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  • MURDACA DREAMING OF MASTERS RETURN
    The experience of playing in the Masters Tournament has Antonio Murdaca desperate to defend his Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship

  • 1st Anniversary of Bali National Golf Resort
    Bali National Golf Club take pleasure in inviting you to play in our “1st Anniversary of Bali National Golf Resort” event on

  • Mercedes-Benz: Martin Kaymer – The Big Draw
    Two-time Major winner and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Martin Kaymer tees up at Augusta National hoping to add a first Green Jac

  • Mercedes-Benz: Bernhard Langer – Masters Memories
    Two-time Masters Champion Bernhard Langer returns to Augusta National Golf Club this week to compete in the 79th Masters Tournamen

  • Mercedes-Benz: COUNTDOWN TO THE MASTERS 2015
    The world’s greatest players will be in action when the 79th Masters Tournament begins at Augusta National Golf Club on Thur

  • Nike Golf’s New Film “Ripple” Captures the Inspiring Effect of Tiger Woods on a Young Rory McIlroy
      LeBron James saw Michael Jordan as a role model. Mike Trout looked up to Derek Jeter. Russell Wilson gravitated towards Dre

  • Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Glory for Japan’s Kamasu
    Shenzhen, China [March 20]: Keeping his cool in the heat of battle, Yuki Kamasu continued Japan’s recent domination of the Faldo

  • ASIAN TOUR COMES HOME TO SENTOSA
    The Asian Tour will return home to Sentosa with Asia’s leading leisure destination ready to welcome staff and officials from the

  • Police and Thieves: LAPD Fore!
    It’s high noon and a heavilytanned man creams his drive off the 10th tee at Rancho Park Public Course, Los Angeles, to respe

  • MCB Tour Championships
    Words By: Benny Teo   It went to 6 playoff holes! That alone should make for a headline. The protagonist is a lifetime teachi

  • Tseng back to her best at HSBC Women’s Champions
    Singapore, 5th March 2015 – Taiwan’s Yani Tseng showed that experience counts at Sentosa today, as the 26 year old continu

  • Fairway Swapped for a Runway
    Eight of the world’s top women golfers today swapped the fairway for a fashion show as they launched the eighth annual HSBC Wome

  • Indonesian Countdown as Westwood Eyes Birthday Celebrations in Jakarta
    Singapore, 4 February 2015 – The international golfing community turned its attention to Indonesia today as organisers celebrate

  • Tiger’s Back? Or Tiger’s back?
    Is Tiger back? Or rather, Tiger’s Back, back? Will Rory finally win the Masters? Will Fowler win anything (on the back of top 5

  • Singapore Open To Return In 2016
    After a three-year absence, Singapore’s iconic national Open will make a welcome return with a new title sponsor and sanctioning

  • Qualifying School Hopefuls Get Ready For First Test In Thailand
    Hua Hin, Thailand, January 6: Golfers dreaming of stamping their mark on the Asian Tour will face their first hurdle when they tee

  • Mizuno Laguna National Golf Championship
    For 3 days from November 24 to 26, Mizuno Corporation will host its fourth annual golf tournament at Laguna National Golf and Coun

  • World Record: The Longest Drive
    WORDS BY: BENNY TEO A supe up golf cart, two crazy blokes, and a world record… Two fellas, driving a golf cart 1,200 kilome
MURDACA DREAMING OF MASTERS RETURN

The experience of playing in the Masters Tournament has Antonio Murdaca desperate to defend his Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) title in Hong Kong this week.

 The Australian, who put in a sensational performance at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club 12 months ago to win by seven shots, carded rounds of 78 and 73 over the hallowed Augusta National turf to miss out on making it to the weekend at the season's first major. But the 20-year-old's memories of teeing it up alongside the world's best players are still fresh, and he would like nothing more than to return for a second bite of the cherry. 

"It was heart-stopping, that first tee, playing with Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson was really exciting," said Murdaca, who is the first Australian to win the AAC. "Walking from the ninth green to the 10th tee was just like, you want to be back there. It's such an exciting place to be and you just can't get any better than that."

 Murdaca, who tees off at 11:53 a.m. Thursday alongside 2012 champion Guan Tianlang of China and former Junior Open champion Kenta Konishi of Japan, believes that his Masters odyssey has had a direct impact on his approach to the game.

"Playing the Masters helped me grow as a person, as a golfer," he said. "I feel a lot more comfortable with everything I'm doing. Being able to play in tournaments and not feel that extra bit of nerve is really helpful, and just in myself knowing all that I can achieve.

"[The Masters Tournament] would be really awesome to go back to."

Such is the strength of the field that has assembled at the spectacular The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, however, Murdaca will have to be at his best if he's to realise his dream.

At number eight in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), Murdaca's friend and fellow countryman, Ryan Ruffels, starts among the favourites. The Victorian, who finished fourth at the AAC last year, has even been tagged as Australia's hottest prospect since Jason Day. Not that the 17-year-old, who goes out in the first round alongside China's Jin Cheng and Viraj Madappa of India at 7:23 a.m., is getting ahead of himself. 

"I think everyone here knows what they want to do," said Ruffels, who made the cut at the PGA Tour's Canadian Open in July. "We all want to win the AAC and we all want to get to the Masters, which is the carrot at the end of the tunnel.

"I think my ranking is reflective of the fact I've played some good golf this year and I'm taking more confidence out of that then pressure."

One player who can be assured a rousing reception from the galleries is Guan. The 16-year-old from Guangzhou, who made headlines around the world when he became the youngest player in major history to make the cut after he achieved the feat on his Masters appearance two years ago, made a statement to his fellow competitors by saying his form has progressed since those heady days.

