It was in 15th century Scotland that the modern game of golf originated but the ancient origins of this club and ball game are unclear and much debated. It takes precision, strength and a whole lot of dexterity when it comes to the game of golf. It is a sport that is a lot of fun to watch and definitely a lot more fun when one is an active participant in the game. An increasing number of Malaysians are making great strides in the world of golf and Top 10 of Malaysia takes a look at its list (presented in random order) of the 10 most admired players in the nation.
Danny Chia has been considered one of the most experienced and skilled Malaysian golfers. Chia is also the man of many firsts as he is the first Malaysian to play in the Open Championship (also referred to as the British Open). He is also the first to win in the Taiwan Open. Undeterred by a shoulder surgery, he proved his mettle by winning a title at the Asian Development Tour’s PGM Northport Glenmarie Masters in 2014. Chia turned professional in 1996 and his love for this elegant sport could be attributed to his father who used to bring him to the driving ranges.
A veteran in every sense, Nachimuthu who has won the PGM title not once but eight times in total is also known as “Mr. Consistent”. He is consistent all right as he warded off keen competitors as he won himself the Kelantan Closed Championship. When he was interviewed about his recent victory in Kelantan, the humble Nachimuthu complimented his opponent’s skills and tenacity. Recently, in April 2015, Nachimuthu bagged the PGM (Professional Golf of Malaysia) Johor Championship. With decades of experience under his belt, Nachimuthu will continue to give his opponents a run for their money.
Sukree Othman may only focus on local tournaments but that’s only because he is aware of where his strong points lie. He is known to be one of the professional Malaysian golfers who have shown a lot of promise in the past few years. In 2006, Sukree Othman was given the honor to represent Malaysia in the Doha Asian Game. In 2011 he won the PGM Harvard Classic which the Harvard Golf & Country Club hosted and in 2013, he won the Perlis Classic. The following year he continued to perform magnificently in the ASEAN PGA Melaka Championship.
Nicholas Fung, hailing from the Land Below the Wind, began playing precociously at the tender of age of just 12 but the 12-year old Fung had to wait another eight years before he was formally inducted as a professional player. His first win must have been a sweet memory as it was in 2010 that Fung won the tournament in the Mercedes-Benz Vietnam Masters against Panuphol Pittayarat. 2015 proves to be a bed of roses for this Sabahan as claimed his second Asian Development Tour win.
Kemarol Baharin who hails from the capital of the nation itself and educated in Sekolah Sukan Bukit Jalil, truly embodies the spirit of his origin. As early as 1999, the nation was excited with the hitherto debutant Kemarol Baharin and even equated him to be the Malaysian answer to the American Tiger Woods and the Spanish Sergio Garcia. Fast forward 16 years later and his fans are definitely not disappointed with his consistent performance. In April this year, he managed to win his third Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour Title and this is not his first. In fact, has won the title three times with the first being the Kelantan Classic in 2011.
Arie Irawan may have turned professional two years ago but with his dexterity and concentration, one will not be able to tell. When he is not honing his skills to perfection, Irawan can be found reading or working out in the gym. Citing his dream of playing in the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association of America) as his ultimate goal, Arie contemplated a career as an engineer if his golfing did not take off as planned. His continuous wins, such as the finishing in the sixth place on the ADT (Asian Development Tour) earned him the rating of being one of the most promising talents in Malaysia. His ADT victory also bagged him an Asian Tour card for 2015.
Descriptions of Shaaban Hussien are usually replete with adjectives such as gritty, heroic and brilliant, and they aptly describe this Malaysian professional golfer. Shaaban Hussein turned professional 12 years ago and there was no stopping for him ever since. Just 4 short years ago, he clocked in at number 6 at the Brunei Open in 2011. In the same year, he also managed to secure himself in a top-20 position at the Indonesian Masters. 2015 and the future will continue to prove to be a fruitful for him.
Airil Rizman Zahari
Airil Rizman has definitely made his mark in the world of golf in Malaysia. He debuted as early as 2003 in the Asian Tour but it was 2007 that proved to be the most memorable for he clinched his first victory that year. Airil Rizman’s dedication to golf further drove him to win the Asian Tour, making him the second Malaysian to ever to win the prestigious title. As a professional player, he has won a total of 8 titles on the Malaysian PGA tour.
Wilson Choo Zhe Ming
Choo credited his father as the reason for his early love for golf as he was only nine when he started. The fresh-faced 25-year-old won the PGM (Professional Golf of Malaysia) Pahang Classic in 2012 and has been considered a force to be reckoned with ever since. Earlier this year, Choo bagged the trophy at the PGM LADA Langkawi championship after beating Micah Lauren Shin. Currently Choo is ranked eleventh on the Professional Golf of Malaysia’s Order of Merit. Earlier this year, he devoted some of his time to nurturing junior players as his way of giving back to the world of golf.
Kenneth De Silva
De Silva’s experience in Maybank Malaysian Open in 2013 must have been unforgettable as it had intensified his desire to compete in the both the local and international golfing scene. Hailing from the Kepong, this 24-year-old has already been heating up the golfing scene ever since he won his debut title in 2012. In January 2015, De Silva won the PGM Kinrara Closed Champsionship. When this young man is not stocking up on those trophies, he concentrates on building his career, working with Professional Golf of Malaysia.