BUZZ

World num­ber two from Ja­pan marched to the ti­tle with an ea­gle and seven birdies

Golf Asia - - CONTENTS - IM­AGE © GRE­GORY SHAMUS/GETTY IM­AGES

Hideki Mat­suyama fired a course record-equalling nine-un­der par 61 to win the Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional by five strokes for a sec­ond World Golf Cham­pi­onships win. His 16-un­der to­tal of 264 put him five in front of two-time ma­jor win­ner Zach John­son, who closed with a 68 for 269.

Mat­suyama, the first player from Asia to win one of golf's elite WGC ti­tles, added the Bridge­stone tro­phy to the HSBC Cham­pi­ons crown he claimed in Oc­to­ber. The dom­i­nant per­for­mance came in the fi­nal tune-up event for golf's best be­fore the last ma­jor of the sea­son, the PGA Cham­pi­onship at Quail Hol­low in North Carolina.

Mat­suyama said he was feel­ing the nerves through­out the round, af­ter a warmup on the driv­ing range that was less than en­cour­ag­ing. It didn't show as he kick­started his round with an ea­gle at Fire­stone Coun­try Club's par-five sec­ond, where he chipped in from just off the green.

He capped his round with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 to join Jose Maria Olaz­a­bal, Tiger Woods and Ser­gio Gar­cia as the only play­ers to shoot 61 on Fire­stone's South Course. "In fact, I played with Tiger four years ago when he shot 61, so I knew 61 was the num­ber to­day," Mat­suyama said, "I was think­ing about that at 16, I knew if I birdied 16, 17 and 18 I could get there."

He did, and will go into the PGA Cham­pi­onship a hot favourite to be­come the first Ja­panese man to win a ma­jor cham­pi­onship, al­though he noted that he's never been par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful in the PGA Tour event at Quail Hol­low. "All I can do is my best," Mat­suyama said. That was cer­tainly good enough on Sun­day where his ea­gle and three birdies saw him lead­ing when he made the turn. Amer­i­can Charley Hoff­man ap­plied some pres­sure with five birdies his first 11 holes, but couldn't main­tain his con­sis­tency in a 66 that saw him set­tle for third place on 270.

John­son, who shared the overnight lead with Bel­gian Thomas Pi­eters, had three birdies and a bo­gey in his twounder ef­fort but parred his way through the last seven holes as Mat­suyama con­sol­i­dated his lead.

John­son, seek­ing his first win since the 2015 Bri­tish Open, was en­cour­aged by his game but said of Mat­suyama: "Clearly, we all ran into a buzz saw to­day."

Pi­eters's one-over 71 was good enough for fourth place on 272.

North­ern Ire­land star Rory Mcil­roy carded a 60 to head a group on 273 that also in­cluded Scot­land's Rus­sel Knox (68), Eng­land's Paul Casey (67) and Cana­dian Adam Had­win (69). Bri­tish Open cham­pion Jor­dan Spi­eth, who will be pur­su­ing a ca­reer Grand Slam at the PGA Cham­pi­onship, closed with a 68 that left him in a group shar­ing 13th on 276.

THE ASIAN TOUR BE­COMES AN AF­FIL­I­ATE OF THE R&A

The Asian Tour has be­come an af­fil­i­ate of The R&A en­abling both bod­ies to work closer to­gether to sup­port the devel­op­ment of golf in Asia. The R&A will pro­vide sup­port over three years to­wards the Asian Tour’s de­vel­op­men­tal tour and will en­gage with the tour on Rules ed­u­ca­tion and devel­op­ment projects. The tour will now also be rep­re­sented at The R&A’S qua­dren­nial In­ter­na­tional Golf Con­fer­ence in St An­drews. Martin Slum­bers, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of The R&A, said, “We are de­lighted that the Asian Tour has be­come af­fil­i­ated to The R&A and look for­ward to sup­port­ing its ef­forts to as­sist more elite ama­teur play­ers to make the step-up to the pro­fes­sional ranks.” Josh Bu­rack, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of the Asian Tour, added, “Work­ing with The R&A will help us to se­cure some play­ing slots for top ama­teur play­ers in Asia to com­pete against our pro­fes­sion­als on the Asian Devel­op­ment Tour (ADT). We will also re­ceive sup­port from them in en­hanc­ing the ex­per­tise of our Rules of­fi­cials and we are proud of this part­ner­ship as we fur­ther pro­mote and strengthen golf in Asia.” The Asian Tour will join The R&A’S global net­work of more than 150 af­fil­i­ates to pro­mote and de­velop golf in ac­cor­dance with the of­fi­cial Rules of Golf and the Rules of Ama­teur Sta­tus. The Asian Tour is the first tour out­side Europe to be­come an R&A af­fil­i­ated body. It joins the Euro­pean Tour and Ladies Euro­pean Tour which are ex­ist­ing R&A af­fil­i­ates.

MALAYSIA TO HOST WORLD AMA­TEUR GOLF CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

Malaysia will play host to over 800 ama­teur golfers from 47 coun­tries in the World Ama­teur Golf Cham­pi­onship (WAGC) to be held later this year on 18th to 25th Novem­ber. Founded in 1995 by prom­i­nent Swedish sports icon Sven Tumba, Malaysia last played host to the WAGC back in 2007 where the coun­try won 2nd run­ners up for the cham­pi­onship. Speak­ing to re­porters in a press con­fer­ence an­nounc­ing the pres­ti­gious event, Pero­dua Chair­man Ybhg Tan Sri As­mat Ka­maludin said that Pero­dua’s de­ci­sion to spon­sor the event was in-line with its be­lief in the sport of golf to pro­vide av­enues of self-im­prove­ment. Pero­dua has been a proud ti­tle spon­sor for the WAGC since 2012 for the lo­cal chap­ter and par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Malaysian team abroad with over 6,000 ama­teur play­ers ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the world stan­dard tour­na­ment in qual­i­fy­ing rounds and 75 play­ers spon­sored to par­tic­i­pate in­ter­na­tion­ally.