"I think this is probably he one of the strongest Chinese teams ever, so I think we stand a very good chance to keep the trophy in China," said the now 16-year-old, whose AAC victory came at the water-laced Amata Spring Country Club on the outskirts of Bangkok. "I think I'm a lot better now in all parts [of the game]. I played my best in 2012 and won the tournament by one shot, and I think if I play my best this week, I'll have a good chance."

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1st Anniversary of Bali National Golf Resort

Bali National Golf Club take pleasure in inviting you to play in our “1st Anniversary of Bali National Golf Resort” event on Saturday August 8 2015.

Apart from celebrating our first year of operation as Bali National Golf Club and the hosting of our first professional golf event, the anniversary event will include the announcement of a prestigious worldwide award and the Ground Breaking Ceremony  for Phase 2 of the Bali National Golf Resort development being 40 Villas and 5 star hotel.

Receiving great support from sponsors with the Grand Prize lucky draw being a trip for two to any European destination courtesy of main sponsor Emirates with a stop over golf holiday in Dubai. Hole in One prizes include Harley Davidson bikes courtesy of Mabua Harley Davidson, an apartment in Bandung courtesy of The Maj Collections and memberships at Senayan National Golf Club and Bali National Golf Club.

Players have a choice of a morning or afternoon round with all players invited for post golf drinks, dinner, presentations and Lucky Draws.

The fee is Rp.1,500,000 nett per player and includes a tournament shirt and cap, lunch, dinner and post golf beverages.

Players are also welcome to enjoy a social round on Sunday August 9 2015 for the same preferred fee of      Rp.1,500,000 nett including breakfast and lunch.  

Entries close on Wednesday August 5, 2015 or when all places are filled.  

Entry Form Available for download: http://goo.gl/eMFPpM

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Mercedes-Benz: Martin Kaymer – The Big Draw

Two-time Major winner and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Martin Kaymer tees up at Augusta National hoping to add a first Green Jacket to his growing list of honours.

Following his rise to World #1 in 2011, Martin began remodelling his natural left-to-right swing in order to incorporate a more consistent draw. Here, Martin explains the reasons how the new swing can help him negotiate the tough fairways of Augusta National Golf Club.

 

 

 
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Mercedes-Benz: Bernhard Langer – Masters Memories

Two-time Masters Champion Bernhard Langer returns to Augusta National Golf Club this week to compete in the 79th Masters Tournament. Bernhard won his first Green Jacket in 1985 and followed with a second in 1993. Here, the Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador talks about his victories and what they did for his career.

 

 

 
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Mercedes-Benz: COUNTDOWN TO THE MASTERS 2015

The world's greatest players will be in action when the 79th Masters Tournament begins at Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday April 9th.

And always living up to our expectations, Mercedes-Benz is the Proud Global Sponsor of the Masters Tournament!

Let's countdown to the Masters with Mercedes-Benz: 

 

See more from the ambassadors:

www.facebook.com/MercedesBenzGolf 

https://instagram.com/mercedesbenz.golf/ 

www.youtube.com/mercedesbenztv

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Nike Golf’s New Film “Ripple” Captures the Inspiring Effect of Tiger Woods on a Young Rory McIlroy

 

LeBron James saw Michael Jordan as a role model. Mike Trout looked up to Derek Jeter. Russell Wilson gravitated towards Drew Brees. Tiger Woods revered Jack Nicklaus. And, Rory McIlroy idolized Woods.

 

In that vein, Nike Golf has created a new film, “Ripple,” that captures the powerful influence of Woods on a young McIlroy. Produced in 60-second and two-minute versions, the film follows an inspirational journey of McIlroy growing up, captivated by Woods’ awe-inspiring performances, his athleticism and his swing. Seeing fist pump after fist pump, victory after victory, and with posters of Woods in his room, the film emotes McIlroy dreaming of one day competing against Woods.

 

“As a kid, I looked up to Tiger,” said McIlroy, who hit a 40-yard drive at the age of just two. When I first saw him on TV, I remember being completely enamored by the energy he brought to the sport. His will to win. His determination. His fight.”

 

“I’ve been in that same situation,” said Tiger. “Growing up, Jack was my idol. My first recollection of The Masters was 1986, when Jack won. I remember him making a putt at 17 and lifting that putter up. Fourteen years later at the 2000 PGA Championship, I got to play with and against him – someone I looked up to.”

 

The film begins with a reenactment of a young McIlroy intensely watching Woods win his third straight U.S. Amateur Championship on TV in 1996. A year later, still from his hometown in Holywood, Northern Ireland, McIlroy witnessed Woods winning his first Masters championship. As the film progresses, we see McIlroy emulating Woods’ work ethic, perfecting his game in the rain, working on his putting stroke on a putting green at his house (filmed at his actual childhood home), with his mother Rosie and father Gerry, supporting him all the way.

 

The film culminates with the two professionals competing against one another, walking down the fairway with an obvious mutual respect.

 

“It’s been an incredible journey for me, going from massive fan of his to competitor,” said McIlroy. “To think that not too long ago I was that little boy watching him on TV to where I am now. It’s been a cool journey and I’m very lucky I get to compete with and against him, because he inspired me as a kid and he inspires me now. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen.”

 

“It’s neat because I’ve been able to be a part of different generations of competitors. Now I’m competing against the younger ones – it’s going to be fun. It helps me train a little harder, because these kids are athletic,” said Woods.

