IT was an eye-opener for amateur golfers in Sarawak when the BMW Golf Cup International Malaysia's bandwagon rolled up at the Sarawak Golf Club (KGS) in Kuching for the third leg of the tournament on July 7. By staging its first-ever leg there, BMW not only took amateur golf competitions in the state up a notch, but also offered Sarawakians a taste of premium golfing.
The golfing gods must have been smiling on the Land of the Hornbills as the conditions were just right for a round — balmy weather and rain-softened greens that ran at a respectable competition speed of 9.5 on the stimpmeter. It was just too bad that the bunkers of the challenging course were waterlogged.
There is no lack of amateur golf competitions in this city as one is held almost every other week. However, participating in a tournament that is run differently must have been refreshing for the golfers. "It was a tournament with a difference," said Alan Sinui, QC manager of Sanmina-SCI. "From the moment we arrived at the bag drop and registered for the competition, we were treated extremely well. Then, we found our door gifts in our lockers. The hospitality accorded was exceptional."
Sinui, who was among the early birds at the 36-hole golf course, had a rewarding day as he won the Nearest to the Line novelty prize by landing his ball 18 inches from the line. "It was great to be able to golf in such conditions. The weather was wonderful and I got to mingle with people from different backgrounds and professions. It was a joy to share their passion."
Simon Wang Shen Hua, who is the dealer principal of BMW cars in Sarawak, said he asked for a leg of the BMW Golf Cup International Malaysia to be staged in the state as there were many requests for it from BMW owners who played golf. "We wanted to offer our customers a chance to enjoy premium golfing with BMW. It was a truly enjoyable experience for many and the leg got off to a good start.
"The golfers enjoyed the exclusivity of the event. We hope to make it even grander next year and plan to publicise it better by putting up more banners and notices at KGS to inform golfers of the tournament." The former single handicapper had a mixed round, landing a few pars, bogeys and double bogeys.
One of the biggest winners of the day was 21-handicaper James Chuo To Sui, who shot 42 points to triumph in Category B. On top of qualifying for the National Final of the BMW Golf Cup International Malaysia, to be held on Nov 21 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, he also won the grand lucky draw, the prize for which was a Corum Admiral's Cup Competition 40 watch worth RM23,700.
"It was an exceptional day for me," said Chuo. "Winning the event was one thing, but to walk away with the grand lucky draw prize was beyond expectation. Everything was really exceptional today, from the running of the event to the door gift and the prizes."
The garden-style halfway huts where refreshments were served and the hospitality buggy used by the hostesses to serve the golfers snacks and drinks and provide them with sunblock and pain relief spray were also given the thumbs up.
The BMW Golf Cup International was first staged in Germany in 1987. This was the sixth year the amateur tournament for BMW owners was held in Malaysia. Over the years, the tournament has attracted 150,000 participants from 46 countries. The BMW Golf Cup International 2012 Malaysia has been expanded to nine qualifying legs, covering for the first time the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak.
The top three golfers from each leg will qualify for the National Final where the top scorer in each category will represent Malaysia at the World Final in South Africa. The next leg of the tournament will be held at the Sutera Golf and Country Club in Kota Kinabalu on July 15.
This story appeared in The Edge on July 16, 2012.