Ace of Aces — delivering golfers a unique experience

Golf Malaysia’s 29th edition of its Ace of Aces Championship, played at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf and Country Club with top-end property developer Yong Tai as title sponsor, becomes a winner in its own right

By SHIV DAS

What are the odds for a golfer to score a holein- one? Actuaries (the professionals who calculate chances statistically) put it at 12,500 to 1 for amateurs. For professionals, it’s 2,500 to 1.

Achieving it more than once in a lifetime must increase the odds even more. But forget the odds. The chances of achieving the elusive ace must surely increase the more one plays and that should be all that matters for rank amateurs.

Likewise for Golf Malaysia Publications Sdn Bhd, simply showcasing the feat, with exclusive competition for all such achievers, is all there is to it.

It’s worth the effort, bringing together Acers from all over the country — including Sabah and Sarawak — equipment, apparel and beverage sponsors and for this year’s event, property developer Yong Tai Bhd as title sponsor and the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf and Country Club for a fun event.

For low handicappers, it was another opportunity to stamp their prowess, but perhaps for the majority, it was an outing to enjoy the setting and atmosphere, the exercise and connections to be made, and take minds off the cares of mundane life.

In this, the competition’s 29th edition, 98 achievers and 16 invitees took to the course on a day that had cloud cover producing an oven-like effect. “It was really hot out there”, was a refrain that kept repeating itself, as the players returned to the clubhouse after their round.

A refreshing shower would have been most welcome, followed by a hearty lunch in the club’s ballroom.

Golf Malaysia GM Andrew Ng was on hand to welcome everyone and acknowledge the generous support that enabled the magazine publisher to hold the tournament year in and year out over the past two decades and more.

Yong Tai had come in as title sponsor this year. Its chairman Datuk Syed Norulzaman Syed Kamarulzaman and other big wigs Datuk Beh Hang Kong, Anthony Ang Meng Huat and Subramaniam AV Sankar not only graced the occasion, but also participated in the event.

Dancers from Encore Melaka, a big part of Yong Tai’s development, entertained those present and provided a glimpse of the acclaimed cultural show in the historic city. Special discounted tickets for the show were also offered.

But the spotlight finally settled on the players, and the prize presentation was a long affair as there were lots to be given out to those who played well and those who took home a host of lucky draw items.

The winner of the Ladies Division was Mazne Yusof, on countback from three others. She played to her 12 handicap, with 19 Stableford points, courtesy of one birdie in her first nine and 17 in her second.

Owner of a mini market, she now also “owns” the ladies champion title of the Yong Tai Ace of Aces Championship 2019.

She qualified on the strength of two holes-inone that she scored in her golfing joy spanning “more than 10 years”.

“I just love golf,” she said, all smiles. “I feel so good when I hit a great shot.” And if it’s a bad one? She grimaced with eyes closed and lips pursed.

A member of the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, she won her “major”, the ladies’ crown at the club championship last year. Her maiden victory at Aces topped the other occasions she partook in.

Losing out to her on countback were Kim Joyeon (17), Low Mun Kan (18) and Lee Kee Hoon (12). Fifth place went to Jan Chan (12) on countback with 35 points.

The Men’s Division 1 winner was Dr Zailani Khuzaimah with two birdies in his round that saw him score 21 points for the first nine and 17 for the second in his outright win, which was all the more sweet as it was his first time in the competition.

The four handicap, 44-year-old research officer with Universiti Putra Malaysia has two aces to his credit since he started playing in 2002. For him, there’s nothing like the game of golf and the self management it calls for.

“If you want to play well, you need discipline and make the right decisions”, such as playing safe when the situation demands it, something he’s trying to impart to his two teenage sons who are into the game as well.

Second to fifth place was decided on countback when all returned with 37 points. Yap Choon Boon (7), Tan Woei Teck (9), Chua Soon Leng (11) and Mohd Hisham Husain (11) happily collected their prizes in this division.

Men’s Division 2 winner Mohd Zahari Hasan (handicap 14) had 37 points to pip eight others on countback. There were 28 players in this category.

Collecting the prizes for second to fifth were Yong Kim Shoon (15), Chuah Tiew Hun (16), Danavandhan Batumalai (16) and Ali Halim (16).

Mohd Zalghani Hassan triumphed in the Men’s Division 3 that had a field of 47. He was a clear winner, having scored 37 points for his round, one point better than his nearest rivals. A countback was also needed to divvy up the prizes and Abdul Malik Sekak (19) took second, Mokthar Harun (19) third, Danial Badderon (19) fourth and Mohamad Haizan Jaafar (19) fifth.

The Invitational category was an equally tight affair with K Vasudevan (16), MD of Prestige Golf Sdn Bhd, taking the honours over Edwin Thomas (20) and Chia Hua Ong (24) on countback after all returned 36 points. Beh (16) and Syed Norulzaman (20) picked up fourth and fifth on 35 points.

There were a stream of lucky draw prizes to complement the main prizes and the most sought after — a three-day, two-night golf trip for two people to Siem Reap courtesy of Liberty Golf Services — was won by A Ganesan when Syed Norulzaman caught his scorecard in mid air.

Also up for those with a keen eye and lucky strike were novelty prizes for the Nearest-to-Pin, Nearest-to-Bunker, Longest Drive and a hole-inone scored on any of the par-3 holes.

A Mazda 2 was for the taking on Hole 3, but Lady Luck did not turn up for anyone. The remaining par-3 holes offered a Titoni-Golf Malaysia Hole-in-One Watch worth over RM5,000, and here again, no takers.

Chan Kai Vernn shot the Longest Drive of the day, 255 metres, on Hole 2, Sultan Nine, while the Nearest-to-Pin went to Ahmad Damanhuri Sabri on Hole 8, Alam Nine, with a 16ft five inch effort, and Datuk Md Pishal Ab Raub took home the Nearest-to-Bunker prize on Hole 9, Alam Nine, with a 5ft on inch effort. All received an exclusive Vega Wedge.

The tournament was a success in large part to the generosity of the supporting sponsors — Mazda, Liberty Travel, Srixon, TaylorMade, Grindworks, Titleist, MST Golf, Prestige Golf, Bridgestone Golf, Cobra Puma, FootJoy, Wilson Staff, 100Plus, Ice Mountain, Sunplay, PGR Custom Classics, Carlsberg, Grande Vida Cigars, David Spine Solution, the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club and the Templer Park Country Club.