THE speculation surrounding the Prudential Astro Masters was quashed this week when the tournament series was launched in Petaling Jaya, albeit with a schedule almost half of that of last year.
Explaining the decision to reduce the number of qualifying rounds from 19 last year to 10, event’s organising chairman P. Jeganathan said this was to “introduce more exclusivity” to the series.
“We celebrated 20 years last year and decided, after an assessment, to cut the number of qualifiers with a view to making the tournament an even greater player experience for the participants.
“The qualifying rounds will be played at top five courses in Malaysia and we’ll host the grand final in Cambodia. Added to this, there will be a hole-in-one prize of a golf tour package for two in Scotland and many other attractive prizes.
“The Prudential Astro Masters remains the most popular amateur series in the country and is arguably the most awaited golf event of the year,” said Jeganathan, who added that there were prizes worth more than RM300,000 to be won.
“The search for the best amateur golfer is on again this year with the 21st edition of the Prudential Astro Masters, making it the most successful national amateur series in Malaysia.
“And it’s an event that offers amateur players an arena to show off their talent, while trying to qualify to compete at the grand final in Phnom Penh,” he added.
Speaking after the launch, Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad Chief Customer and Marketing Officer Eric Wong said they were especially pleased to be part of the tournament again.
“The reason is because this year is the 10th successive year that Prudential is the title sponsor of this most prestigious national amateur golf series.
“Indeed, it has been our privilege to partner Astro for the past decade and, we are excited and honoured to be part of the Astro Masters’ journey,” said Wong.
“We at Prudential believe that sports play an important role in Malaysian culture and has a tremendous power to inspire and unite us as a nation.
“Thus, we hope that tournaments such as the Prudential Astro Masters will continue to provide opportunities and platforms to discover more local golf talent. And as a proud supporter of dreams, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to try and succeed.”
The Star executive editor Brian Martin, said: “This is a huge tournament on the local amateur calendar and Prudential and Astro have done a good job over the last 10 years.
“The event is defenitely a big boost for the Malaysian amateur game and to see the tournament enter its third decade is testimony to its importance to the thousands of players who have paticipated in it over the years.”
The Star Media Group is one of the tournament’s main sponsors.
The tournament tees off at Tropicana Golf & Country Club in Petaling Jaya on Aug 1 and will be played in five states across Malaysia. The 10th and final qualifier will also be held at Tropicana on Oct 18.
The gross and nett champions from each of the qualifiers will earn automatic entry into the 2018 grand final at Grand Phnom Golf Club and Garden City Golf Club in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
The hole-in-one prize of a golf tour package for two includes air tickets, accommodation and a round of golf at St Andrews Golf Club in Scotland and is worth more than RM30,000.
There is also a sure-to-win hole-in-one prize of a 65-inch Panasonic LED full HD television.
The Prudential Astro Masters will be played with a Strokeplay format and golf enthusiasts can catch the event’s highlights on Astro SuperSport 3 HD and on mobile devices via Astro Go.
The tournament’s sponsors this year include Panasonic, Malindo Air, Star Media Group, Bestour Travel, Titoni, Bridgestone Golf, Crest Link, Delsey Luggage, VinsGolf, Nu-prep, 100 Plus, Golf Malaysia, Smart Investor, Sunplay, Jake’s Charbroil, Tropicana Golf & Country Club, Fresh & White, Spectrum Outdoor, Cowa Coconut Water, Carlsberg Smooth Draught, Active Guard, Astro SuperSport, Nunature, Munchy’s, The Edge, Black & White Grp and McCallan Whisky.
Astro customers are entitled to a special registration fee of RM350, while non-subscribers get to register for a fee of RM450.
Registration can be done at www.tfcmgolf.com