The sixth annual Angkor Amateur Open teeing off tomorrow at the Sir Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap has been fully subscribed, surpassing last year’s record turnout.
The strongest field of 126 ever assembled for the Kingdom’s blue-ribbon amateur golf event includes three past winners – American Don Bland, Cambodian Ly Hong and reigning champion Michael Moir of Scotland.
With players from 17 countries to swing into action, the race for the overall title will be as fierce as it will be exciting. Left-hander Ly Hong will lead the local charge in the company of 16 compatriots as he tries to recapture the title he won in 2012.
The talk of the contest is American Eddie Cho, who has a handicap of 2 and will be hoping to make that form count.
Division A has its strength in depth, with a dozen players holding handicaps ranging from 0 to 5 and 30 more players with handicaps below 8.
The largest group of 44 players falling into the 11-19 handicap bracket will contest Division B, while 22 players figure in Division C.
The women’s event has attracted a record 18 players, and all of a very competitive standard. Phnom Penh resident Aim Guilfoyle is among those fancied for the title, in a field filled with a number of seasoned Singaporean players.
The star attraction once again will be Australian professional Scott Hend, who will conduct a clinic for the benefit of the players during today’s practice session.
After a record 2013 season on the Asian Tour, Hend finished second on last year’s Order of Merit, claiming three titles and racking up a whopping $600,000 in prize money along the way.
“It is a mark of the stature of both the venue and the event that the Australian pro has always been eager to get back to AGR,” resort director of golf David Baron told the Post yesterday.
“In return for the hospitality shown, Hend is a willing ambassador for Siem Reap golf tourism while travelling the world on the professional circuit.”
He added: “I am delighted by the turnout and response we’ve had this year. In recent years the event has become well established and continues to grow each year.
“The Amateur Open is a professionally organised tournament on a world class course but we also focus heavily on ensuring the over-all hospitality and guest experience is memorable.
“We want guests to have fond memories of Cambodia when they return home and encourage their friends to visit the Kingdom,” added Baron, who is a member of the British PGA.
In addition to numerous value-added perks included in the player’s package, there are over $10,000 worth of prizes to compete for. These range from luxury all-inclusive golf holidays to Vietnam, Bali and Malaysia to an array of top-end golf equipment and goodies.
Away from the heat of the battle, also on the program is the Charity Challenge, with all donations going to a local charity organisation in Siem Reap province.