Asian Tour ends 2012 season in Johor

Joost Luiten © Khalid Redza/Asian Tour

Johor Bahru: Cementing its status as one of the region’s fastest growing and premier championships, the Iskandar Johor Open will take its place as the Asian Tour’s season-ending championship this year.

The prestigious event will offer a lucrative prize fund of US$2 million when it returns to the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club from December 13 to 16.

The tournament has grown immensely in just a matter of five years since its launch as a US$300,000 event in 2007 and is now widely regarded as one of the major championships on the Asian Tour, having been honoured by the Asian Tour as the Fastest Growing Tournament in Asia during its annual Awards Gala last year.

“We are delighted and honoured to announce that the Iskandar Johor Open will take up the premier position as the Tour’s season-ending championship in December. As the final full-field Asian Tour tournament of the 2012 season, the sixth edition of the Iskandar Johor Open will undoubtedly play a big role in determining the new Asian Tour Order of Merit champion,” said Kyi Hla Han, executive chairman of the Asian Tour.

“There will be plenty to play for at the Iskandar Johor Open as winning the Merit crown will earn exemptions into the British Open and World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in the United States next year. It is for this reason that we expect all our top players who are vying for our prestigious Merit title to head to Horizon Hills. It certainly promises to be a spectacular week for golf fans and television viewers.”

Last year, Dutchman Joost Luiten claimed the coveted Iskandar Johor Open trophy and went home with the winner’s cheque of US$333,330, which propelled him to his highest world ranking position of 66th in the world.

Since the inaugural event, the Iskandar Johor Open has attracted an impressive line-up of world-class stars including the likes of South Africa’s Retief Goosen, K.J. Choi of Korea, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, Henrik Stenson of Sweden, Colombian Camilio Villegas, Anthony Kim of the United States and Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee.

Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, won the Iskandar Johor Open in 2008, Choi claimed victory in 2009 while Harrington, a three-time Major winner, tasted success when Horizon Hills hosted the tournament for the first time in 2010.

“Having a good playing field and providing a competitive line-up of stars for our local professional golfers is a very important criterion to us and I believe we have achieved that every year,” said the President of Johor Golf Association, YAM Tunku Abdul Majid Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

“This year will be no exception. The player field will consist of the best players from the Asian Tour, stars from around the world and the best local players who will once again have the opportunity to test their skills in the Iskandar Johor Open,” he added.