KUALA LUMPUR: US-based players form a bulk of the national squad for the upcoming 2019 SEA Games this December as the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) aims to end a 18-year drought for a golfing gold at the region’s biennial multi-sports meet.
Liberty University senior Ervin Chang will headline the men’s team alongside University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley freshmen Rhaasrikanesh Kanavathi and Adam Arif Madzri.
Talented youngster Zubair Firdaus, who is based at the Hills Academy in Queensland, Australia, completes a dynamic young squad filled with proven winners.
The women’s squad also looks formidable with University of Southern California junior Alyaa Abdulghanny being joined in the team by San Jose State University standout Natasha Andrea and Ashley Lau, who studies at the University of Michigan.
Alyaa has permanent residency status in the US but still holds the Malaysian passport, making her eligible to represent the country.
The SEA Games golf championship will be contested at the Luisita Country Club in Clark from December 4-8. The individual competition will be decided over 54-holes of stroke play with the team event contested in a matchplay format.
“MGA has engaged the services of Kim Baldwin and Lim Ai Lian to ensure that our strategic plans are professionally managed to enable our players to go for a podium finish,” said Malaysian Golf Association president Admiral (R) Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor.
“No doubt, it won’t be easy as they will be up against top amateurs from the South East Asian countries who are also aiming to secure medals to their overall tally,” said Anwar, adding that Kedah state representative Yuzmi Mohd Yusoff will act as the team manager.
Chang and Lau both played in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games where the host nation only managed a consolatory bronze in the women’s team event.
Malaysia last struck gold through Airil Rizman Zahari, S. Sivachandhran, Shaaban Hussin and Sahal Saedin in the team event at the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Games. The last Malaysian women winners were Lim Ai Lian, Lim Siew Ai and Irene Yeoh, who claimed the team title at the 1993 Singapore Games.