The 2012 ParGolf Awards Gala Night held on Friday, April 26, saw more than 240 guests from all facets of the golf industry gather at the Sime Darby Convention Centre to celebrate golf’s top performers in 2012.
The region’s only industry-wide golf awards, this year’s third edition welcomed the support of Tourism Malaysia and also saw the introduction of new award categories including Best New Golf Course, Breakthrough Golfer of The Year and Outstanding Contribution to Golf – Corporate.
The glitzy dinner saw an attendee list consisting of a ‘who’s who’ in Malaysian golf and related industries, including guests of honour, Tourism Malaysia director general Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) president Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor.
“This is the third year of the ParGolf Awards, and we are here to recognise the achievements of professional golfers, amateurs, juniors, golf clubs, golf equipment companies, as well as individuals and companies that have been exceptional in the golf industry. Each and every nominee here today is already a winner,” said Suzannah Gun Palmer, publisher of ParGolf.
“ParGolf would also like to thank Tourism Malaysia for believing in the concept of the ParGolf Awards and for supporting us as a partner for this year. And to further enhance the credibility and visibility of the Awards, we will be working with the Malaysian Golf Association for the ParGolf Awards 2013. The alliance between ParGolf, Tourism Malaysia and MGA will surely create a formula for success towards a credible award ceremony to recognise achievements within the golf fraternity,” she added.
As in the previous two editions, the voted awards were based on a points system made up of three elements – voting by a 64-strong panel of golf industry personalities appointed by ParGolf, an online poll on www.pargolfmagazine.com, and ParGolf’s management’s selection.
In the Malaysian Professional Golfer Of The Year category, Nicholas Fung won the award over Malaysian No. 1 Danny Chia – winner of the award for the last two years – and first-time nominee Mohd Sukree Othman. Fung, who turns 23 come May 18, won two titles on the 2012 PGM Tour to top the Order of Merit with RMRM159, 635. He also won the ASEAN PGA Tour’s Palembang Musi Championship to finish top of the tour’s Order of Merit with US$31,884.
The Asian Tour’s 2012 Player of the Year, Thaworn Wiratchant was the winner of the Asian Golfer of the Year – Male award, beating countryman Thongchai Jaidee and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh. Thaworn won three times on the Asian Tour in 2012 to top the Order of Merit for the second time, becoming the oldest golfer to do so at age 45 years and 354 days. His win in the Hero Indian Open event gave him a record 15th Asian Tour title.
Current World No. 1 and 2012 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia winner Inbee Park won the Asian Golfer of the Year – Female award, ahead of compatriot Na Yeon Choi and Taiwan’s Yani Tseng. In 2012, Park bounced back from a poor previous season with two wins on the LPGA Tour and 10 top three finishes to top the LPGA Tour money list with more than US$2.28 million.
Nineteen-year old Gavin Kyle Green was conferred the Malaysian Amateur Golfer of the Year – Male award, ahead of last year’s winner Low Khai Jei, Abel Tam and Muhammad Arie Fauzi. Based in the United States where he plays collegiate golf for the University of New Mexico, Green made headlines in 2012 when he became the first Malaysian in 15 years to win the Malaysian Amateur Open. He also won the MPI Saujana Amateur Championship for the third time and finished as the best Malaysian in the Asian Tour’s season-ending Iskandar Johor Open.
Aretha Pan Herng meanwhile took the Malaysian Amateur Golfer of the Year – Female award from two-time winner Kelly Tan, Nur Durriyah Damian and Iman Ahmad Nordin. Pan raked up a number of victories in 2012 including the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia national qualifiers to seal a spot in the LPGA event, where she finished as best Malaysian. Aretha also won both the individual and team gold medals at the SUKMA games.
The Malaysian Junior Golfer of the Year awards, presented to junior golfers aged 15 years and below who have performed exceptionally in 2012, saw 12-year-old Bryan Teoh and 15-year-old Kelie Kan win the Male and Female categories respectively.
Teoh edged Ervin Chang, winner of the 2011 and 2010 awards, as well as Johor’s Daeng Abdul Rahman and Galven Kendall Green. In 2012, Brian won eight times on the local junior circuit also chalked up two international titles at the Mission Hills Titleist Junior Championship and the Veritas World Junior Championship. Towards the end of the year, he won the Kids Golf World Championship Malaysia Boys Under-12 title.
