• Amish Jaitha of India takes Angkor Amateur Open title

      • Record turnout for Amateur Open



        The sixth annual Angkor Amateur Open teeing off tomorrow at the Sir Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap has been fully subscribed, surpassing last year’s record turnout.
        The strongest field of 126 ever assembled for the Kingdom’s blue-ribbon amateur golf event includes three past winners – American Don Bland, Cambodian Ly Hong and reigning champion Michael Moir of Scotland.

        With players from 17 countries to swing into action, the race for the overall title will be as fierce as it will be exciting. Left-hander Ly Hong will lead the local charge in the company of 16 compatriots as he tries to recapture the title he won in 2012.
        The talk of the contest is American Eddie Cho, who has a handicap of 2 and will be hoping to make that form count.

        Scotland’s Michael Moir will attempt to defend his Angkor Amateur Open title this weekend at the Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap. PHOTO SUPPLIED 

        Division A has its strength in depth, with a dozen players holding handicaps ranging from 0 to 5 and 30 more players with handicaps below 8.
        The largest group of 44 players falling into the 11-19 handicap bracket will contest Division B, while 22 players figure in Division C.
        The women’s event has attracted a record 18 players, and all of a very competitive standard. Phnom Penh resident Aim Guilfoyle is among those fancied for the title, in a field filled with a number of seasoned Singaporean players.

        The star attraction once again will be Australian professional Scott Hend, who will conduct a clinic for the benefit of the players during today’s practice session.
        After a record 2013 season on the Asian Tour, Hend finished second on last year’s Order of Merit, claiming three titles and racking up a whopping $600,000 in prize money along the way.
        “It is a mark of the stature of both the venue and the event that the Australian pro has always been eager to get back to AGR,” resort director of golf David Baron told the Post yesterday.
        “In return for the hospitality shown, Hend is a willing ambassador for Siem Reap golf tourism while travelling the world on the professional circuit.”

        He added: “I am delighted by the turnout and response we’ve had this year. In recent years the event has become well established and continues to grow each year.
        “The Amateur Open is a professionally organised tournament on a world class course but we also focus heavily on ensuring the over-all hospitality and guest experience is memorable.
        “We want guests to have fond memories of Cambodia when they return home and encourage their friends to visit the Kingdom,” added Baron, who is a member of the British PGA.

        In addition to numerous value-added perks included in the player’s package, there are over $10,000 worth of prizes to compete for. These range from luxury all-inclusive golf holidays to Vietnam, Bali and Malaysia to an array of top-end golf equipment and goodies.
        Away from the heat of the battle, also on the program is the Charity Challenge, with all donations going to a local charity organisation in Siem Reap province.
      • Big field for Angkor Open



        This year’s Angkor Amateur Golf Open is set to get bigger and better than ever before with the August 9-10 event at the Sir Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap almost fully subscribed, well before the entry deadline two weeks from now.

        The expected line-up of 128 players will be a reflection of the event’s growing popularity among international amateur golf adventurers and Siem Reap’s global appeal as an exciting tourism sport destination.
        “With a growing field of international players, it is important that we continue to enhance the event each year, and this year will be no different,” AGR director of golf David Baron told the Post yesterday.

        Australian professional golfer Scott Hend is set to be the star attraction at the Angkor Amateur Golf Open on August 9-10 at the Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap. AFP


        “We are delighted to have teamed up with a growing number of prestigious sponsors and partners this year, including our long-term, loyal supporters. “We must express our gratitude to Tiger Beer for once again being the lead sponsor and exclusive beer during the tournament and gala dinner.
        “This is something the competitors very much look forward to,” he added.

        Major golfing brands such as Titleist and Taylormade have shown their support this year along with Fenix Golf and Malaysia’s leading golf retail distributor Transview Golf, adding a number of attractive prizes. Johnnie Walker also makes a return to the Cambodian golf scene by coming forward to support the event.

        The weekend’s star attraction will be the return of the big hitting Australian professional Scott Hend, who finished second on the Asian Tour money list last year.
        After a good run on the Asian and European tour, Hend will once again challenge the risk for reward Faldo course at AGR, sharing some golf time and experience with the competitors.
        Players can challenge the Australian pro on par-3 holes and also benefit from his complimentary golf clinic.

