Tough Sabah test awaits at Faldo Series Malaysia Championship
Sabah, Malaysia (September 27): One of Southeast Asia’s most challenging courses lies in wait for competitors in this week’s 11th edition of the Faldo Series Malaysia Championship.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Sabah Golf & Country Club’s undulating par-72 layout is certain to test the mettle of some of Malaysia’s most promising juniors.
Hilly terrain, lakes and hidden sand bunkers all add to the degree of difficulty of the course in northern Borneo which is frequently further toughened by strong winds.
Six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “I’ve always believed that playing on difficult courses will make you a better golfer. You have to embrace the challenges and keep plugging away … even if things are going against you.
“For those reasons I’ll be looking out with interest to see which players fare best in this week’s Faldo Series Malaysia Championship.”
The 12th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season, the 54-hole stroke play event is included on the R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking schedule.
Winners of each age group category will earn themselves invitations to the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017.
Lim Beng Kiat is sure to be among the favourites. The 16-year-old, who finished fourth in last month’s Malaysian Junior Open, hails from the bordering State of Sarawak and knows the Sabah Golf & Country Club course almost as well as Fazley Chua and Casper Loh.
Chua is a former Sabah Junior Open champion and has represented his State at senior level, along with Loh.
Strong performances are also expected from Danial Sidek and Bryan Tan Wei Han, both of whom feature in the Malaysian top-25 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Danial placed third overall in last year’s Faldo Series Malaysia Championship while Tan won the opening leg of Malaysia’s 2016 Sportexcel Premier Elite and posted a top-10 finish at June’s Ciputra World Junior Championship in Jakarta.
There’s also a powerful female presence in Sabah, led by Geraldine Xiao Xuan Wong and Jacqueline Nickels.
Wong will be on a high after finishing third individually in the Kartini Cup team championship in Singapore at the start of this month while Nickels was fourth in May’s Sarawak Amateur.
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships will be staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.