The de­ci­sion to host the 2017 World Ama­teur Golfers Cham­pi­onship World Fi­nal has re­ceived the sup­port of the Prime Min­is­ter, the Min­istry of Tourism and the Min­istry of Youth and Sports. Delta Trend Golf & Leisure Hol­i­days (DTGLH) Sdn Bhd has been given the rights to host the cham­pi­onship from World Golf Cham­pi­onships Ltd, which is the gov­ern­ing body for this event via an agree­ment to host the tour­na­ment from 2012 un­til 2020. The four cour­ses that have been cho­sen for the tour­na­ment are Sun­gai Long Golf and Coun­try Club, The Mines Re­sort and Golf Club, Tem­pler Park Coun­try Club and Kota Per­mai Lang Golf & Coun­try Club.

HKGTA LAUNCHES GOLDEN BEAR GOLF PASS­PORT BY JACK NICK­LAUS ACAD­EMY OF GOLF

Hong Kong Golf & Ten­nis Acad­emy’s (HKGTA) new pro­gramme pro­vides ac­cess to the world­class Nick­laus Acad­emy instruction as well as its state-of-the-art prac­tice fa­cil­i­ties. HKGTA is home to the Jack Nick­laus Acad­emy of Golf in Hong Kong, where Cer­ti­fied Nick­laus Acad­emy in­struc­tors pro­vide a per­son­alised ap­proach to golf instruction across dif­fer­ent skill lev­els, ad­dress­ing all as­pects of the game from the rules and eti­quette to men­tal prepa­ra­tion and the devel­op­ment of mo­tor skills. The state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties at HKGTA fea­ture three ex­clu­sive Jack Nick­laus Coach­ing Stu­dios, pow­ered by video anal­y­sis soft­ware and other tech­nolo­gies that en­able coaches and stu­dents to re­view per­for­mance in great de­tail. Pres­sure/bal­ance plates, pro­fes­sional putt train­ing equip­ment and more, pro­vide ex­ten­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties to per­fect tech­niques and are the most so­phis­ti­cated of their kind in Hong Kong. There are three lev­els for Pass­port hold­ers, each with var­ied num­ber of hours for instruction and prac­tice times to fit in­di­vid­ual needs. The Golden Bear Golf Pass­port is avail­able start­ing from HK$26,999 for a six­month pe­riod ac­cess to the Nick­laus Acad­emy fa­cil­ity from Mon­day to Fri­day be­tween 7:30am and 10pm. The range and prac­tice ar­eas are lit for night play, so stu­dents can en­joy the game even af­ter work. Ap­pli­cants need not be ex­ist­ing pa­trons of HKGTA and each pass­port holder can bring a max­i­mum of three guests to en­joy prac­tice hours to­gether. A six-hole short game is avail­able at cer­tain time slots, sub­ject to avail­abil­ity at ad­di­tional sup­ple­ment per per­son. For ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on the Golden Bear Golf Pass­port or the Hong Kong Golf and Ten­nis Acad­emy, please visit www.hkgta.com or get in touch at 852.3110.8823 or en­quiry@hkgta.com.

ELITE WOMEN’S AMA­TEUR GOLF CHAM­PI­ONSHIP LAUNCHED IN ASIA-PA­CIFIC

The R&A and Asia-pa­cific Golf Con­fed­er­a­tion (APGC) have an­nounced that the first ever Women’s Ama­teur Asia-pa­cific golf cham­pi­onship will be played at Sen­tosa Golf Club in Sin­ga­pore from 21st to 24th Fe­bru­ary 2018. The in­au­gu­ral event will take place at the New Tan­jong course and will pro­vide the most tal­ented women ama­teur golfers in the re­gion with the op­por­tu­nity to earn an in­vi­ta­tion to play in two ma­jor cham­pi­onships: the Ri­coh Women’s Bri­tish Open and the ANA In­spi­ra­tion. The win­ner of the Women’s Ama­teur Asia-pa­cific will be in­vited by HSBC to play in the 11th HSBC Women’s Cham­pi­onship, the re­gion’s lead­ing women’s golf tour­na­ment, on the same course at Sen­tosa next year. It was also an­nounced that the Royal Golf Club in Ja­pan will be the venue for the cham­pi­onship in 2019 and 2020.

The for­mat for the cham­pi­onship will be 72 holes of stroke play and play­ers will be in­vited to par­tic­i­pate from mem­ber coun­tries of the APGC based on the WORLD AMA­TEUR GOLF RANK­ING (WAGR). A to­tal of 86 play­ers will make up the field and it is ex­pected that around 20 coun­tries will be rep­re­sented. A max­i­mum num­ber of six play­ers from any coun­try other than the host will be able to en­ter, the host coun­try will re­ceive an ad­di­tional four in­vi­ta­tions. Kabaya Ohayo Group and Rolex will be the cham­pi­onship’s prin­ci­pal spon­sors, while IMG have been en­gaged to as­sist with tour­na­ment stag­ing and TV broad­cast­ing, which will in­clude live cov­er­age and high­lights pack­ages.

Hideki Mat­suyama

From left Nick Shan, The R&A; Dun­can Weir, The R&A; Do­minic Wall, The R&A; Josh Bu­rack, Asian Tour CEO; Martin Slum­bers, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of The R&A; Jimmy Mas­rin, Asian Tour Chair­man, Charles Har­ri­son, The R&A; Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour COO.

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