Iskandar Malaysia, October 31: The host venue for the 2012 edition of the Iskandar Johor Open is set for a few changes ahead of the 13-16th December competition that wraps-up this year’s Asian Tour schedule.

The course was designed by Australian Ross Watson and was opened in 2008. It only took two years before it was staging the Iskandar Johor Open, one of the most prestigious events on the golfing calendar.

From its infancy, the course has been described as one of, if not the best in the region and throughout Malaysia. Watson felt the site provided a great opportunity to create a layout with infinite variety, particularly the dramatic elevation changes on almost every hole. Watson always designs with a ‘risk and reward’ strategic design and Horizon Hills is a fine example of this.

Group General Manager for Horizon Hills, Mr Tang Meng Loon explained some of the preparations being made ahead of the arrival of some of the world’s best golfers.

He said, “We have added a lot of mature trees on the course, narrowing some of the fairways, increasing the height of rough and providing slick and tricky greens. This is to enhance the challenging nature of the golf course.

“We feel that swapping the front nine and back nine for the first time will make the game more interesting for 2012, the third consecutive year we are hosting the event here.”

Based on these changes, Mr Tang expects the course, “to play tougher this year.”

Adding that, “Golfers with the high driving accuracy and sharp putting skills will be the strong contenders to win.”

He is very impressed with the growth of the event which he sees as the “region’s premier championship.”

Tang continues, “The immense publicity generated from the event that helps elevate Horizon Hills to greater heights.”

Further work and enhancements to the 62714m course includes sub-soil drainage pipe and sand capping to further improve on fairway condition; planting additional shrubs for improved landscaping; and maintaining the smooth and slick green speed to 12’ for the tournament.

All of this work, combined with the easy access to spectators to Horizon Hills via the new coastal highway from Johor Bahru and Tuas in Singapore makes this a must-do trip for those nearby this December.

Star players Sergio Garcia and Thongchai Jaidee confirmed their participation at the start of the month with this being the Spanish sensation’s first visit to Malaysia. Further player announcements will be coming in the following weeks to cement the world-class line-up vying for a share of the US$2million prize purse.

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