Garcia to make Malaysian debut in Iskandar Johor Open

Spanish star Sergio Garcia will make his first-ever appearance in Malaysia when he tees off in the sixth edition of the Iskandar Johor Open, presented by Iskandar Waterfront, to be held December 13-16 at Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club.

Garcia will be joined by Thai stalwart Thongchai Jaidee in the US$2 million Asian Tour season-ender, which will be staged for the third consecutive year at the award-winning Horizon Hills course.

World number 19 Garcia, who secured a crucial singles victory over Jim Furyk in Europe’s stunning victory in the recent Ryder Cup, is looking forward to his Malaysian debut.

“Playing in the Iskandar Johor Open this year will mark my first time playing in Malaysia so I’m very keen to see what the course and country are like. I enjoy playing in Asia and have had some good results in that part of the world so I hope I can continue my current form to produce a good performance in December,” said Garcia, who won the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour in August to take his tally of worldwide professional victories to 23.

Three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thongchai is also enjoying a spectacular season, securing his first victory on European soil in the ISPS Handa Wales Open in June. “I have won the Malaysian Open title twice previously and I always enjoy competing in Malaysia. It will be my goal to try to win the Iskandar Johor Open in December,” he said.

Speaking during the tournament’s official launch today at Horizon Hills, Dato’ Abdul Ghani Bin Othman, the Chief Minister of Johor, said: “With much at stake as the season-ending event on the Asian Tour, we are anticipating one of our strongest line-ups ever. The coveted Asian Tour Order of Merit crown will be confirmed at the Iskandar Johor Open and therefore, the results at Horizon Hills will have a big impact on who takes the top spot for the 2012 season.”

Also present at the press conference were Tunku Abdul Majid Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, President of Johor Golf Association, Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han and Grant Slack, Vice President of Golf Division, IMG.

Last year’s event saw Dutchman Joost Luiten claim his maiden professional victory by one shot over Sweden’s Daniel Chopra. Luiten joined an illustrious list of tournament winners which includes Korean icon K.J. Choi (2009) and South Africa’s Retief Goosen (2008).

Han expects a thrilling conclusion to the 2012 Asian Tour season at the Iskandar Johor Open. “The Iskandar Johor Open has grown immensely since its inauguration in 2007, thanks largely to the fantastic support from the Johor State Government and Johor Golf Association,” he said.

“Following its rapid growth when it first started as a US$300,000 event in 2007, the Iskandar Johor Open was awarded the Fastest Growing Tournament at our Awards Gala which is a tremendous achievement. Our players always enjoy competing in Johor and we look forward to a successful conclusion to our 2012 season where we will crown the new Asian Tour Order of Merit champion,” added Han.

Two key local sponsors for the 2012 edition are returning to support the event once again. Iskandar Waterfront Development is the presenting partner for the second year while UEM Land is continuing their association with the event for the fifth year running as a platinum partner.

Further player announcements are to be made in the coming weeks along with key event sponsors and spectator information.

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