ALL SMILES (from left): Datuk David Yap of Astro, Fiona Liao of Prudential, Cik Nordin Nayan, Wong Hung Nung, HE Shahril Effendy Ghany, the Malaysian Ambassador to Oman and P. Jeganathan, the Organising Committee chairman.
Wong Hung Nung had to count on his experience and all his skill to steer him to a deserving seven-stroke victory in the 20th grand final of the Prudential Astro Masters in Muscat, Oman last week.
At 59 the oldest participant in the field, Wong carded a one-over 73 on the first round played at the Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club.
He trailed Johari Ahmad of Brunei by two strokes while Mohd Nasir Othman was third after shooting a 75.
On the second day at the Greg Norman-designed seaside links of Al Mouj, Johari blew up with a 14-over 86 and Nasir faded to an 81.
This opened the gates for Wong to win the title he so badly wanted, and his four-over 76 was enough to give him an aggregate of 149 and a seven-shot victory.
“I had qualified for the Prudential Astro Masters grand final a few years back, but could not make the trip,” said Wong who advanced to Muscat after winning the sixth leg at Kelab Golf Negara Subang.
“This has been a wonderful tournament. The courses were in great shape, the food was wonderful and the organisation was awesome. We’ve had an unbelievable experience here in Muscat,” said Wong, looking as fit as any 30-year- old.
Wong played football for Malaysia and retired in 1987.
He took up golf and played for the country in the Putra Cup from 1990-94 and the Eisenhower Cup World Amateur Championships in 1990 and 1992.
He represented the country in the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 and won the team gold and individual bronze in the 1989 Sea Games.
He turned professional in 1994 and won the Awana Genting Masters in 1998, beating Australian Adam Henwood on the first playoff hole with a birdie.
Wong gave up his pro status in 2008.
He could only obtain his amateur status two years later – as required by the Rules of Golf – after writing to the Malaysian Golf Association.
For his victory, Wong received a silver trophy, a Milo hamper, a Panasonic 65-inch Smart LED television worth RM7,500 and a one-year term membership from Tropicana Golf & Country Resort valued at RM20,00.
Johari was not at all disappointed with his performance despite leading by one stroke overnight. “It’s been a great trip. Winning or losing does not matter. What matters is that we all enjoyed ourselves thanks to the wonderful efforts of the organisers.”
Johari who ended up third, took home a Panasonic Purifier as consolation. Nasir finished second and won a Bridgestone driver retailing at RM2,590.
In the net category, a five-under 67 at the Muscat Hills gave Cik Nordin Nayan a four-shot cushion going into the second round at Al Mouj.
The 12-handicapper could only card a three-over 75 but it was enough for a 142 aggregate and a six-shot victory over Pakhruddin Abdul Majid and a further two strokes over Ahmad Shahrul Anuar Hj Sidek.
Nordin won a silver trophy, a RM4,500 Titoni watch and a one-year Term Membership at Tropicana GCR valued at RM20,000. Pakhruddin collected a Bridgestone driver, while Ahmad bagged a Panasonic Sound Bar system.
Prizes worth a whopping RM180,000 were up for grabs in the grand final of the Prudential Astro Masters celebrating its 20 th anniversary.
It was the first time that the final was held outside East Asia.
Previous destinations ever since Prudential Assurance Malaysia became title sponsors, were at Pattaya, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Surabaya, Phuket, Siam Reap, Hanoi and Hainan Island.
A total of 36 finalists out of 40 qualifiers made the trip to this Middle Eastern city.
They advanced after finishing as either gross or net winners from the 20 qualifying rounds across Malaysia that
began in April and ended in September.
The biggest cheer of the night came for Hassan Rejab (picture above) who pocketed a RM20,000 Titoni watch in the Lucky Draw.
The other big Lucky Draw prize was a three-year term membership at Tropicana GCR won by Nick Dahl.
It was valued at RM50,000.
The guests’ category was contested by 53 participants comprising sponsors, members of the media and VIP guests of Astro.
P Jeganathan with Mohan Palaniappan, champion of the Guest Category.
Mohan Palaniappan representing Samsonite took the honours when the 14-handicapper scored 78 stableford points, edging out Hasnata Hassan on countback.
The latter’s handicap was 16.
Mohan carded 37 points at Muscat Hills and blazed Al Mouj with 41 points.
For his performance, Mohan took home a Panasonic 40-inch LED TV, a Panasonic Slow Juicer and a golf trolley from Vin Sporting House. Hasnata won a Bridgestone driver while in third was Khor Teong Beng, who bagged a Samsonite cabin bag.
He scored 76 points.
All the participants were accommodated at the Park Inn by Radisson hotel, a four-stay establishment in the heart of Muscat.
Oman Air was the official airline supported by Oman Tourism.