drawing board.”
While Dodd may be the highest ranked player Official World Golf Ranking here at 92nd, he feels the Asian Tour players have a big advantage playing on home territory. “It is a totally different experience playing in Asia,” he said. “The greens are totally different to back home but the weather is the main difficulty for us as it is so hot and humid and it is difficult to adjust.”
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, Asia’s Number One player last season, will be defending the title following his success at the Cengkareng Golf Club 12 months ago. Wiratchant won four times on his way to topping the Asian Tour Money List, adding the national titles of Taiwan, Vietnam and India to his victory in Indonesia.
“I do not see myself as the defending champion when I play as I don’t want to put extra pressure on myself,” said Wiratchant, who defends the first of his four titles this week. “I would like to think I am just like any other golfer in the field doing their best and that is what I will do.”
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is also a proven winner while another form player is England’s Chris Rodgers, who will be looking to celebrate his 30th birthday in style on Sunday. Rodgers won the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January before going on to win the Pakistan Open the same month.
Charlie Wi of Korea is the current Asian Tour Number One following his victory in the Maybank Malaysian Open two weeks ago, an event which was also joint sanctioned by The European Tour and the Asian Tour.
The weather is likely to be a key factor with storms forecast, particularly on Thursday and Friday.