 

 

Created in partnership with Wieden + Kennedy, the film has two versions – a 60-second and two-minute spot airing on ESPN and The Golf Channel.

http://news.nike.com/news/idols-have-idols-from-one-generation-of-greatness-to-the-next 

 

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Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Glory for Japan’s Kamasu

Shenzhen, China [March 20]: Keeping his cool in the heat of battle, Yuki Kamasu continued Japan’s recent domination of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final with an assured final-round display at Mission Hills.

The 21-year-old underlined his potential with a polished performance over the acclaimed Nick Faldo-designed Faldo Course at Mission Hills Shenzhen, edging Czech Republic’s Simon Zach in a dramatic sudden-death play-off.

One shot ahead overnight, Kamasu closed with a three-under 69 for a 54-hole aggregate of nine-under 207. That total was matched by Zach, who carded a 68.

However, it was the Japanese who prevailed in extra time with a gutsy bogey-six at 18. There, he pushed his drive into the water but quickly recovered his composure to find the green with his fourth shot.

Nonetheless, at that point, Zach, in the centre of the fairway less than 100 yards from the flag in two, appeared to hold the initiative.

But he then suffered the anguish of dunking two balls in the hazard in front of the green as the chance of becoming the first non-Asian winner of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final slipped agonisingly from his grasp.

With his triumph in the ninth edition of the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, Kamasu followed in the footsteps of Masamichi Ito and Mikumu Horikawa to become the tournament’s third Japanese champion in the past four years.

“This victory is important for me. It’s my first international win and is a big boost for my confidence and self-belief,” said Kamasu.

“I would like to thank Sir Nick for providing such an incredible opportunity and for hosting us all … and for sharing his knowledge and wisdom at the clinics he conducted.”

Six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Yuki’s victory caps a fantastic week which has seen us bring together more than 80 young golfers from 18 countries around the world.

“The players are getting better every year and I am excited about the future as we continue our effort to grow the game of golf globally through the Faldo Series.”

American Zachary Bauchou, winner of the Faldo Series Grand Final at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, USA, last October, eagled the final hole to claim sole possession of third place, just one shot shy of joining the play-off.

Meanwhile, Zach, who was defeated by Bauchou in that play-off at The Greenbrier, had the consolation of winning the Boys’ Under-18 division.

In the Girls’ Under-21 category, victory went to Princess Mary Superal of the Philippines with a score of three-under 213. Minami Hiruta, the reigning Japan Women’s Amateur champion, was runner-up on 216.

The Girls’ Under-16 winner was Japan’s Yumi Kudo, on a countback from China’s Liu Yan and New Zealander Brooke Hamilton. All three were tied at five-over 221.

China’s Cao Sen triumphed in the Boys’ Under-16 segment thanks to a sparkling closing 68, edging out Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Kai-jen on a countback after both finished on 213.

Cao also received the Mission Hills Trophy, presented by Mission Hills Vice Chairman Tenniel Chu to the leading Chinese player.

As well as receiving the Faldo Series Asia trophy, the overall winner will be granted an exemption into an Asian Tour event. The Girls’ winner will be given a start in a Ladies European Tour event.

Both will also earn themselves an overseas trip to compete in the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final.

Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia campaign has stretched over 11 months and has been made up of 18 championships.

Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006. 

Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at last year’s Open Championship and US PGA Championship.

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ASIAN TOUR COMES HOME TO SENTOSA

The Asian Tour will return home to Sentosa with Asia’s leading leisure destination ready to welcome staff and officials from the region’s premier Tour to its newest corporate headquarters located on the island.

 

The Sentosa Golf Club will also earn the distinction of being the first Asian Tour Destination in Singapore, the Tour’s exclusive network of world-class golfing properties around the region.

 

The relocation of the Asian Tour headquarters to Sentosa marks a homecoming for the Tour as it was previously based on the island from 2007 to 2010.

 

The Asian Tour will be Sentosa’s newest neighbour, joining its illustrious list of island partners and giving the golfing landscape on the island resort a significant boost.

 

”We are delighted to welcome back the Asian Tour to Sentosa, and the timing coincides very well with the return of the Singapore Open which it has sanctioned for many years.

 

“Together, we look forward to the exciting events that we can bring to golf fans in Singapore and the region”, said Low Teo Ping, President of Sentosa Golf Club.

 

Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han is pleased the Asian Tour continues to be the first international sporting organisation to base itself on Sentosa, highlighting the stature and appeal of the region’s premier Tour.

 

“We are proud that Sentosa is now the Home of the Asian Tour. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, we are excited to be back in Sentosa.

 

“We’re confident this move will greatly benefit both parties and are looking forward to forging another close synergy between these two brand names,” said Han.

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Police and Thieves: LAPD Fore!

It's high noon and a heavilytanned man creams his drive off the 10th tee at Rancho Park Public Course, Los Angeles, to respectful applause from the assembled gallery. His wide black shades and slicked-back hair lend him an air of casual menace. He's flanked on one side by a plain-clothes police office, fun and badge in full view, on the other by a parked Los Angeles Police Department helicopter. From time to time he puffs furtively on a cigarette, and leans on his driver. He looks like a high-profile mobster on day release. He is the next best thing actor Joe Pesci. 

The nastiest mafia villain in movies is the lead draw in the annual Los Angeles Police Celebrity golf tournament, Hollywood's premier sports fund raiser. IF intimidation counts for anything in golf, Pesci has the game nailed. In Casino and GoodFellas, he give an inquisitive glance the same impact as a monkey-wrench to the kidneys. A hole behind him is a fellow big-screen hood Joe Mantegna, a familiar face from The Godfather III and Bugsy. "The cops know the kind roles Joe and I have played in our careers," Mantegna tells GolfPunk. "We represent that side of the street, i guess, but as i get older i try to get on the right side of the street." 

