Open tees off

Main Stories, Sports

The National, Wednesday, May 11, 2011

THE South Pacific Export Lager PNG Open 2011 Golf tournament has offered the largest prize money event on the Queensland Sunshine Tour with A$125,000 in total prize money.
According to Queensland PGA tournament coordinator Justin Maker, in his first trip to PNG, the PNG Open had become a great stepping stone for players looking to breakthrough on the international scene.
The prize money has attracted a good field of professionals around the Southeast Asian region making it a truly international field.
There are five players from New Zealand, one from South Korea, one from Fiji as well as the first Solomon Islands golf professional, George Rukabo, who will once again take part after competing in last year’s event.
Maker said this year’s Open would see participation of local professionals in August Peni, Robert Peni and Nelson Gabriel.
The PGA coordinator said it would be a great opportunity for PNG players taking on some of the best professionals in the region.
Maker thanked PNG Open tournament director Garry Hoara, PNG Golf Association president Stan Walker and the organising committee for their commitment to constantly improving the Open.
He also extended his gratitude to SP Brewery for their continued support to the tournament.
The partnership that has been build over the years with the tournament showing the company’s dedication to PNG and its people and the PGA are very proud to be association with such a passionate company.
Hoara commended SP for their continued sponsorship, in particular increasing the prize money and making the PNG Open a leading golf event in the region.
He said the event promised to be even bigger and better than previous years making it the richest Pro-Am four round event on the Australasian circuit.
He confirmed that 64 professional golfers would be vying for the prize money on offer with 36 golfers making their debut.
Meanwhile, the 2008 PNG Open champion Josh Carmichael finished second to pre-tournament favourite and defending champion Heath Reed at the Coca-Cola Morobe Open in Lae on Sunday.
Carmichael, who led by one shot going into the final round, could only manage an even par round of 71 to finish one behind Reed, who birdied the final hole for a two-under round of 69 to finish at 13-under.
The popular Kiwi pro, who set the course record at Wairakei International with a 65 two years ago, was naturally disappointed that he came up short.
“I really felt good out there all week and it is great to finish second,” Carmichael said.
“But it would have been nice to take the PNG double after winning the Open back in 2008.”
New Zealander Michael Hendry is among the favourties to win his second national Open in 12 months after claiming the Indonesian Open in Jakarta last year.