The 2016 Cause­way Cup

The Els Club Teluk Datai plays host to the 9th Edi­tion of the tour­na­ment

Golf Asia - - CONTENTS - BY KEN LYE

19golfers from Singa­pore’s me­dia in­dus­try made their way to the Malaysian re­sort is­land of Langkawi for the 9th edi­tion of the Cause­way Cup. Hav­ing won 3 years in a row af­ter a con­vinc­ing 23-9 vic­tory on home ground last year in the SG50 edi­tion, the Singa­pore team were look­ing to con­tinue to hold on to the tro­phy for a 4th time in Langkawi.

The Cause­way Cup is an an­nual Ry­der Cup-style 16-per­son team event that pits golfers from the Malaysian and Sin­ga­porean me­dia in­dus­try against each other. Tales of golf­ing prow­ess, and won­der­ful fel­low­ship be­tween the play­ers in ad­di­tion to the friendly com­pet­i­tive spirit are amongst the hall­marks of the event. Much an­tic­i­pated an­nu­ally by the me­dia from both sides of the cause­way, each coun­try takes turns to host the event. This year’s edi­tion was hosted by Malaysia, and The Els Club Teluk Datai in Langkawi was the venue for the 2016 show­down.

The Els Club Teluk Datai sits won­der­fully amidst breath­tak­ing vis­tas of the mar­bled moun­tain peaks of the Mat Chin­cang moun­tain range and the emer­ald green An­daman Sea. Set within Teluk Datai (or Datai Bay) and nes­tled within a fab­u­lous rain­for­est, the Troon Golf-man­aged par72 cham­pi­onship lay­out plays to 6,760 yards from the tips and is per­fect for both be­gin­ners and keen golfers alike. De­signed by South African ma­jor cham­pion, Ernie Els, The Els Club Teluk Datai boasts lush tow­er­ing fo­liage that has some of its holes laid out beau­ti­fully against the back­drop of the tran­quil wa­ters of the An­daman Sea.

The golf course is sur­pris­ingly flat on the front-nine whilst the back nine is the more un­du­lat­ing of the two nines. Amaz­ingly on this golf course, there are no bunkers at all. In­trin­sic to the course’s de­fense is a clev­erly de­signed lay­out that presents doglegs; un­du­lat­ing tree-lined rolling fair­ways, grassy swales and many raised un­du­lat­ing greens. These raised greens have sub­stan­tial fall out ar­eas should you miss on the wrong side

that make get­ting up and down tricky. This is even more so as the greens are pro­tected by grass where the grain is into you that grab your ball, mak­ing it even more chal­leng­ing for that del­i­cate chip or pitch that needs to land on the fringe.

The 15th hole is the be­gin­ning of an ex­cel­lent clos­ing stretch with a plung­ing down­hill par-3 that plays 151 yards on the card from the back tees. This is fol­lowed by the tricky sharp dog­leg right 409 yard par-4 16th. The tee shot re­ally needs to be long enough left to avoid be­ing too close to the right side of the hole in or­der to get an open ap­proach to the green. Oth­er­wise, with its over­hang­ing gi­ant trees all down the right side will see you blocked with vir­tu­ally no chance to ap­proach the green in reg­u­la­tion. The sig­na­ture 17th hole, a 162-yard par-3 with the An­daman Sea flank­ing the right side is a beau­ti­ful knee-knocker of a par 3 with the wind com­ing in from the ocean.

Fas­ci­nated by the ab­sence of bunkers on the course, the play­ers from both sides teed off to much an­tic­i­pa­tion on how the course would play in the eight Four­ball matches on the first day. With “live” scor­ing of the sta­tus of all matches at var­i­ous points and at the turn, dis­played through The Els Club’s GPS Sys­tem on the bug­gies, ex­cite­ment per­me­ated the rain-forested course as teams saw how their com­pa­tri­ots were far­ing dur­ing the round.

Sens­ing in the air a tough chal­lenge by the Malaysian team, the Four­ball matches in­deed re­flected that aura when the teams came back tied at 4-4 at the end of the first day. The stage was then set for an ex­cit­ing cam­paign for the Singa­pore team. To much rau­cous fan­fare amidst the drinks and fel­low­ship at the end of the day, the draw for the Four­somes on the sec­ond day was an­nounced. The al­ter­nate shot seg­ment is al­ways the most fun and ex­cit­ing due to the for­mat of play.

At the crack of dawn the next day, play­ers turned up at the Els Club all ready to duke it out in the four­somes. It was in­deed turn­ing out to be a tough cam­paign as at the close of the morn­ing ses­sion, the Singa­pore team took the lead by a mere one point when they pre­vailed 4 ½ to 3 ½ in the four­somes. With only a mar­ginal 1-point lead, it would all come down to the team that would best en­dure the fi­nal day’s 36-hole marathon.

With the slick un­du­lat­ing greens run­ning at 9.5 on the Stimp­me­ter, The Els course proved to be a fit­ting venue to test the might and met­tle of the play­ers in the sin­gles fi­nale. With pe­ri­od­i­cal up­dates “live” on the GPS sys­tem of the sta­tus of the matches, both sides traded blows as lead af­ter lead; point af­ter point was chalked up by both sides in the sin­gles. When the dust set­tled in an ex­cit­ing af­ter­noon, the Malaysians emerged win­ners in the sin­gles with a 9 ½ to 6 ½ point vic­tory. With this the tri­umphant Malaysians edged out the Singa­pore team 17-15 in what was a closely con­tested event to re­turn the Cause­way Cup to Malaysia.

With this vic­tory, Malaysia now leads to 5-4 in the series. The 10th edi­tion of the Cause­way Cup will be hosted in Singa­pore in 2017.

The course enjoys a beau­ti­ful back­drop, the An­daman Sea

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