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Tuesday October 9, 2012

Thongchai and Garcia join the fray for Iskandar Johor Open

PETALING JAYA: Three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Europe’s Ryder Cup hero Sergio Garcia of Spain will star in the sixth edition of the Iskandar Johor Open, which will be the Asian Tour season finale, from Dec 13-16.

The US$2mil (RM6.2mil) showpiece will be staged at the award-winning Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club for the third consecutive year.

The Iskandar Johor Open was officially launched by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who is also chairman of Iskandar Johor Open organising committee.

Also present at yesterday’s press conference, hosted by the Johor Golf Association, were Tunku Abdul Majid Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, president of Johor Golf Association, Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han and Grant Slack, vice-president of Golf Division, IMG.

The full-field Asian Tour tournament will feature 120 golfers.

World No. 19 Garcia, who has 23 victories around the world and secured a crucial singles victory over Jim Furyk in Europe’s stunning victory over the United States in the recent Ryder Cup, will make his first appearance in Malaysia at the Iskandar Johor Open.

“Playing in the Iskandar Johor Open this year will mark my first time in Malaysia, so I’m very keen to see what the course and country are like. I enjoy playing in Asia and have had some good results in that part of the world so I hope I can continue my current form to produce a good performance in December,” said Garcia.

Decorated Thai star Thongchai, who has won an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns and 13 titles, is enjoying a spectacular season thus far following his first win on European soil when he bagged the Wales Open in June.

“I have won the Malaysian Open title twice and I always enjoy competing in Malaysia. It will be my goal to try to win the Iskandar Johor Open in December,” said Thongchai.

Ghani, meanwhile, expects this year’s Iskandar Johor Open to be an enthralling affair.

“With much at stake as the season-ending event on the Asian Tour, we are anticipating one of our strongest line-ups ever,” said Ghani.

“The coveted Asian Tour Order of Merit crown will be confirmed at the Iskandar Johor Open and, therefore, the results at Horizon Hills will have a big impact on who takes the top spot for the 2012 season.”

Last year’s event saw Dutchman Joost Luiten claim the prestigious Iskandar Johor Open trophy and his maiden professional victory.

Luiten joined a prestigious list of tournament winners which includes South Korea’s K.J. Choi (2009) and South Africa’s Retief Goosen (2008).

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