Volvo Masters of Asia Cruises Back to Malaysia

VolvoKuala Lumpur, May 4: The prestigious Volvo Masters of Asia, the season-ending event on the Asian Tour, will return to Kota Permai Golf and Country Club, Malaysia, in December with a jump in prize money.

The cream of Asian golf will tee up in the Tour’s finale from December 9-12 at the popular venue located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur and shoot for total prize money of US$550,000 (RM2.1 million).

The Volvo Masters of Asia made its debut at Kota Permai in 2002 when young gun Kevin Na of Korea won the title. Na went on to qualify for the PGA Tour in the United States.

Last year, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee triumphed by a stroke from Taiwan’s Lin Keng-chi in a captivating duel at Bangkok Golf Club. Thongchai followed through by becoming the first Thai to triumph in a European Tour event with his win at the Carlsberg Malaysian Open in February.

The Volvo Masters of Malaysia, the forerunner of the current event, was held at Kota Permai from 1998-2001 and Mel Pyatt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Volvo Event Management said it was very much a coming home for the celebrated tournament.

“It was always our intention to rotate the Volvo Masters of Asia around countries in the region, including Malaysia, and given our strong links with Kota Permai it was the natural choice to host the 2004 event,” he said.

“The Volvo Masters of Malaysia was an extremely successful tournament and since it took on a Pan Asian perspective it has grown in prestige and stature.

“It is the finale of the Asian Tour with all the leading players participating. We have further acknowledged its importance on the calendar by increasing the prize money by US$50,000 to US$550,000 and this year’s winner will pocket US$99,000.

“Volvo have been proud to stage events at Kota Permai over the years and we have witnessed some magnificent play and fantastic scoring – it is great to be going back there,” added Pyatt.

Kyi Hla Han, chairman of the Asian Tour, praised Volvo for its backing of Asian golf over the past decade.

With the top 60 players on the Asian Tour eligible for the Volvo Masters of Asia, and the Order of Merit winner being crowned at the 72 hole shootout, Han predicted a great contest over the Ross Watson-designed, par-72 championship layout. Players will play all four rounds at the season-ending event with no halfway cut.

“It is wonderful that Volvo have increased the prize money for the Volvo Masters of Asia and the players are already looking forward to playing at Kota Permai,” said Han, Asia’s number one player in 1999.

“We have had two great winners of the Volvo Masters of Asia since it debuted as our Tour Championship in 2002. It is the climax to the season and there is so much at stake that exciting golf is guaranteed.”

For the Malaysian players who qualify for the Volvo Masters of Asia, they will also battle for the Ali Kadir Trophy. Volvo initiated this award for the best Malaysian finisher at the Volvo Masters of Asia in recognition to Ali’s contributions to the game.

Ali, a former Malaysian number one, died in June, 2000 at the age of 31. Last year, no Malaysian qualified for the Volvo Masters of Asia in Bangkok and the award was given to P. Gunasegaran, who finished as the Malaysian PGA Order of Merit winner in 2003.

Kota Permai’s General Manager Ding Meng Sieng said: “We are proud and honoured to be picked once again to host what is Asia’s most important event. Our club will ensure that the course provides a true championship test to the region’s best players.”