ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Ogletree Wins Kyi Hla Han Award

Andy Ogletree has been named winner of the Kyi Hla Han Award as the Asian Tour’s Player of the Year for 2023. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

Singapore: Andy Ogletree’s remarkable 2023 season has earned him the stamp of approval of his peers with the American being named as winner of the Kyi Hla Han Award for the Player of the Year on the Asian Tour.

Ogletree won last year’s Asian Tour Order of Merit (OOM) title, as well as The International Series OOM, in runaway fashion and was the overwhelming choice for the Kyi Hla Han Award – after the final count of a players’ poll was conducted.

It’s the first year that the award has been named after the late Kyi Hla Han, the Asian Tour’s former OOM champion who later became the regional circuit’s Executive Chairman, making this latest accolade all the more significant for Ogletree.

In 11 starts, he won twice – at the International Series Qatar in February and at August’s International Series England – and recorded five other top-10s. That led to him winning the Asian Tour OOM by almost double the points, on 2,128.26, over the second-placed Miguel Tabuena from the Philippines, and The International Series OOM by almost double the prize money, with US$1,101,828.33, from second-placed Spaniard David Puig.

Cho Minn Thant, CEO and Commissioner, Asian Tour, said: “Kudos to Andy Ogletree for winning the Player of the Year Award, importantly during the season when we have named this prestigious trophy after one of the Asian Tour’s most-celebrated luminaries, Kyi Hla Han.

“Two important aspects stand out here. Firstly, the fight and determination of Andy to come back and make his mark in the game following a difficult start to his career when so much was expected of him.

“And secondly, the opportunity that the Asian Tour, and indeed The International Series, have provided for him to essentially establish himself as one of the game’s most exciting young golfers, who looks likely to be making a big impression in the years ahead.”

Ogletree succeeds compatriot Sihwan Kim as the Players’ Player of the Year and will share his time this year between the Asian Tour and the LIV Golf League, as claiming The International Series OOM secured him a place on the multi-million-dollar franchise.

“It was a perfect year,” said the American at the end of 2023. “The plan coming into the season and all along was to win and get back on LIV Golf. I managed to do that, which was very satisfying. I had a great schedule to play on the Asian Tour and I will cherish this year forever.

“I treated every tournament I played as if it was a Major championship. That was the only thing we thought about and talked about all off-season. I had just one aim. I won towards the end of last season in Egypt and had a lot of momentum going into the off-season and was able to develop some good plans with my trainer (Kolby Tullier) and my swing coach (Tony Ruggiero).”

Kyi Hla Han, who sadly and unexpectedly passed away in February of 2022, was himself a winner of the Player’s Player of the Year Award in 1999, the year he secured the OOM title.

Kyi Hla Han.

The forging of his name with the Players’ Player of the Year Award was a natural progression for the Asian Tour, and it is something that the Han family see as another important part of his legacy.

“Kyi Hla was always particularly proud of the acknowledgement the players gave him in winning the Players’ Player of the Year Award,” said his wife, Marlene.

She added: “The Han family are therefore extremely honoured and proud that the Players’ award will now be named after Kyi Hla, ensuring that his legacy and vision for Asian Tour players continues to grow and excel for generations to come.

“He always aimed to cement the ascendancy of Asian Tour players within global golf. He was always looking out for the best opportunities for its members and nurturing junior talent, while actively seeking to promote and grow the Tour.”

The Asian Tour’s 2024 season tees-off with the US$1 million IRS Prima Malaysian Open at The Mines Resort and Golf Club, from February 15-18.

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