05 August 2018
Host team Learn From the Past
Despite missing five of their top players due to the Asian Tour schedule, the Professional Golf of Malaysia Tour have put together a formidable team to compete in the PGM-IGT Championship that cannot be underestimated.
The battle lines are drawn for the third edition of the Professional Golf of Malaysia Tour - Indonesian Golf Tour Championship’s Ryder Cup-style event on August 1-3. All indications show the friendly rivalry between the two geographical neighbours is intensifying.
After Malaysia won the Individual and Team category at Kota Seriemas Golf & Country Club at the inaugural event, Indonesia turned the tables on home turf when the event switched to match play for its second edition. With one win to each team, the third event of the annual tournament is set to become a fierce battleground. Lessons learned by both teams are expected to pitch strategy versus strategy, but in the end, it is execution that will count.
Pairings for the first two formats have to capitalise on individual player strengths (a player may excel in long hitting, while his partner may be good with the short game: approach shots and putting). Pairings also have to take into account compatibility and ability to see eye-to-eye in deciding the kind shots to be played. This is where it is imperative for team captains to gel partnerships together and work on strategy.
Heading up the Malaysian team, is M. Ramayah, a seasoned veteran, who was among the leading golf stars in the 70s and 80s. The PGM has selected him to take on the role of non-playing captain this year. Learning from last year’s experience, Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, PGM Chairman, admitted that choosing a captain from among the players had proven to be a bad idea because he was caught between his own game and the games of his team.
Speaking about this year’s upcoming contest, Tun Sarji said, “We know the Indonesians are strong. They showed it on home ground, playing consistently well around and on the greens, while we faltered.”
In addition to the appointment of a new captain, the strength of Malaysia’s team has increased with the presence of S. Sivachandhran who didn’t join the team last year. Sivachandhran is a new Tour member this year and already won the Professional Golf of Malaysia Tour’s Match Play Closed Championship on July 8.
Seven of last year’s Malaysian team will play in the championship once more, while five of the top players are not be included in this year’s team due to playing commitments on the Asian Tour. Along with Siva, the other 11 members of the team are Kenneth De Silva who was runner-up to Sivachandhran in the Match Play Closed Championship. Daeng Abdul Rahman (third), Amir Nazrin (fourth), Khor Kheng Hwai (winner of the Matchplay 2017), R. Nachimuthu (second, Matchplay 2017), Amirul Aizat Abdul Bahar (third, Matchplay 2017), Shahriffuddin Ariffin (fourth, Matchplay 2017), Sukree Othman (by virtue of playing more than half the PGM Tour events, currently ranks fourth on the Tour’s money list), Kim Leun Kwang (played more than half the PGM Tour events and ranks eighth on the money list), M. Wafiyuddin (played more than half the Tour events and is ninth on the money list), Mohd. Nazri Mohd Zain (played more than half the Tour events and ranks 13th on the money list).
Tun Sarji has explained that the value of the event is the way in which it fosters team spirit among the players, unlike regular tournaments with individual play where players go about their business with little interaction.
This year’s PGM-IGT Championship offers a total prize purse of RM200,000, with RM130,000 going to the winning team.