More stars for Johor Open golf
Nusajaya (Malaysia), Dec 4 (IANS):
More international stars were announced Tuesday for the Asian Tour season-ending Iskandar Johor Open at Horizon Hills Dec 13-16.
Daniel Chopra, John Daly, and Kevin Na will join the 120 player field in a bid to capture the winner’s cheque from the $2 million prize purse and claim the final trophy on the Asian Tour calendar.
Chopra, the 2011 runner-up, is looking to go one better this time around. He came so close last year at Horizon Hills losing out by just one shot to Joost Luiten of the Netherlands.
Chopra has experienced victory in the region before, winning the Johor Open back in 1993, a year after turning professional. The Swede has 14 professional victories to date including victory on the Asian Tour in 2001 at the Taiwan Masters.
‘I was disappointed not to walk away with the winner’s trophy last year so I would love to make up for it this year and finish my season on a fantastic high. It’s a challenging course so hopefully I can use my past experiences in Johor to get into contention from day one,’ Chopra said.
Big-hitting Daly from the United States is playing in his 15th season as a professional and is ranked fourth for driving distance on the PGA Tour. He has five PGA Tour wins to his name including victory in the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open. His best performance this season has been a tied-fifth place at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
South Korean Na, who turned professional in 2001 at 17, this season has had six top ten finishes on the PGA Tour including tying for 10th at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. His best performance this season was a fourth place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Currently sitting on top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit after his second place finish at last weekend’s Kings Cup, Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant could close a remarkable year with another victory and cement his position as the Tour’s top golfer.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar is also looking to push himself further up the Order of Merit Title with a late surge of top results and earnings. Currently sitting fourth, he’ll be looking to add to his two titles already captured this season.
Since the inaugural event in 2007, the prize money for the tournament has increased five-fold from $300,000 in 2007 to $1.25 million in 2010. In 2011, the prize money grew to $2 million and will remain the same for the 2012 edition.
Past champions of the event are Padraig Harrington (2010), K.J. Choi (2009), Retief Goosen (2008), and Artemio Murakami (2007) while Dutchman Joost Luiten collected the silverware and his share of the $2 million prize purse last year.