In the tournament's early days, the Rat Pack - Sinatra, Dino, Sammy Davis - were regulars. Jack Nicholson, the Kind of Hollywood, showed up a couple of times in the '90s. Back in '94, shortly before he was due to host the event, the drive of a Mercedes Benz cut in front of him at a junction in nearby Studio City. Nicholson didn't take kindly to the incident, and stoved in the Marc's windshield with the closest tool to hand: a golf club. 

All proceeds go to the families of injured officers. It's a unique, surreal, all-American affair: a golfing fiesta built on law enforcement and movie muscle. A cortege of golf buggies, overloaded with armed cops, weaves a 5mph conga between the hospitality tent, a bomb disposal truck, the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket and a stall selling T-shirts decorated with the legend: 'Shoot Em Straight'. Next to the putting green, for no apparent reason, a man is walking a mature wold on a chain metal leash. He is not arrested. 

The best of the participating names is Ron Perlman (Alien Resurrection, Hellboy), a veteran of the LA public golf circuit, with Joe Pesci snapping at his heels. Joe Mantegna, on the other hand, limps home well down the field. Mantegna takes the poor showing in his stride: "I write Joe Pesci's name on my golf ball," he whispers. "That way if it goes through a window, they'll start looking for him instead of me."

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MCB Tour Championships

Words By: Benny Teo

 

It went to 6 playoff holes! That alone should make for a headline. The protagonist is a lifetime teaching pro and, until this event was formerly over, the European Senior Tour's number 1. You may not have heard of Paul Wesselingh before but the 52-year-old Englishman's name resounds loud and clear on that balmy evening on Constance Belle Mare Plage's Legends course in the island of Mauritius. 

Just 12 months before, he had comfortably won the tour's Order of Merit with a scintillating 5-stroke victory here at the same site with a finishing approach on the par 5 18th that was to become the tour's official Shot of the Year. Then, with 225 yards to go, he stroked the air to 5 feet for an eagle, which he missed. 

"i'm still gutted about missing that shot... if there were also a worst putt of the year, i would've won that as well!" said the affable man after achieving his lifelong dream and beating a well-stacked tour that includes the likes of 8-time regular European Tour's Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie, ex-Masters Champion Bernhard Langer, and ex-Ryder Cupper Barry Lane. It wasn't that long ago that he watched them play while ploughing through the ho-hum of driving range instruction in his earlier years. 

Come 2014 and Wesselingh is firmly in the thick of things again here at the Legends course which he admits to "being positively inclined towards." But as far as the 2014 season goes, Monty's turnout year, having won 4 senior titles including two senior Majors with record-breaking earnings of £624,543, means that the John Jacobs Trophy had been well and truly lost before the first ball was struck. As if to cement his status as No. 1, the Scot went on to a relatively fuss-free 6th position in the tournament capping a 2014 season in which he finished top-10 in every Senior Tour event he's played in. 

Wesselingh himself had a tough start to the year having just won the Order of Merit then and only begun to groove in at the WINSTON golf Senior Open by beating Benhard Langer in a playoff.

"I had a shaky start to this year, and amazingly it was a confidence thing," said Wesselingh." When you win he Order of Merit you just hope it isn't a one off. It shows you how the mind works. But then I had a couple of bits of luck in Germany and hat et me up for the remainder of the season, and hopefully i can end it well this week. I'm playing nicely and i have started to putt nicely, which is the big difference, so the confidence is high again." 

When he arrived at the beautiful Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, he knew he has a chance at defending at least his title here, even if he had to relinquish the John Jacobs Trophy. The top 6 on the Order of Merit gets a free ticket to the 2015, US Senior Open and he was well off the pace. If the opportunity presented itself, he'd grab it by the scruff of its neck, and boy, did he...

After 2 days battling it out on the Legends course, Wesselingh and South African David Frost head into the final day with just a stroke separating them at 6-under and 7-under respectively. First day leader Lane, battled a virus and a bad back to sit at 4-under-par. All three had been previous winners at this event and course. A battle is certainly forming. 

By the time, the final group had arrived at the 18th green, Barry Lane had the clubhouse lead at 9-under-par having shot a career back nine with 5 birdies after a steady bogey-free front half. Frost, who was leading at the start of the day, fell back with two bogeys against 3 birdies, needing a birdie at the par 5 18th to tie with Lane. 

But Wesselingh was really the one in the driving seat. Sitting at 10-under-par with that historic 18th to play, the championship could've been won there and then. But instead, he carded a bogey on his last, and with Frost failing to birdie, Paul Wesselingh and Barry Lane both entered what was to be the start of a very long walk to the title. 

If dramatic scripts were written in life, and it always has, this was one that would rank high on Hollywood's list. First, Lane and Wesselingh traded birdies to return to the 18th tee. Then, they did it again on the second. At the third, Wesselingh pulled his approach left, nearly int the water hazard residing just before the greenside bunker. Lane had flown his just short of the green. The rules official was called. Some muttering amongst the crowd and Wesselingh took a drop! Did he lose a stroke there? Was it out of bounds?

He then proceeded to flop one onto the green and sank the putt. Lane had already made birdie then so we thought it was game over. Apparently not. That second from Wesselingh was not caught within an O.B. marker but rather a G.U.R. area, which means he gets a free drop for his third! Incredible. 

