The Malaysian Reserve

Champions to the core

(From left) Ng, Lim, Angel, Low and CK East MD Ng Chong Kiat at SAASgCC in Shah Alam

The annual ‘Champion of Champions’ clash may have been dampened by rain, but the spirit of this unique 2-day tournament remained true to its intention of giving club winners an opportunity to duel it out and become a winner among winners

The 32nd hosting of the CK East-Golf Malaysia ‘Champion of Champions’ Championship 2018, originally conceived to bring the champions of golf clubs from Malaysia and Singapore together to duke it out for honours on an annual basis, was as expected — competitive, friendly and successful.

Three champions were crowned with Green Jackets, Men, Women and Senior, at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf and Country Club (SAASGCC) in Shah Alam on Aug 18, and with the sponsorship of premier property developer CK East Group.

The occasion also offered to all who participated the opportunity to win a hole-in-one prize of a property voucher worth RM300,000.

With much on the line to play for, in no small part because official equipment sponsor Srixon Sports Asia Sdn Bhd had an array of their latest golf equipment and accessories waiting to be presented once the winners were declared, it was every player for themselves when the blare of the horn heralded the start of play.

Scheduled to be played over 36 holes, the winners were declared on first day scores, because rain halted proceedings on Day 2 after just four holes.

There is a silver lining to everything, and Low Suck Sun, 62, knows that best. He arrived thinking he was registered for the Senior category only to find his club entered him as the Men’s champion, but that did not daunt him and he emerged champion, claiming the Green Jacket, US Masters style.

Low, a one-handicap and a 20-year golf veteran at Staffield Country Resort in Mantin, Negri Sembilan, shot a gross 73. For comparison, the Senior winner, Lim Kian Chong, 60, a four-handicap, turned in a gross 74.

A retired electrical contractor, Low keeps his game sharp because it’s a “source of income”, taking to the golf course three or four times a week, with a select group of friends. He holds up his right hand and rubs his thumb and index fingers together indicating money, money, money. As he puts it: “Can survive lah.

As for Senior champion Lim, he made it a hat-trick this year and attributed his success to practice, practice, practice — which he does diligently, once a week at the very least. SAASGCC and Glenmarie Golf and Country Club (GGCC) are his home courses, preferring the latter for the more friends he has over there.

Even if the Champions event this time had gone the full distance, he fancied his chances of winning because he was on a roll, paring the four holes he played before the rain came. As a district manager with AIA Group Ltd, the insurance giant, he has closed many a deal, thanks to golf.

“It’s a great game and it has taught me patience, just what I need in doing insurance work.” Add how to stay focused and there you have it, an ideal game for him. It’s a game that has instilled patience in Lim, a quality that serves him well while playing, especially in competitions. A hat-trick of wins in this particular tournament bore out his claim.

Speaking half in jest, Lim said he thought his feat would have allowed him to keep the Challenge trophy, but it was not to be, and he was awarded an exquisite Bohemia crys- tal trophy that he can proudly add to his growing collection.

But, if there was anybody who stole the show, it had to be Angel Hii, just 14. A two-handicap, the Sarawakian shot a six-over 77 to win the Ladies category. This Sarawak Golf Club member won the Ladies club cham- pionship last year to earn her right to be at the Cham-pions gathering.

She had taken to golf when she was seven and hasn’t looked back since, playing in competitions whenever she can. A younger brother, Saxon, aged 12 and a six-handicap, also plays competitive golf.

She’s in an international school in Kuching and already has her sights on college golf in America, leading to a pro career, if all goes according to plan. The way she comes across — articulate, confident and with poise — indicates a dream come true assuredly, barring the unforeseen.

Parents are providing 100% support. In fact, her father, once in the motor business, now manages everything at home and takes care of her and brother, while Angel’s mother gives her all to the restaurant she owns. She used to golf, but not anymore.

“It was my dad who made me try out golf and I just loved it. He’s just great, encouraging me even when I don’t do well in competitions and feel down. I am very lucky.

“I made changes to my swing and I feel better, now that I have won here,” she added.

For idols, she has Michelle Wie and Brooke Henderson.

Currently, Angel and her brother have latched onto a coach from Thailand, going to see him whenever possible, while he flies out to them when he can. Her father is on hand to watch intently, video record and make sure they stick to the game plan.

Academically, Angel’s into philosophy, psychology and English literature, subjects that can be seen as helpful to what she intends to do with her life — the mental aspects and drama she will have to face.

