AIR BAGAN MYANMAR OPEN SET TO REINVIGORATE PROFESSIONAL GOLF
The return of the Air Bagan Myanmar Open presented by IBTC will provide a welcome boost to professional golf and sports tourism in the country, officials said today.
The full field US$300,000 event will feature on the Asian Tour Schedule from April 8-11 following a four-year lapse. The event will be staged at the highly rated Gary Player-designed Pun Hlaing Golf Club.
A strong line-up of Asian Tour stars are tipped to head to Myanmar’s national Open, including Australia’s Gavin Flint, who emerged victorious at the Air Bagan Myanmar Masters, which marked the launch of the Asian Development Tour in January.
Local stars Zaw Moe, who has one win on the Asian Tour, Aung Win, who finished second at the Myanmar Masters, and Zaw Zin Win will spearhead the local challenge and bid for the top prize of US$47,550.
The Myanmar Open was last played in 2005 when Australian Scott Strange defeated Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour number one, and its timely revival is geared to enhance the country’s reputation as a golfing destination.
Htoo Thet Htwe, Managing Director of Air Bagan Ltd, said the Myanmar Open will put the country back on the international golf map.
“We are confident that the staging of the Air Bagan Myanmar Open will help spur the development of the game in our country. With Asia’s top players expected to compete at Pun Hlaing, it will serve as an inspiration and motivation for our young and talented golfers to reach for the stars,” said Htwe.
“Ultimately, it is our intention that the Myanmar Open will herald a local champion. We have had many great players like Zaw Moe and Kyi Hla Han emerging from Myanmar over the past decade but none have won the Myanmar Open. We believe the revival of this great event will provide the impetus for our golfers to excel.
“Through this title sponsorship, we also hope to showcase Myanmar as a golfing and tourism destination,” he added.
U Tint Oo, Executive Director of IBTC, said: “It is truly exciting for IBTC to be involved with the return of the Myanmar Open, which is the jewel of all tournaments in our country. We believe that our support will go a long way in helping the game to grow here and it is our hope that young Myanmar golfers will take this opportunity to perform well in the Myanmar Open.”
U Kyaw Paing, Director of SPA Group of the Pun Hlaing Golf Club, is confident the club will provide a stern challenge for the players next month. “When we hosted the Myanmar Masters in January, we received positive feedback from the players and we intend to prepare our golf course to its best condition and ensure a truly championship test.
“As a national Open, we hope to unveil a worthy Myanmar Open champion, one who will be required to play the best golf throughout four days of competition.”
Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han welcomed the return of the Air Bagan Myanmar Open presented by IBTC on the Asian Tour Schedule. “We are delighted to welcome back the Myanmar Open and we are grateful for the support from our sponsors and partners for making this into a reality.
“Many great champions have emerged from past Myanmar Opens and our players have always enjoyed playing in this country. We are confident this year’s tournament will spark renewed interests in the game in Myanmar and help the game to grow,” said Han.