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NST Online: Sports

Golf / Maybank Malaysian Open: Local pros yet to tee off

Posted: 18 Apr 2011 05:21 PM PDT

Jugjet Singh

Maybank Malaysian Open winner Matteo Manassero pocketed US$416,660 (RM1.25 million).

Maybank Malaysian Open winner Matteo Manassero pocketed US$416,660 (RM1.25 million).

THEY have consistently been rubbing shoulders with some of the world's finest players but the experience, if the recent Maybank Malaysian Open is used as a yardstick, is not helping local pros.

Only Danny Chia made the cut from the 22-strong Malaysian field who were given the opportunity to play in their home Open and this does not augur well for the development of local golf.

Most of the players were also given free use of the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course on a regular basis in the buildup to the Open which, obviously, didn't seem to do them any good.

Even worse was the fact that some had the cheek to complain about the weather and the fans, blaming both for their mediocre performances.

What makes the situation even more hard to stomach is the fact that Malaysian golfers can't claim to lack opportunities to play top level golf for as many as four major international events are held annually in the country.

The money, as Maybank Malaysian Open winner Matteo Manassero can attest to, is huge in golf with the Italian teenager pocketing US$416,660 (RM1.25 million) for his four days of work.

It was a victory achieved despite the presence World No 1 Martin Kaymer and rising star Rory McIlroy.

Manassero wasn't overawed by the situation and took everything, including weather delays, in his stride to lift the Seagram Trophy.

In fact, more and more Asians are beginning to make a mark on the game and Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman is one of them.

The stocky history-maker, Bangladesh's first ever winner on the Asian Tour, finished an impressive eighth at the KLGCC and pocketed US$62,500 which pushed him up to second in the Asian Tour's Order of Merit behind S.S.P. Chowrasia of India.

Chowrasia, winner of the season-opening Avantha Masters in India, leads the rankings with a total haul of US$410,077. Siddikur has garnered US$117,607 so far.

Third on the Asian money-list is Sujjan Singh of India (US$97,326), while fourth is Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand (US$89,769) and fifth Shiv Kapur of India (US$89,163).

The 50th edition of the Maybank Malaysian Open saw huge crowds at the KLGCC on all four days, and it is highly likely that the prize money will increase and some of the world's best will converge again next year.

What is highly unlikely though is that a Malaysian will hold aloft the trophy.

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Hockey: Crunch match will decide champions

Posted: 18 Apr 2011 05:19 PM PDT

THE chase for the MHF-NSC-Milo Junior League Division One title will come to a boil when UniKL and Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) square off on Sunday at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium.

UniKL have a maximum 24 points after eight matches, while BPSS have 21 after seven.

BPSS will have an easy encounter against eighth-spot Ipoh Juniors on Friday, and then the crunch match will decide the new champions.

BPSS are the defending League champions, and UniKL the Overall champions.

Last season, UniKL needed a win to seal the League title but drew 1-1 and finished second.

The draw was enough for BPSS-Thunderbolt, who have been competing since 2000, to bag their maiden Division One title with 22 points from seven wins and one draw.

UniKL finished second with 20 points from six wins and two draws.

"We were so close to a double but the draw dashed our hopes. This season, we have piled up the goals and have a 12-goal lead over BPSS.

"However, even with the comfortable goal difference, we do not intend to play for another draw. An outright win is what I will plan for," said UniKL coach S. Velappan.

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