JOHOR BARU: The baby of the Asian Tour, the Iskandar Johor Open, which ended at the Royal Johor Country Club(RJCC) on Sunday, will have hefty increase in prize money next year.
Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman gave the assurance after seeing Filipino Artemio Murakami walk away with the winner’s purse of US$47,550.
“It will be more that US$500,000. Sponsors have already called me saying that they want to back next year’s event. And those who sponsored this year’s event have promised to increase their figures,” said Abdul Ghani.
The title sponsors for the inaugural tournament, which offered a total of US$300,000 in prize money, were Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). The IRDA undertake the task to develop art, culture, sport and recreational activities in the Iskandar Development Region.
“Money is not a problem. Sponsors are already knocking on the door. This is a good sign and I am happy with the success of the inaugural meet. We want to make the Open a major event on the Asian Tour,” said Abdul Ghani.
“It is the best way to promote the Iskandar Region. I thank the participating sponsors, among them Danga Bay, CIMB Group and Kuok Brothers, for their invaluable contributions and support.
“We also plan to bring some of the big names in the golf world to compete in the Johor Open.
“It will further reinforce Johor’s push to be the premium international sporting hub in the region as we continue to attract world-class sports events.”
Ghani, who is a keen golfer, was somewhat disappointed that none of the Malaysians – 24 professionals and six amateurs – managed to finish among the top bracket in the field of 156 golfers from 24 countries.
The best Malaysian finishers were Pakistan Open champion Airil Rizman Zahari and S. Sivachandran in joint 16th spot with a four-round total of 287.
The 24-year-old Murakami, who won his maiden professional Tour title with a total of five-under 279, said that he would be back to defend the crown next year.
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