By the time the duo birdied the fourth playoff green, they were fist bumping each other, fueled by adrenalin, respect and the adulation of the crowd. They would both birdie a fifth time with the clock already showing 6 past. These guys had been out there playing the 18th hole for 2 hours! If this had gone on, they would have had to settle for a Monday morning showdown... 

Whether by destiny or simply the physical toll exacted on these 50-somethings, the sixth playoff would seal the deal, Wesselingh ended the day (night?) with a par to pop Lane's one and only bogey of the day. 

"I'd rather not have to do it through a play-off, but to beat Bernhard Langer and now Barry Lane, both Ryder Cup players and great players, is fantastic," said the happy two-time MCB Tour Champion. With this hard fought victory comes a second goodie - he finished the second season in sixth place on the Order of Merit and guaranteed his spot in the US Senior Open 2015. 

Monty, meanwhile, had already done his presentation on the practice green, took pictures and was well away into his Jacuzzi...

 

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Tseng back to her best at HSBC Women’s Champions

Singapore, 5th March 2015 - Taiwan’s Yani Tseng showed that experience counts at Sentosa today, as the 26 year old continued her stellar run of form to share leader-board honours alongside South Korea’s Inbee Park after Round 1 of the HSBC Women’s Champions.

The former world no. 1 carded a six under par 66, in a round that included three birdies and a bogey on the front nine, and a further four birdies on the back – the last coming on the 18th hole. She shares top place on the leader-board with another former world no. 1 Inbee Park, who took some time to get into her stride, registering a single birdie on the front nine, followed by five after the turn.

Speaking after her round, a beaming Tseng, who held the number one spot for 109 weeks between 2011 and 2013, laughed, “Oh, it’s fun. It's so much fun. Like I tell my friends and my parents, they don't have to scroll down to see my name on the website. They can just see right on top the first page.” Adding, “I was very happy with the way I have changed - back to a smile again and really played golf out there.”

Said Park: “Today was a really good day. I had a bogey-free round, especially on this course, which I'm really proud of. I feel very good, a lot more comfortable over the putter.

“I started on the front nine, which was the tougher nine to play. I didn't play too aggressively - I made a couple birdies on the par 5s but I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do. But I was able to make a birdie on No. 9 and that kind of got me started. The back nine was a great nine. If I can play the back nine like that, it's going to be a good week.”

Reaffirming her love for the tournament, 2012 winner, Angela Stanford, sits a single shot off the lead in third place following her 5 under par 67. The Texan has enjoyed four top ten finishes at the tournament over the years. Behind her, in a five-way tie for fourth place are Jenny Shin (S. Korea), Karrie Webb (Australia), Mariajo Uribe (Columbia), Mo Martin (U.S.) and world no. 1, Lydia Ko (New Zealand).

But the shot of the day has to go to Lexi Thompson who dropped a hole-in-one on the par 3, 14th, finishing the round tied in 9th place at three under par. Asked for her reaction to that shot, the American said, “I hit a low controlled 7-iron from 150. It was looking good the wholeway, so I was just waiting for it to drop. I let go of my club. I don't even know what I did honestly!”

“I definitely want to bomb it a lot on this golf course. Probably on a few holes I shouldn't. But take aggressive lines, and driver is the most comfortable club I have in my bag right now. Just pick the line and commit to it and that's all I'm doing right now,” added the world no. 11.

Local hopeful Koh Sock Hwee had a challenging day on course but took a lot of positives from the round. Paired with So Yeon Ryu and Anna Nordqvist, Singapore’s no.1 amateur finished on a 7 over par 79.

Said Koh: “It was okay. I chipped it all right. Struggled a little bit on the back nine but apart from that I felt like I handled myself really well. Once I teed off, nerves really got into me. But I hit a good shot down the fairway, so everything was nice. After I putted the 12th, I think everything just settled me down, so I had quite a decent start and then I doubled the 15th, and then made some birdies. So I felt like I did all right. Just messed up a few holes on the back nine, but I feel good.”

Asked if she enjoyed the experience, the response was a resolute “Absolutely”, before adding, “I just want to go out and focus on hitting every shot, every hole. I had some bad holes out there but I just move on, just kept going. There's really nothing I can do, so I just want to play my own game.”

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Fairway Swapped for a Runway

Eight of the world’s top women golfers today swapped the fairway for a fashion show as they launched the eighth annual HSBC Women’s Champions in spectacular style.

The unique occasion in Singapore witnessed World Number 1 Lydia Ko (New Zealand), World Number 2 Inbee Park (Korea), World Number 5 Suzann Pettersen, World Number 6 Michelle Wie (United States), and defending HSBC Women’s champion Paula Creamer (United States) all joined on the catwalk by LPGA stars Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Jessica Korda (United States) and Chella Choi (Korea) for a stunning showcase of the latest in Asian fashion.

Inspired by the beauty of Sentosa Golf Club where the star-studded field will compete from 5th – 8th March, the elite group of golfers celebrated the launch of the tournament as they showcased the new Spring/Summer 2015 collection by pioneering lifestyle brand Shanghai Tang.

Returning to Singapore and the scene of her dramatic play-off victory, defending champion Paula Creamer said: “It brings back great memories to be in Singapore again. We always do something special with HSBC that gives us a chance to sample the local culture before the real work starts.

“Last year I was transformed into an Asian warrior which was good preparation for the mental strength needed for one of the toughest challenges in women’s golf. I love fashion so trying out some Asian inspired designs has been a really fun experience. This is a big week for me and I’m looking forward to the challenge of defending my title.”

Widely recognised as the best women’s golf event staged by the LPGA in Asia and one of the best anywhere in the world, the tournament continues to build on its reputation as ‘Asia’sMajor’ and an event for champions with only the leading players from all corners of the world invited to complete the 63 elite player field.

