Shot in the arm for Aretha

Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club general manager Howie Roberts, Aretha Pan Herng and her father Robert
Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club general manager Howie Roberts, Aretha Pan Herng and her father Robert

Kota Kinabalu: Rookie professional Aretha Pan Herng received another major boost to her fledgling career after signing on as the touring professional for Sutera Harbour Resort on Thursday.

The rising star, who finished 17th in her professional debut at the Ladies Asian Golf Tour’s (LAGT) Technology Cup last month, will enjoy training and playing benefits at the 27-hole championship golf course. Coincidentally, the 19-year-old Sabahan lass is coached by British PGA professional Neil Douglas, who heads the Golf Academy Borneo at the resort.

“Sutera Harbour Resort have played a major part in my development as a golfer and I’m delighted with the appointment as the resort’s touring professional. I have trained here since my days in the Malaysian Ladies Golf Association (MALGA) team and it is great to be based at a challenging golf course like this,” said the former SUKMA and Malaysian Amateur Open winner.

“It gives me easier access to my coach Neil and I will like to thank the management of Sutera Harbour Resort for their trust and support in me,” added Aretha, who counts on Ping, Titleist, FootJoy and Crestlink as her other sponsors.

She will head to Chinese Taipei next week for a double-header on the LAGT  before travelling for the all-important first stage of the Japan LPGA Qualifying School in August.

“My immediate target is to play well at the TLPGA Chung Cheng Open as well as the Kenda Tires Open and hopefully break into the top-10 ranking before the season closes. But the bigger challenge awaits in navigating my way through the qualification stage of the the Japan LPGA and I need to polish up my game before that assignment,” added Aretha.

Sutera Harbour Marina Golf and Country Club general manager Howie Roberts said that the appointment was part of the Resort’s continued effort to support the development of golf in the state and nurture Sabah’s golfing talents.

“We are pleased to have Aretha on-board as our touring professional and we hope she will utilise our club’s practice facilities and golf course to hone her game further as she takes the first few steps in the world of professional golf,”  said Roberts, who shared that Aretha will carry the logos of both Sutera Harbour Resort as well as the Golf Academy Borneo on her shirt.

“Aretha is a sterling example for junior golfers coming through the ranks in Sabah and we are happy to do our small part in helping her dream of becoming one of the leading lady professionals in the region,” he added.