Kota Kinabalu [SABAH]: The Sabah Masters, one of the region’s most respected tournaments, will bring the ASEAN PGA Tour season to another thrilling conclusion from January 6-9, boasting a new title sponsor in Warisan Harta Sabah.
Also in an exciting move the US$100,000 tournament will be sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM) for the first time.
The tournament also welcomes back Sabah Tourism Board as the tournament custodian.
“Title sponsoring the Sabah Masters is a great fit as our agenda is focused on developing Sabah and increasing its appeal as a business and investment destination,” said Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Hj. Abu Bakar @ Wahab Bin Hj Abas.
“The Warisan Harta Sabah Masters will provide everyone with the perfect start to the golfing year and we are looking forward to this new headline partnership,” he added.
Warisan Harta Sabah is the investment arm of the Sabah State Government and was set up to support the State Government’s vision of transforming Sabah into a progressive and developed state.
“We brought the Sabah Masters back onto the schedule in 2011 and it is with great delight we now look forward to its fifth edition with an outstanding title sponsor in Warisan Harta Sabah,” said ASEAN PGA Tour chairman A.C. Wong.
“This year we are equally excited to be working with the Asian Development Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia.”
The Warisan Harta Sabah Masters will determine the final ASEAN PGA Tour Order of Merit places which will be of further significance this year as the top three players will get into the SMBC Singapore Open in two weeks time.
While the tournament will bring the ASEAN PGA Tour season to a close it will be the opening event on the ADT’s new season.
“The Asian Development Tour is delighted to sanction the Warisan Harta Sabah Masters for the first time in 2016. Through the ADT’s involvement, the tournament will receive Official World Golf Ranking status which will be a boost for the region’s rising stars.
“We look forward to a successful tournament this week and would like to thank all sponsors for their support of the game,” Asian Tour associate director Irfan Hamid.
“The Sabah Masters has long been one of Malaysia’s most popular and high profile events and it is a key component of the PGAM’s annual programme,” said PGAM president Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Abdul Ghani Othman.
The 2015/2016 ASEAN PGA Tour season sees four events staged in Malaysia, with three of those, in Impian, Penang and Port Dickson, jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour.
Singapore’s Mardan Mamat claimed his first Sabah Masters title and fourth ASEAN PGA Tour victory in January last year while Thailand’s Wisut Artjanawat triumphed in 2011 and 2014 and Filipino Antonio Lascuna won in 2013.
The tournament has a storied history with some great names having claimed the title including Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant in 1996.
“Mardan Mamat’s brilliant victory last year in the Sabah Masters is a fine example of the stature and calibre of the tournament and the reason why we at the Sabah Tourism Board feel it is so important to associate ourselves with the event,” said Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
This will mark the fifth successive season Sutera Harbour has hosted the tournament. However, it was also staged at the impressive venue in 1999 when American Robert Huxtable triumphed.
The 384-acre resort provides a spectacular array of activities including luxurious five-star hotels, a championship golf course, a marina and other recreational facilities.
Designed by leading golf course designer Graham Marsh, Sutera Harbour boasts 27 holes for day and night golfing and has garnered various awards of distinction.
“It is an absolute thrill for Sutera Harbour to host some of the best golfers in Asia at the Warisan Harta Sabah Masters and that is why we have been working hard to ensure everything is in place for the 2016 tournament,” said Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club general manager Rick Blackie.
Lagardère Sports (formerly known as World Sport Group) will promote the event for the fifth successive time and as part of this relationship they will produce a one-hour highlight show which will be broadcast on FOX Sports.