The line-up this year is led by the record breaking World Number 1 Lydia Ko and includes the top ten ranked golfers in the world, 19 of the world’s top 20 players on this week’s Rolex Rankings. In total, the field boasts over 200 LPGA Tour victories and a further 36 major wins.

Ko, the youngest ever World Number 1 at 17 years old comes to Singapore looking to add the prestigious title to her growing list of remarkable achievements as well as continue her winning streak following victories at the New Zealand Open championship and the LPGA Tour Australian Open in successive weeks.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, New Zealander Ko added: “I would love to win this tournament for the first time and I could think of no better place to make it three straight wins. There is something special about the championship and the festival atmosphere. The crowds are always great with so much energy, a bit like today’s fashion show! The course is tough especially when the wind picks up and the quality of field is always really strong. But I’m excited about the challenge, this is where champions win and I can’t wait to get started.”

As the only LPGA-sanctioned event held in Singapore, the US$1.4 million tournament is expecting large crowds to once again descend upon the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club for the annual showpiece which prides itself as an international festival of golf.

World Number 6 and 2014 U.S. Women’s Open Champion Michelle Wie added: “I have very fond memories of Singapore both on and off the course. It’s a place I really enjoy spending time in. I’m into fashion so it’s been an extra special start to the week. But come Thursday it will be back to serious business of golf and trying to win one of the biggest tournaments we play in all year.”

The eight golfers took to the runway dressed in Shanghai Tang’s latest collection, Spring/Summer 2015, described as the epitome of femininity and modern sophistication, with the look completed by the support of professional make-up artists from Bobbi Brown and hair stylists from Singapore’s renowned Shunji Matsuo.

For more information on the HSBC Women’s Champions 2015, please visit the tournament website at http://www.hsbcgolf.com/womens.

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Indonesian Countdown as Westwood Eyes Birthday Celebrations in Jakarta

Singapore, 4 February 2015 – The international golfing community turned its attention to Indonesia today as organisers celebrated the launch and fifth anniversary of the country’s preeminent golf tournament with an official clock to count down, the 79 days to the start of the 2015 CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.

The occasion was marked by the confirmation of three star players who will feature in 2015 edition of the tournament, in defending champion Anirban Lahiri from India, former World No. 1 Lee Westwood, and European Tour and Ryder Cup veteran, Thomas Bjorn from Denmark.   The three players will join a stellar 150 player field when the US$ 750,000 Asian Tour tournament returns to the beautiful surroundings of the Royale Jakarta Golf Club from April 23-26this year.

27 year old Lahiri will be hoping to pick up where he left off last April, when he eagled the last hole of the tournament to claim a one shot victory over Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea and 2014 Rookie of the Year Cameron Smith of Australia. Lahiri notched up a second victory in Macau and a further six top-ten finishes in a year that culminated with a second place finish on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and being voted 2014 Players’ Player of the Year for his exploits on the Asian Tour.

Speaking about his title defense in Jakarta, Lahiri said, “2014 was a very special year but it was this tournament where it really came together and set me up for the rest of the year. The eagle on the last hole is a putt I will never forget, so I have very happy memories of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters and look forward to coming back to defend my title. It’s always a very competitive tournament and a great event.”

Two time tournament champion and veteran of 41 professional wins, Lee Westwood will be looking to prove that experience counts over youth as he looks to make it three wins at the tournament he claimed back to back victories at in 2011 and 2012.  Coinciding with his birthday, landing the hat trick in Jakarta would be a welcome start to his 42nd year: 

“The CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters is a tournament that I know well and, having won twice there, I have always felt very comfortable. It’s a great course and CIMB Niaga stage a truly first class tournament. I would love to make it a hat trick of wins.” added the Englishman.

Meanwhile Denmark’s Bjorn will be hoping to rediscover the form that has seen him land prestigious titles including the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and Omega European Masters in a professional career that began back in 1993.

The veteran of six victorious European Ryder Cup campaigns said, “I’m looking forward to making my debut at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club. I’ve heard good things about the tournament and look forward to lining up alongside Anirban and Lee in April. The tournament comes quickly after the Masters so I’ll be looking for a good result in Indonesia to serve as a springboard for a successful summer in Europe.”

Speaking on behalf of the tournament sponsor, Arwin Rasyid, President Director of CIMB Niaga said, “2015 is a special year for the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters. It marks the fifthyear of the tournament as well as four years of CIMB Niaga’s involvement. During that time, the tournament has grown in stature, attracting both the best players on the Asian Tour as well as some of the most recognized names in the history of the modern game who come to compete in Indonesia. 

“In addition to our  continued support for junior golf development in Indonesia, it is our hope that the tournament will inspire a future generation of Indonesians to fulfill their potential as players and represent our country on the world stage in years to come”, added Arwin.

 Asian Tour Chairman Kyi HlaHan said, “Through the CIMB Niaga’s commitment and sponsorship, the Indonesian Masters has grown into one of the most popular events on our Schedule since2011 where it has attracted many leading stars. The exciting event is also an important fixture for the Indonesian golfers as it provides them with the opportunity to play against the best players from the Asian Tour and also the world.”

 The countdown clock will beon public display between now and the tournament at the Royale Jakarta GolfClub, CIMB Tower and the JS Luwansa Hotel and Convention Center which will once again be the Official Hotel of the tournament, providing hospitality and accommodation for players and tournament officials.

 Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour of Indonesia, the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters will feature 24 Indonesian golfers, 20 professionals from the PGTI and four of Indonesia’s top amateurs who will compete in the 150 player field over 72 holes of individual stroke play.

 

For more information on the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters visit:

 http://www.indonesianmasters.co.id/

https://www.facebook.com/indonesianmasters.

 

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Tiger’s Back? Or Tiger’s back?

Is Tiger back? Or rather, Tiger’s Back, back? Will Rory finally win the Masters? Will Fowler win anything (on the back of top 5 finishes in all four majors in a single season… a feat achieved only by Jack Nicklaus and our protagonist himself!)

Uncertain times indeed but since the other two young uns have a long way to go, let’s focus on the former – it still feels strangely unbelievable saying this – world number one and his incredible decline.

Bothered by a troublesome back, he finally called it quits for pretty much the rest of the year after a surgery for a pinched nerve at the end of March. Through the months, Rory won another two majors and returned to the top of the world golf rankings. When Tiger returned, his game was in tethers, rightly so, missing cuts and failing to consistently break par. Then he announced his split with Sean Foley – the only coach to not have gotten him a major trophy. Folks were calling him to return to Butch Harmon but he ended up with young upstart Chris Como, adding to the mystique of the man everyone once feared.

Nonetheless, at the final event of the year, the Hero World Challenge, benefitting his own foundation, Tiger showed fluidity and power not seen since his old days – “I’ve been watching videos of myself when I was a teenager” – and glimpses of his explosive past returned. It wasn’t enough to win the tournament or even place top 10 but signs are that the man, now aged 39, may be back to his pain-free best.

Whether or not that puts him in contention for majors and finally crawl closer to Nicklaus’s record 18 (do people still talk about that?), or if he can cut it with Rory, Rickie or the many others who have pulled up socks over the past 7 years since his US Open dream win at Torrey Pines, that’s the most exciting thing for us here at GP Towers to see.

Let’s just hope he can keep his right knee, lower back, soccer days or whatever else taking him away from that round white ball, firmly in check as we wait with bated breath to Augusta National.

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Singapore Open To Return In 2016

After a three-year absence, Singapore’s iconic national Open will make a welcome return with a new title sponsor and sanctioning partner.

Last staged in 2012, the SMBC Singapore Open is set to thrill local golf fans and global audiences alike when it roars back to life from January 28 to 31, 2016 at the scene of past dramatic editions, the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), one of Japan’s leading financial institutions and a growing presence in the banking sector in Asia and worldwide, has taken on the mantle as title sponsor with this landmark three-year association with golf in Singapore.

“We are honoured to be the title sponsor and support the tournament as the SMBC Singapore Open,” said Mr. Masayuki Shimura, Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific Division, SMBC.

“The Singapore Open has great history, great champions, and is recognized globally as one of the premier golf tournaments. We look forward to adding to that legacy and further expanding our corporate brand in Asia with our growing focus to the region, as well as contributing to the expansion of golf in Asia through the development of the next generation golfers in Asia.”

Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han was effusive. “The Singapore Open was always one of our best events and one that our members strove to compete well in. t is tremendous to have it back as it is an important event for our region and our tour. On behalf of our members would like to thank SMBC for their support and we eagerly look forward to teeing it up a year from now.”

Further emphasising the new direction of the event, the SMBC Singapore Open will be co- sanctioned for the first time by previous partner the Asian Tour and a new partner in the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO).

“The J TO is honoured to have been invited to sanction the SMBC Singapore Open. The opportunity for our members to compete in such a world class event is truly exceptional and we thank SMBC, the Asian Tour, the Singapore Golf Association and World Sport Group for this opportunity. I am certain our members will relish the chance to play here and undoubtedly want to add their name to the list of formidable champions,” added Katsuji Ebisawa, chairman of the JGTO.

With a minimum prize purse of US$1million, the SMBC Singapore Open will also entice some of the world’s best players to tackle the award winning Serapong Course.

Home to the event from 2005 to 2012, the Serapong Course will once again prove a stern test to Asia Pacific’s and the world’s best players. Australian star Adam Scott won the event a record three times in 2005, 2006 and 2010.“ olfing fans in Singapore can once again mark the dates in their calendar in anticipation of our national Open. It makes it more fitting that we are able to announce those dates, exactly one year from when the first ball will be struck in the next edition of our prestigious championship. The Singapore Golf Association (SGA) is grateful to SMBC and World Sport Group for their commitment to the event and I am certain that its tradition of excellence will remain unrivalled,” said Mr Bob Tan, President of the S A.

“The chance for our home talent, both professional and amateur, to test their mettle on a stage such as this only augers well for the development of the game.”

The SMBC Singapore Open will feature a field of the top 60 from the Asian Tour, top 60 from the JGTO, top Singapore professionals and amateurs and invites including players from the top 50 in the world.

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Qualifying School Hopefuls Get Ready For First Test In Thailand

Hua Hin, Thailand, January 6: Golfers dreaming of stamping their mark on the Asian Tour will face their first hurdle when they tee up in the Asian Tour Qualifying School Stage One, Section A starting on Wednesday. 

Over 430 players from around the world have signed up for the First Stage of Qualifying School presented by Sports Authority of Thailand, with Section A taking place at the Imperial Lakeview Golf Club in Hua Hin and Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club in Khon Kaen, Thailand this week.

Section B of the First Stage will continue next week at Imperial Lakeview and Springfield Royal Country Club in Hua Hin. 

After four rounds, the top 22% of the starting field at each course will qualify for the all-important Final Stage at Springfield Royal and Imperial Lakeview from January 21-24 where the top-40 finishers and ties will earn playing privileges on the Asian Tour in 2015. 

