Sabah to host season finale

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, January 1: This month’s Sabah Masters will provide a thrilling climax to the season on the ASEAN PGA Tour when it is staged at Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club from January 9 to 12.

The popular tournament is the final event of the 2012/2013 season with a wealth of leading players from the region having confirmed their participation.

Sabah’s very own Nicholas Fung, the current Order of Merit leader who was second in Sabah in 2011, leads the line-up along with Thailand’s Annop Tangkamolprasert and Jay Bayron from the Philippines, third and fourth respectively on the Merit list.

While attention will focus on the battle to claim the Merit list crown also competing are defending champion Wisut Artjanawat from Thailand, Malaysian number one Danny Chia and Singapore’s top golfers Mardan Mamat and Choo Tze Huang.

The fact the overall purse has been increased to US$75,000 has helped draw a strong field.

When it was last played in 2011 the prize money was US$60,000.

The Sabah Masters was revived that season after a gap of 10 years thanks to the support of the Sabah Tourism Board, who are once again fully behind this year’s tournament.

“The Sabah Masters is an ideal property which the Sabah Tourism Board can use to show to our region the huge appeal of Kota Kinabalu and Sabah,” said Datuk Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Cultural & Environment, Sabah.

“Sabah is a wonderful tourist destination for golfers and non golfers. It is a very special place with so much to do and we are delighted that many of Southeast Asia’s best professionals will play. The tournament has in the past played an important role in our tourism industry and will continue to do so in the future.”

In 2011, Wisut triumphed by one stroke over Fung and Filipino Anthony Fernando, who will also compete this year.

The 30-year-old shot a sizzling final round four-under-par 66 for a four-day total of two-under 278 at Sutera Harbour.

His win meant he became the first player to triumph four times on the ASEAN PGA Tour, which was inaugurated in 2007, and also the first to claim back-to-back titles as he also won the preceding Palembang Musi Championship.

The tournament has a storied history with some great names having won the title including Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant in 1996.

This will mark the third occasion Sutera Harbour has hosted the tournament as it was also staged at the impressive venue in 1999 when American Robert Huxtable triumphed.

The 384-acre resort provides a spectacular array of activities including luxurious five-star hotels, a championship golf course, a marina and other recreational facilities.

Designed by leading golf course designer Graham Marsh, Sutera Harbour boasts 27 holes for day and night golfing and has garnered various awards of distinction.

“Sutera Harbour felt the 2011 Sabah Masters was a tremendous success and we are thoroughly looking forward to the next edition. The tournament allows us to watch some of the region’s finest professionals compete on a course that we are very proud of while at the same time showcasing the many other treats that Sutera Harbour has to offer,” said Howie Roberts, General Manager, Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club.

At the resort the elegant business setting of The Pacific Sutera Hotel is complemented by the ambience of The Magellan Sutera Resort, offering a total of 956 guest rooms and suites of luxurious comfort.

“Sabah’s reputation as one of the strongholds of Malaysian golf is sure to be enhanced by another fine edition of their prestigious tournament. It is extremely rewarding to see the Sabah Master continue its’ revival and particularly as the ASEAN PGA Tour’s season ending event,” said AC Wong, Executive Chairman, ASEAN PGA.

World Sport Group, the official commercial partner for the ASEAN PGA, will promote the event for the second successive time and as part of this relationship they will produce a one-hour highlight show that will be broadcast on ESPN Star Sports.