Historic day looms for golf in Cambodia

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Historic day looms for golf in Cambodia

Post  Croc on Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:25 am

The inaugural Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open is poised for a historic launch when the event tees off at the Phokeethra Country Club from November 29 to December 2.

The US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament, which has received the full backing of the Cambodian government, will be the first professional golf tournament to be played in the emerging nation where the aspiration is for a Cambodian golfer to someday lift the national Open.

Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen will officially launch the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open on November 29 before the tournamentís first round gets under way.

A strong line-up of Asian Tour stars led by Thailandís Thaworn Wiratchant, a former Asian number one and holder of a record nine victories in the region, will compete at the highly rated Phokeethra course.

Other top names who will vie for the inaugural Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open title include Thailandís Chapchai Nirat and Scotlandís Simon Yates, both ranked in the top-10 of the Asian Tourís UBS Order of Merit.

The Phokeethra Country Club is steeped in the history of the region. Within its grounds stands the magnificent ancient "Roluh" bridge dating back to a khmer expire in the 11th Century AD and is older than the famous Angkor Wat which is located in Siem Reap.

It is said that the bridge once formed part of the ancient route that connected the Phimai ruins in Thailand with Angkor Wat.

The clubís slogan aptly reads "Tee-off in the 11th century and finish your round back in the 21st century" and the best players from the Asian Tour will be challenged by the picturesque course.

The name "Phokeethra" is derived from Sanskrit words Bhogi, the powerful Phya Naga serpent spirit and Dhara meaning a large city.

Johnnie Walkerís Sam Fischer, General Manager, Indochina said: "We are very honoured to have this opportunity to work with the Phokeethra Country Club and Asian Tour on the Cambodian Open, and we look forward to watching some truly inspirational golf in Cambodia.

"Most of all, the tournament is a platform to promote the philosophy that lies at the heart of the Johnnie Walker brand: Keep Walking. This philosophy is about inspiring people to take the next step on their journey towards their goals. Professional Golfers are inspiring examples of this message as they have overcome challenges to excel at the highest level of the sport. We hope that the tournament inspires others to follow their own dreams."

Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said he was looking forward to the first Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open, which is one of six new events on the Schedule this season.

"We are truly excited about the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open. The launch of this event symbolises the growing emergence of professional golf in new golfing countries like Cambodia and it augurs for the game in Asia.

"We also firmly believe that this new event will provide the inspiration for Cambodians to learn the game and hopefully someday, a local player can go on to become the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open winner," said Han.

The Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open is the penultimate event on the 2007 Asian Tour Schedule. A record 28 events offering over US$27 million in total prize money is being offered to the regionís stars this year.

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Croc

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