BLACK MOUNTAIN MASTERS RETURNS AS ASIAN TOUR’S SEASON FINALE
Bangkok: The Black Mountain Masters will return as the Asian Tour’s season finale from December 16-19, 2010, promising a gathering of the region’s top stars in Thailand to vie for the coveted Order of Merit crown.
Officials announced in a press conference today that the tournament’s prize fund will also increase by US$100,000 to US$600,000, with this year’s winner taking home a cool US$95,100.
Swedish star Johan Edfors has confirmed his title defence at the spectacular Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, which is located south of the capital city of Bangkok.
“I’m certainly excited about coming back to Black Mountain to defend my title from last year,” said Edfors, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour.
England’s Simon Khan, winner of Europe’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship this year, and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen will also feature in the full field Asian Tour event, which made its debut in March last year.
The Black Mountain Masters will be the fourth tournament in Thailand to feature on the Asian Tour Schedule this season which reinforces the strong association between the Asian Tour and the golf-loving nation.
Over the years, Thailand has produced great champions including history-maker Thongchai Jaidee, Boonchu Ruangkit, Prayad Marksaeng, Chapchai Nirat and Chinnarat Phadungsil.
“We are honoured and delighted that the Black Mountain Masters will take up the prestigious position as the season-finale event that will bring the thrilling 2010 Asian Tour season to an exciting close,” said Harald Elisson, General Manager of Black Mountain.
“This will also be our signature event that gives us the opportunity to host the elite players on the Asian Tour. We are also delighted to confirm the participation of Black Mountain members and property owners Edfors, Ilonen and Khan and we are looking forward to another spectacular week of golf,” added Elisson.
Last year, the big-hitting Edfors, who has won three titles in Europe and also the TCL Classic in China, completed a commanding wire-to-wire victory at the Black Mountain Golf Club. The course is set in a valley next to the "Black Mountains" – so named because of the large black rocks which are set into the mountains.
Home hero Prayad finished tied second after a blistering final round 64 with Chapchai and reigning Asian Tour number one Thongchai sharing fifth place.
Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han believes the return of the Black Mountain Masters as the Tour’s season-finale will ensure another thrilling conclusion to the year as players vie for the Order of Merit title and also their Tour cards for next season.
“On behalf of the Asian Tour, I would like to express our fullest appreciation to Black Mountain Golf Club for its strong support of the Asian Tour. Its commitment towards professional golf is instrumental towards the growth and development of Asian golf.
“Last year’s inaugural event was highly successful and our players were absolutely complimentary of the world-class facilities and championship golf course at Black Mountain.
“The Asian Tour continues to receive strong support from Corporate Asia, especially in Thailand and I’m confident the Black Mountain Masters will bring an exciting climax to our 2010 season especially when there is so much to play for,” added Han.
Since the inauguration of the Asian Tour as a members’ organisation in 2004, a total of 22 tournaments offering a combined purse of over US$29 million have been staged in Thailand.
The full field Black Mountain Masters will feature 144 players where the tournament winner will earn a two-year exemption on the Asian Tour, widely regarded now as the third largest Tour in the world behind the PGA Tour and European Tour.
The tournament will also be broadcast live over four rounds on the Asian Tour’s global television network which reaches to over 40 countries worldwide.