The Empire Hotel & Country Club, JERUDONG, Brunei (August 19, 2008) – An array of Asian Tour stars led by defending champion Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei will be shooting for glory at the Brunei Open starting on Thursday. Lin will lead the region’s elite players who have assembled for the US$300,000 Asian Tour event at the prestigious Empire Hotel and Country Club from August 21 to 24.
Other notable golfers in the fourth edition of the Brunei Open include former winners Wang Ter-chang of Chinese Taipei and Terry Pilkadaris of Australia, in-form Malaysian Ben Leong, who won the Worldwide Selangor Masters two weeks ago, Filipino Angelo Que, former Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, India’s Gaurav Ghei and Korean young gun Noh Seung-yul.
The Brunei Open will be supported by a myriad of corporations once again this year, including Brunei Shell which is the event’s title sponsor. Brunei Shell Managing Director Dr. Grahaeme Henderson said, “We are honored and delighted to play a major role in the staging of the fourth edition of the Brunei Open. As a corporate citizen of Brunei, we are compelled to support the initiative to develop professional golf in the country, which I believe has a very promising future.”
Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, director of Brunei Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, chairman of the Brunei Open 2008 Organizing Committee mentioned in his opening remarks, “Our commitment to nature preservation, the environment and our eco-tourism potential in ‘The Green Heart of Borneo’ is exemplified by the trophy that we present to our Brunei Open winners, in the shape of a nepenthes or pitcher plant, one of the most emblematic plant species in Borneo and Brunei, where they can grow to impressive sizes, as we would like our golf and ecotourism visitor numbers to do!”
Lin, who has already won once this season, will be hoping to become the first player to successfully defend his title in Brunei. “I’m looking forward to the tournament as I enjoy playing in Brunei,” he said.
Teen phenom Noh will gunning for a winning debut at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Empire course after a storming front half of the season where he chalked up three-runner-up finishes. “There are many good players on the Asian Tour so that is why I have even surprised myself with my performances this year. It has given me the drive and motivation to pursue greater and better things in the remaining months. One of my goals in the second half of the year is to win my first Asian Tour title, and I am working towards that now,” said the 17-year-old Noh.
After a quiet first half of the season, 2006 Brunei Open champion Wang is looking forward to a solid outing this week. “Considering my age, I think my form and stamina is still very good. I can walk the course and cope with the other players, so I am in good shape to contend,” said the 46-year-old Taipei-based player.
Another Chinese Taipei veteran Lu Wen-teh will be amongst those tipped to challenge Lin’s crown. “The course is very scenic. It’s not too long, and you have to hit it straight to shoot a good round. As long as the course is not playing too long, I should be able to produce some solid scores,” said Lu.
Australia’s David Gleeson and Adam Le Vesconte have both finished as runner-up in the last two editions of the Brunei Open and they will be determined to notch one better at the Empire course. “I’ve just found a set of clubs, which I’m really happy with now. I’m driving it great, and it’s taken so much pressure away at the par five holes. Before, I was just relying on my iron play. So I’m eager to compete in Brunei with my new found form,” said Gleeson.
But the man of the moment heading into Brunei is Malaysia’s Leong who will be hoping to carry his winning streak into Brunei. He won two Malaysian events prior to his Asian Tour breakthrough and is now aiming for his first international victory. “I’ll definitely aim for four wins in a row,” said Leong, who topped the field in the last two years of the Asian Tour Qualifying School.
Brunei Tourism, Empire Hotel and Country Club, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Brunei Darussalam Golf Association are extending their support towards the championship once again. Profitable Group, an international company which encompasses a range of activities from the highly commercial to the philanthropic, will for the first time become the event’s presenting sponsor.
Organizers of the Brunei Open will embrace the “Heart of Borneo” program, which was initiated to ensure that one of the last remaining rainforests in the world is maintained in a sustainable manner.