        The event will also be loaded with fun and entertainment for the players. The AGR has teamed up with the immensely talented and popular Phare Cambodian Circus, whose artists will showcase their skills during the weekend.
        On the top of this exciting show, the players will also be treated to some lilting music by one of the Kingdom’s most sought after eight-piece band, CamboJam.
      • Thai student fires record 66 on way to Faldo Series honours

      • Three locals in fray for Faldo Series honours



        Young golfers from six countries will compete for a spot in next year’s Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills in China when the third edition of the Cambodian leg of the Faldo Series Asia tees off this Saturday at the award-winning Sir Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap.
        Split into three different categories this year, the 25 golfers in the fray – 17 boys and eight girls – will vie for five Mission Hills tickets on offer.

        Sir Nick Faldo will offer at least one Cambodian a place in his Series Asia Grand Final next year in China. AFP

        The winner of the Boys U21 group and two qualifiers each from the Boys U16 and Girls sections based on the best 36 hole gross score will be eligible to take part in the ninth Asia Grand Final, which is a world amateur golf ranking event.
        As a special gesture, six-time Major winner Faldo has offered a place in the Grand Final for the best performing Cambodian among the three in contention this year irrespective of their order of finish.
        While Sokhamony Thong and Pich Meta will represent Cambodia in the Boys U21 category, 14-year-old Tevy Sareoun is among the eight contestants in the Girls competition.

        It may be recalled that a similar special offer had been made to Cambodia’s lone competitor Seng Vanseiha in 2012 despite him finishing down the field. But for personal reasons the youngster could not make the trip.
        “We hope to build on the success of the last two years and benefit more young golfers from Cambodia and neighbouring countries,” AGR director of golf David Baron told the Post yesterday.
        Thailand heads the list of entries with 15. The others in the field are three Cambodians, three South Koreans and one each from Malaysia and the United States. Interestingly, there are also a pair of twins from New Zealand of Cambodian lineage.

        The first round tees off at 9am on Saturday with the final round beginning at 8:30am on Sunday.
        The 2013/2014 Faldo Series Asia schedule features a record 22 tournaments in 18 countries, including four in mainland China, two in India and others in the Philippines, Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand. Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia are new additions to the ever growing list of Faldo Series venues.

        The series is supported by The R&A, ISPS Handa and Mission Hills and is endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Federation.
        In keeping with the Faldo Series’ convention of encouraging grassroots development alongside top class competitive experience, the AGR will be organising a clinic for 20 students from the Siem Reap-based charity organisation Build Your Future Today (BFT).
        Founded by a Khmer Rouge survivor, BFT is working to make life better for the locals.
      • Faldo to cast eye on locals



        Six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo will be watching closely the performances of local golfers, particularly teenagers Tevy Saroeun and Thong Sokhamony, who are expected to lead the Cambodian charge in the third edition of the Faldo Series Asia event lined up for Siem Reap’s Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort from July 11 to 13.

        “I take enormous pride in helping the game take-off in non-traditional golfing nations. Seeing golf grow in popularity in Cambodia is tremendously rewarding for everyone involved in the Faldo Series,” said Sir Nick in a communication released to the Post on Monday.
        “I’m greatly encouraged by the progress we have witnessed over the past two years since we launched the Faldo Series Cambodia Championship and I’ll be following closely the performances of the local players.”

        Thong Sokhamony will lead the local challenge in the Faldo Series Cambodia Championship. PHOTO SUPPLIED

        In the girls section, 14-year-old Tevy Saroeun, being talked about as a fast emerging talent, is bound to garner lot of attention while Cambodian hopes among the boys will be pinned on 18-year-old Thong Sokhamony.

        “I have strong hopes that Saroeun or Sokhamony can make the breakthrough for Cambodia this year by qualifying for the Grand Final. It would be a reward for the effort that they have put into their games,” said AGR’s director of golf David Baron. “Supporting junior golf is an underlying goal of ours, which is why we are delighted to continue our partnership with the Faldo Series Asia by once again hosting the event,” he added.

        Players from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand, apart from local players, made up last year’s field. Though players from the Asia-Pacific region are expected to make the bulk of this year’s field, the event organisers are hopeful of an uptake in local participation.
        For the first time, Cambodian juniors will be invited to take part in an unofficial age category so as to help them get valuable competitive experience.
        A grass-roots clinic, which is almost an integral part of a Faldo Series event, affords the local student community the best chance to enjoy an introduction to golf.