Those who compete in the Qualifying School, considered as one of the toughest tests in golf, will enjoy playing rights on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).

A total of 131 players are already exempted into the Final Stage where they will be joined by those who successfully negotiate past the First Stage.

For the First Stage, Korea has the highest number of participants with a total of 43 entries followed by Australia (38), United States (33), Japan (32), Thailand (28), England (19), New Zealand (9) and South Africa (9).

Sweden (9), Spain (8), Finland (7), Taiwan (7), Canada (6), Germany (5), India (5), Singapore (5), France (5), Scotland (3), Philippines (3), Austria (2), Denmark (2), Ireland (2), Estonia (1), Bangladesh (1), Turkey (1) and Indonesia (1) will also be represented at the first stage of the Qualifying School.

Over the years, the Asian Tour Qualifying School has proven to be the springboard to success for many of the region’s recognisable names.

With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.

This year’s Qualifying School hopefuls will be looking to emulate the success of past graduates such as newly-crowned 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion David Lipsky of the United States, who topped the class in 2012, as well as Thai heroes Thongchai Jaidee, who is a three-time Order of Merit champion, and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Asia’s number one in 2013 and Korea’s Noh Seung-yul, who won the Merit list in 2010.

Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg and Berry Henson of the United States, who came through the Qualifying School First Stage in 2010 and 2011 respectively before going on to earn their Tour cards, have also successfully made their winning breakthrough on the region’s premier Tour.

Other graduates who have become Tour champions include Korea’s Charlie Wi, India’s Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal, England’s Simon Dyson, Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Malaysia’s Ben Leong, Australian Scott Hend and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh.

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Mizuno Laguna National Golf Championship

For 3 days from November 24 to 26, Mizuno Corporation will host its fourth annual golf tournament at Laguna National Golf and Country Club; one of the highlights in the junior golf calendar that has attracted 25 boys and 15 girls from the golf clubs around the country and one representative, Kim Min Seok, from Sedana Golf Club in Indonesia who actually came in 1st runner up in the boys ‘B’ division.

These may be young uns from 12 to 17 years old but there is nothing immature about their display. Kim, for instance returned with a 3-day gross of 217. That’s after shooting 75, 74, 68 at the famed Laguna Masters course. The winner in his division, Louis Tee from Seletar Country Club, was 4 full strokes ahead at 213 after carding 72, 68, 73. The only one who managed to do better than that was Laguna’s own pride and joy Desmond Kim whose 211 overall (68, 72, 71) was enough to crown his overall champ at the Mizuno Laguna National Golf Championships. As for the girls, Kaho Monica Matsubara of Orchid Country Club took full honours with a 214 (73, 72, 69) performance that’ll ensure that she, together with Desmond, will bring home a set of custom-fitted Mizuno irons apart from the trophy.

The junior competition for youths is an initiative by Mizuno Corporation and RSH Singapore to promote interest and participation in the game of golf and to create an atmosphere of sportsmanship and camaraderie that will bring out the best in young golfers here. A World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) counting event, the winners and top performers of this event will certainly be looking to test their verve against the very best kids in the world.

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World Record: The Longest Drive

WORDS BY: BENNY TEO

A supe up golf cart, two crazy blokes, and a world record...

Two fellas, driving a golf cart 1,200 kilometres looking to make a world record for madness. Oh, and some golf along the way… if this is not GolfPunk, we don’t know what is.

Graham Haslam (50), a former Tour caddy and his buddy Mark Cameron (47), an oil and gas executive, will attempt a 24-day drive through 9 provinces next March. From the Hard Rock Hotel in Pattaya to the same in Phuket, there’s a proper world record for the longest drive in a golf cart to be set!

Haslam, who has been involved with the “Phuket Has Been Good To Us” charity, had been brewing this idea for the past 18 months, is preparing a super-cart with solar panels which will help to increase the power per charge by 20%, giving the cart a range of approximately 70km. Thereafter, it takes a full 8 hours to decharge and recharge the batteries

For 3 months already and for the next 6 months this will be full time work for Haslam getting a the cart perfect, and ensuring there are sufficient power stops along the way, with support crews in place, whilst Cameron is working hard on securing major sponsors in the oil and gas industry both here in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Both are committed to generating THB3million for the foundation.

The exact origins of the drive have been lost in a haze but we know that when Hard Rock jumped on the bandwagon, the rest, as they say, is history. Together, the two will drive and play various top Thai courses with special guest appearances by Asian Tour professional Berry Henson (Haslam used to carry his bag), hacking from Pattaya (Burapha Golf Course, Laem Chabang Golf Course), across to Hua Hin (Banyan and Springfield Royal CC), to the island of Koh Samui (Santiburi Samui), before finishing at Laguna Phuket. That, to us, should make for some sort of record as well.

There will be no problem recognising the pair should they be at a golf course near you as they are sponsored by GOT shirts and Loud Mouth golf apparel. And should the golf cart start to fall behind schedule, Phuket-based racing driver Dylan Young may be called in to make up lost time.

Haslam and Cameron will also be playing the famous St Andrews Old Course during the trip by paying a visit to GolfZone’s golf simulator in Ekkamai, Bangkok. The world record attempt will conclude with a gala fundraising event at the Phuket Hard Rock Café where the drive will be recognised by Guinness World Records as a new world record, and the actual golf cart used on the journey will be auctioned off to raise further money for the charity.

At this point in time, we are deliberating joining them at some point during the journey to celebrate the madness as well…

 

http://www.phukethasbeengoodtous.org

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