Meanwhile, Kan’s outstanding 2012 season earned her the award for the second successive year ahead of Natasha Andrea Oon, Winnie Ng and Ashley Lau. Winner of the overall Girls Under-15 title of the 2012 SportExcel National Junior Circuit, Kan also chalked up numerous other titles including the Faldo Series Malaysia and was once again selected as a member of the national squad.
There were also various special awards presented on the night based solely on ParGolf’s management selection, highlighted by the Lifetime Achievement Award for individuals who have played pivotal roles in the development of golf in Malaysia – which this time around was awarded to former Chief of Secretary to the Government Tun Ahmad Sarji. A long-time supporter of golf especially the professional game, Tun inaugurated the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour in 2010 and as chairman has helped the tour grow tremendously. The 2012 PGM Tour boasts 33 events with total prizemoney of RM4.1 million.
The Merit Award for Services to Golf for individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of the game in Malaysia was presented posthumously to the late Edmund Yong. Known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Rules of Golf, Yong was the honorary secretary of the Malaysian Golf Association for more than 20 years and was the tournament director of the Malaysian Open for almost two decades from its inception in 1961. He also served the secretary general of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation and was appointed to the Rules Committee of the R&A.
The Young Gun Award, a special award created to recognize the future of Malaysian golf i.e. promising juniors aged 10 and below, had five ‘little but lethal’ recipients – namely eight-year-old Jeneath Wong, nine-year-olds Sarah Mazri and Muhammad Luqman, as well as 10-year-olds Feirish Nor and Foo Tee Jui.
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) meanwhile cemented its status as the premier golf club in the country when it was named the Golf Club of The Year – Malaysia for the third successive year. KLGCC was once again the standard bearer for Malaysian golf in 2012, playing host to the Maybank Malaysian Open and Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, plus numerous other events. The other nominees were Kota Permai Golf & Country Club and Horizon Hills Golf & Country.
Also for the third successive year, Kota Permai Golf & Country Club (KPGCC) won the Best Maintained Golf Course award. In 2012, Kota Permai continued to set the standards and indeed raise the bar for golf course maintenance in the country, with superb playing conditions all year round and greens that can run up to 12 on the Stimpmeter. The clubhouse is also one of the best in the country in terms of facilities and upkeep. The other nominees were Horizon Hills, KLGCC, Royal Selangor Golf Club and The Mines Resort & Golf Club.
The Most Improved Golf Course award was won by Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, ahead of Nilai Springs Golf & Country Club and Penang Golf Club. A multi-million dollar renovation exercise that began in 2010 and was completed in early 2012 saw Tropicana’s 27-hole course rebuilt with newly-shaped greens and greenside bunkers, plus other enhancements such as landscaping and drainage works.
There were only two nominees in the Best New Golf Course category, which saw IOI Resort’s Pal Garden Golf Club edge Saujana Golf & Country Club’s Bunga Raya course for the award. Designed by Ted Parslow, the Palm Garden course opened for play last year and has been a big hit with golfers as well as event organizers with its undulating fairways, flashed-up bunkering and stunning landscaping. The revamp of the Bunga Raya course was also done by Parslow, who attended the awards gala and celebrated his 71st birthday the day after.
The Most Innovative Golf Equipment award was presented to three products that raised the bar with new technologies and innovations. The winners were the Titleist 913 Driver, the Ping Nome Adjustable Putter and the Taylormade RocketBallz Fairway Wood.
Created to recognise corporations that have contributed significantly to golf across all spheres in the country over the years, the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Golf – Corporate award was presented to Carlsberg Malaysia. Carlsberg used to be the title sponsor of the Malaysian Open and continues to support the national Open as one of its main sponsors. A charter member of the SportExcel foundation, the brewery also runs the Carlsberg Golf Classic which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and recently signed Danny Chia as an ambassador.
Palmer also announced that ParGolf Malaysia was working with ParGolf Japan to produce a comprehensive golf course guide for Malaysia. “I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that ParGolf Malaysia together with ParGolf Japan will be launching ParGolf Escapades later this year. This publication will be available in print and digital formats with a shelf life of two years, available in major English speaking markets in South East Asia in print and globally via digital versions in English and Japanese,” she said.
Apart from Tourism Malaysia, the ParGolf Awards Gala was supported by Carlsberg, Glen Grant and Sharp.