It was 12 years ago that Michael Moir beat the freezing cold to win the Scottish Boys Golf Championship at his home town course of Royal Aberdeen.
At the Sir Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap yesterday, the Scot, now a proud owner of Bangkok-based sports-apparel brand Fenix, relived that teenage triumph in parts to grab top honours in the Angkor Amateur Open after a suspense-filled final round.
He had six layers of clothing when he made that piece of history as a teenager in sub-zero conditions. But on a hot, windless day in the city famous for Angkorian-era temples, he could have done with a bare minimum.
“Sure of that” Moir coyly told the Post in a clubhouse conversation after his two round gross 148 was good enough to edge out last year’s winner Cambodia’s Ly Hong, who was agonisingly one behind at 149.
The left-handed Ly Hong, who had carried the Kingdom’s aspirations both at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, found the drink instead of the fairway on the 18th and with it drowned his chances of forcing a possible play-off. The Scotsman came away safe and sound, though his second round five-over par was a pale shadow of his brilliant first round 71, which in fact matched an identical round by guest professional Scott Hend.
Australian Hend, who is indisputably the longest hitter on the Asian Tour, marked his inspirational presence with a second round 69 for a regal four under 140. The bar was so high that the Beat the Pro challenge, which carried some lucrative offers for the novices, was never quite on.
“This is my first visit to Cambodia. I like the course. Driving from the black tees makes a huge difference and I really enjoyed my golf and the hospitality,” Hend, who has made Flordia his home for the past 10 years, told the Post.
The fifth edition of this growingly popular amateur event will be long remembered for a happy coincidence of an Australian pro and a Scottish amateur raising its profile and polishing its image.
Hend was the first pro to wear Moir’s Fenix brand, which indeed sponsored the Australian in Siem Reap this year. In the end, it turned out to be a win-win for both Hend, who arrived from Russia two days before the event and Moir, whose father is a long time resident of Phnom Penh.
“I missed last year’s event, [so] I am happy to be here winning this year,” said Moir, who had a word of praise for some of the Cambodian golfers he played with.“I think some of the Cambodian players like Ly Hong are really good. The country needs some time to develop.”
While three past winners, Tim Orgill, Don Bland and Ly Hong lined up this year, the fourth, Stuart Puzzey could not make it.Despite that disappointment of losing out on the title, Ly Hong had his own rewarding moment when he was declared the winner of Division 1 on the basis of his net 139 ahead of Australia’s Mark Penfold, who also recorded the same total but was relegated to second on the count-back system.
With a net 142, Rahoul won Division 2 ahead of the 144 posted by Thong Sokhamony, who was Cambodia’s lone entry in the recently held Faldo Series event at the same venue.
Ros Sarin (net 141) came out on top in Division 3 ahead of Chua Meng Ann (144).
Karen Buenaventura of the Philippines was too good for her only rival for the women’s title, Rosemarie Gale of Australia. The Filipino posted an impressive two-round net of 143 to Gale’s 182.
“This year we set three new records,” said AGR Director of Golf David Baron.
“We had the largest number of entries ever – well over 100. We had the largest number of nationalities represented at 14 and we had the largest number of repeat guests.”