ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Els Club Desaru Coast Shines in Spotlight

William Harold and Joe Heraty (front row with trophies) pose with officials from the MENA Tour and The Els Club Desaru Coast.

Desaru Coast, Johor, Malaysia: The Els Club Desaru Coast staged back-to-back events on the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tour as the circuit made its inaugural Malaysian Swing.

The MENA Tour’s debut in Malaysia was made possible through the collaboration of Johor Golf Tourism Association (JGTA) and The Els Club Desaru Coast, a Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, and support from Tourism Malaysia.

Colonel Mohd Jamal Salleh, President of the JGTA, expressed his enthusiasm about the MENA Tour’s first visit to Desaru Coast, highlighting the positive impact for the golf industry in Johor and how it will help promote golf tourism in the region.

More than 110 golfers from 27 countries took part in the two 54-hole events that formed the Malaysian Swing.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive. The chance to play at The Els Club Desaru Coast’s world-class Valley Course, designed by Vijay Singh in collaboration with Ernie Els and his design team, was a major draw for the players,” said a spokesperson for the MENA Tour.

The Malaysian Swing proved especially popular for England’s Joe Heraty and William Harold.

With a 54-hole total of nine-under 207, Heraty became the first MENA Tour event winner on Malaysian soil, finishing three shots ahead of joint runners-up Paul San of Malaysia and Italian Arron Zemmer. Of the 36 Malaysian players in the field, 14 made the cut, and five finished in the top 10 overall.

In his victory speech, Heraty thanked The Els Club Desaru Coast’s General Manager Harris Abdullah and his team with special praise ‘for the fantastic work carried out by golf course superintendent, Sean Kinsley’.

In the second event, Harold posted a 10-under aggregate of 206 for a wire-to-wire victory. Malaysians Erwin Chang, San and Galven Green finished second, third and fourth respectively.

Harold said: “My sincere thanks to the team and all the sponsors of the MENA Tour Malaysian Swing. Without them, these events do not happen. I look forward to returning to Malaysia again soon as I have enjoyed our time here.”

Harris Abdullah (third right) with officials from the MENA Tour and Johor Golf Tourism Association.

General Manager Abdullah said: “The MENA Tour’s expansion into new territories, such as Malaysia, is a testament to its commitment to promoting the sport of golf and providing talented players with the chance to compete at the highest level.

“With the success of the 2023 Malaysian Swings, it is clear that the Tour’s reputation for excellence and its ability to attract a global participation continues to grow stronger with each passing year.”

Speaking at the gala dinner hosted by Tourism Malaysia at the Westin’s Desaru Coast Convention Centre, Muhamad Nasir Pahmi, Director of Tourism Malaysia (Southern Region), said he hopes to see more international golf events make their way to Johor in the future.

MENA Tour Tournament Director Stuart Daly said: “We can’t wait to return to The Els Club Desaru Coast. The golf course provides so many opportunities and challenges to the players. The hospitality we have experienced from our hosts in Malaysia has been outstanding. The team at The Els Club Desaru Coast and our official hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, have both been world-class.”

Established in 2011 with the backing of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour is one of the 20 ‘Eligible Golf Tours’ recognised by the Official World Golf Ranking.

The Tour offers professional and amateur players, in particular from the MENA region, a chance to play competitively at top-class venues, providing them with a platform to showcase their talent and gain experience.

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