SHAH ALAM: The 116th Malaysian Amateur Open (MAO) golf championship, to be held at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf and Country Club (SAASGC) from May 10-13, will feature the biggest field in the tournament history.
MAO organisers Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) announced yesterday that a total of 136 players from 16 nations — including 69 Malaysians — will be teeing in the prestigious event.
Last year’s edition in Kota Kinabalu saw 113 players took part.
“The MAO is popular this year,” said MGA president Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor.
“The response was so overwhelming that we had no option but to limit our field to 136 players having at first received 164 entries.
“The course can’t accommodate more than that for the tournament to run optimally.
“Still, this year’s MAO boast the biggest field in the entire history since it was inaugurated in 1894.”
The MAO has always been a must-play tournament for many top amateurs in this region.
The past edtions have been graced by the likes of four-time US PGA Tour champion Robert Allenby of Australia, three Asian Tour No.1s including Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, Philippines’ Juvic Pangusan as well as Malaysia’s very own star Gavin Kyle Green.
Gavin was the last Malaysian to emerge winner in 2012.
United States-based Galven Kendall Green will aiming to emulate his brother Gavin’s feat when he returns to lead the local charge.
The other top Malaysian amateurs are Adam Arif Madzri, Muhd Afif Fathi, K. Rhaasrikanesh, Mohd Afif Razif and Zubair Firdaus.
It’s worth also noting that R. Nachimuthu was the only other local besides Gavin in the last 20 years. Nachimuthu won it in 1997.
This year’s challenge will just be as tough as Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana and Witchayanon Chothirungrungrueng, the champion and runner-up of last year, have both confirmed to play this year.
The Thai contingent will be looking to continue their domination after they ruled four of the top five finishes last year.
Their fourth and fifth-placed finishers Kosuke Hamamoto and Atiruj Winaicharonechai are also in the 136-man field.
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