Runner-up to Low in the Men’s division was Ruhanraj Vinayagam from Royal Pahang Golf

Club with 74 gross. He was followed by a trio who returned rounds of 75, namely Muhd Afzal Mhd Zubir representing Kelab Rekreasi Tentera Udara (KRTU); Alan Chong Chek Fei, Kota Permai Golf and Country Club (KPGCC); and Loh Jun You, Nilai Springs Golf and Country Club. Sixth, seventh and eighth were also decided on countback after all returned 77s — Lee Kah Ching, Miri Golf Club; Mohd Shahidi Yahya, Ayer Keroh Country Club; and Muhamad Syafiq Abd Rahman, Kuala Kangsar Golf Club. The final prizes went to Nuralif Mohd. Zahari, Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Club in ninth, on 78, on countback over Amir Benno, Danau Golf Club (DGC) in 10th.

Dr Zalani Khuzaimah from Universiti Putra Malaysia Padang Golf picked up the prize for Best Nett (70).

In the Women’s division, Datuk Azlina Abdul Aziz from KPGCC was runner-up to Angel with a round of 81. Third place went to Dania Lau Sook Wan of Royal Selangor Golf Club (84) and Mychelle Tai, Tropicana Golf and Country Club (TGCC), pipped Fatimah Rosli Impian Golf and Country Club for fourth on when both carded rounds of 87.

Pat Lai Pik Chun, GGCC, earned the Best Nett prize (70).

Subang National Golf Club’s champion, Wong Hong Nung, narrowly lost out in the Senior category, carding a round of 75, while third to fifth placing were decided on count- back when all finished with 78s. Kamarulzaman Abu Saman from DGC placed third; Lee Chock Khai, KRTU, fourth; and Eric Foo Hwa Peng, Saujana Golf and Country Club, fifth.

The Best Nett went to Calvin Wong Chin Tong, Ponderosa Golf and Country Club (69).

There were a number of novelty contests scattered throughout the course and the Long- est Drive rewarded representatives in the three main divisions. The Men’s prize went to Ruhanraj with a 258m effort, Lau drove 202m to claim the Women’s prize and Foo claimed the Senior prize with an impressive 267m shot that outstripped even the Men’s distance.

The big draw card, should a hole-in-one have occurred, was at Hole 2 on the Alam Shah Nine where a RM300,000 CK East property voucher was hanging in the balance. Unfortunately when Day 2 got washed out, so too did this golden opportunity, but the golfers took it in their stride.

For the really lucky among the crowd, there were numerous prizes golf-lovers hanker after and a number of extremely attractive Grand Lucky Draw prizes to be given away as well. These included a set of Wilson irons, Titoni watch, Liberty Golf vacation and property vouchers courtesy of CK East.

Golf Malaysia Publications Sdn Bhd GM Andrew Ng thanked golfers and sponsors for keeping the event going, with a special mention for title sponsor CK East.

Other parties that played an important role included Srixon Sports Asia, Liberty Golf, Titoni, David Physiotherapy, Wilson Golf, Cobra, Grindworks, Vega, SweetLife, Rudy, Impiana Hotel KL, SunPlay, Carlsberg, Spritzer, TGCC and Templer Park Country Club.

Winning Partnership

There’s nothing like teaming up with an old schoolmate to leap headlong into the property development market.

It’s the story of CK East Construction Sdn Bhd founded by Ng Chong Kiat in 2003, and when it came to growing the company into a full fledged property developer incorporating concept and design, he turned to his old schoolmate Tan Aik Huat, a civil engineer who graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“I worked as a contractor, but I wanted to build as well. Even as a contractor I went to Tan to help me with concept and design for certification by an engineer. We work well together.”

And it shows in the developments being undertaken since 2008 with the bold proclamation: “Absolute in our conviction, resolute in our commitment.”

Its signature developments include East Utama in Kayu Ara, near Bandar Utama, that’s been completed and features 18 units of three-storey terrace houses in two facing rows, linked together by an elevated slab on the first floor.

Ng has discovered that it pays to be original. “Whenever I travel (and that’s often) I am on the lookout for new concepts,” he said.

Watch out for his One East@Damansara in Kayu Ara, Petaling Jaya, a five-storey cluster development of 67 different sized units, 18 of them with swimming pools.

Tan described it as a limited edition development.

Ng goes by a desire to provide value for money, simply because most people are using hard earned money to buy property.