Cobra challenge for players in 32nd Saujana Amateur Championship

Group photo during the June 13 press conference

This month’s 32nd Saujana Amateur Championship will make a welcome return to Saujana Golf & Country Club’s Palm Course, dubbed the ‘Cobra’. Last year’s championship was played on Saujana’s other golf course, the Bunga Raya.

The World Amateur Golf Ranking event will be played on June 25-27, the week after the Malaysian Amateur Open (MAO) in Kuching, Sarawak. More than 100 golfers from 15 countries, including the host nation, have already signed up for the Saujana event. As has become the tradition, many international participants from the MAO have elected to make it a two-event swing in Malaysia.

While the tournament has had various title sponsors over the years, most recently insurance giant MPI Generali, Saujana director Choy Thiam Hwa noted that the Saujana Group had decided to proceed on their own this time around.

“The board decided to reposition our role and use Saujana as the sole brand for the championship. We have proven ourselves over the years, working with golf’s governing bodies and the professional tours in numerous high-profile events. We are a fairly big golfing family, led by Peremba, and they are very supportive of this event,” noted Choy during a press conference at The Saujana Hotel on June 13.

Many past participants of the Saujana Amateur Championship have gone to to successful professional careers, including Australia’s Marcus Fraser and India’s Shiv Kapur. The championship’s roll of honour includes some illustrious names such as Taiwanese trailblazer Chang Tse-Peng (1993), Australian stalwart Robert Allenby (1990) and Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera (2010). Malaysian No 1 Gavin Green is the championship’s only three-time winner (2009, 2011, 2012) and is currently in his second year on the European Tour after winning the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit title.

Holes 15 and 16, Palm Course. Photo by Toha Dol

The Palm Course, which underwent an extensive renovation last year, provided a stern test for the Asian Tour and European Tour professionals in March’s’s Maybank Championship, with the field averaging 71.91 over four days.

“The Palm Course received good reviews from the pros so we decided to let the amateurs try it,” said Saujana’s general manager SA Nathan.

“The rough will be at normal height and we expect the green speed to be over 10. We do not want to overly penalise the players,” he added.

Tournament organsing chairman KM Lee noted that they will set up the course at around 7,000 yards. “We want the participants to have a good run and have an enjoyable time. I expect the winning score to be around five to six under-par,” he said.

“As it stands now, we have 103 entries from 15 countries including strong teams from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. More than half the field will be international. Unfortunately, there are no players from Thailand due to a scheduling conflict,” added Lee.

Lee noted that there will also be strong representation from Malaysia’s leading club golfers, including Saujana’s past and present champions.

Once again, this year’s winner will gain a start in an Asian Development Tour event in Malaysia. The final round will see a special hole-in-one prize from Transview Golf, the new operators of the club’s proshop, in the form of RM50,000 worth of vouchers.

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