IT may be their first visit to Penang, but it did not stop Australia’s Royal Harts from teeing their way to glory in the third leg of the World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Championship (WAITGC) at the Penang Golf Club in Bukit Jambul.
Blended with players from two major golf clubs in Perth, the Royal Perth Golf Club and the Hart Field Golf Club, they were back in Malaysia to make a serious bid for a place in the grand final and to defend the crown they won last year.
They succeeded in conquering the greens, both at the Penang Golf Resort in Bertam and at the Penang Golf Club in Bukit Jambul.
The quartet in Peter Bennet, Paul Chappel, Micheal Prindiville and their skipper Glenn Wilson fired their way to a total score of 932 strokes to be crowned the Gross champ of the third leg challenge.
“It is indeed our first ever visit to Penang, though this is our third year competing in this World Amateur Inter-Team challenge,” said Wilson shortly after the prize presentation.
“I must admit that it was the lure of the good food in Penang that led us to this island to make our title defence.
“Believe me, we never for a moment regretted the decision.
“Although we were not really given the opportunity to travel to the numerous tourist spots due to our tight schedule in the championship, Penang lived up to its claim of good food.
“Now that we have successfully confirmed our place in the grand finals, rest assured that we will be bringing our families along in November and hopefully, take time off for another visit to Penang, this time as tourists.”
Wilson, however, was not surprised with their success on the greens and being crowned champions at the end of the four-day challenge recently.
“We knew we were here with a task and that was to quickly confirm our place in the grand final and make our title defence of the crown we had won last year a reality,” added Wilson.
“We also knew that it was not going to be easy, taking into consideration the presence of numerous golfers from around this region such as Brunei, Singapore, India and Malaysia.
“But driven by that special desire in wanting to make good of the round, I am pleased that we managed to stay focused and it paid off in the end. We had a good time on the greens.”
Royal Harts added an individual honour to their name when Chappel was adjudged the Best Individual Gross Winner, posting a score of 302 strokes.
Wilson, however, was not wrong in his assessment of the Brunei golfers.
Calling themselves Anak Kedayan, the quartet in Pg Hj Shaiful Rizal Pehin, Md Khairul Sirajul Fikri, Suhaimi Ibrahim and Mohammed Qawim Fakhri carded a 936-stroke total to finish a close second.
Although they lost by a mere four strokes, their efforts were still good enough for them to finish ahead of another Australian contender, Red Winer.
The team, comprising Scott Evans, Peter Ferris, Ian Howard and Ian Smith, returned a combined total of 968 strokes to take third spot.
The fourth round of the six-leg preliminary round challenge will be held at the Gunong Raya Golf Resort and the ELS Club Teluk Datai in Langkawi on June 9-12.
The other two remaining rounds before the grand final showdown in Malacca in November will see Sarawak hosting the fifth leg on Aug 25-28, with Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya joining hands to bring on the sixth round at the Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam and the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club on Sept 29-Oct 2.
Team Gross: 1. Royal Harts (Aus) 932 strokes: Peter Bennet (237), Paul Chappel (229), Micheal Prindiville (233), Glenn Wilson (233); 2. Anak Kedayan (Bru) 936 strokes: Pg Hj Shaiful Rizal Pehin (243), Md Khairul Sirajul Fikri (241), Suhaimi Ibrahim (225), Mohammed Qawim Fakhri (227); 3. Red Winer (Aus) 968 strokes: Scott Evans (241), Peter Ferris (254), Ian Howard (244), Ian Smith (229).
Team Stableford: 1. Kabak Kabak Stringers (Bru) 467 points: Eddy Ruddy Sahroni (118), Ahmad Izzat (113), Fa’ez Ahmad (118), Ysurin Kahar (118); 2. Enjoy (Aus) Jason Chin (110), George Chong (117), Alan Wong (119), Joseph Ho (111).