Friday, December 1, 2023

Flashback: Shiv Kapur’s breakthrough win

Christmas came two weeks early for India’s Shiv Kapur in 2005. On this day, December 11, 15 years ago, he recorded a memorable victory in the Volvo Masters of Asia at Thai Country Club, in Bangkok. It was his first win in the professional game and followed a decorated amateur career. We spoke to Kapur about that breakthrough week, in a tournament which was the season-ending Tour Championship on the Asian Tour – for the elite top-60 players from the final Order of Merit.

For Shiv Kapur, simply making the field for the prestigious Volvo Masters of Asia at Thai Country Club at the very end of 2005 was enough of an achievement.

The then 23-year-old rookie had successfully negotiated the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January and after a slow start to the first half of year he found some momentum, nearly winning the Double A International in Thailand in November.

Another rising star at the time Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil – a 17-year-old amateur – defeated him on the second hole of extra time, but it was an encouraging performance by the young Kapur.

Much was expected of the Indian star-in-the-making who had claimed the gold medal in the Asian Games in 2002 in Busan – amongst a plethora of amateur game achievements.

“I remember going into the week [at the Volvo Masters of Asia] being so pleased to make the Tour Championship in my opening season,” said Kapur, from his home in Dubai last week.

“Retaining my card was my primary goal. I remember I was locked in a race for Rookie of the Year with Andrew Buckle at the time. But I was just happy because back then the Volvo Masters of Asia was the Tour Championship and a goal for all of us to play in.

“I had watched it on TV and seen all my compatriots and friends play in it. I just thought if I can get into that field it would be a great way to end the season. And low and behold I put myself in contention.”



Four new venues to join Asian Tour Destinations

Four of Asia’s most-exceptional golfing venues – Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club in Malaysia, Laguna Golf Lăng Cô in Vietnam, Sapporo Country Club and The North Country Golf Club, both in Japan – have become part of Asian Tour Destinations.

All four are award-winning venues, with a history of hosting world-class tournaments, and join a select group of members at Asian Tour Destinations – which is an exclusive network of elite golf clubs with direct ties to the Asian Tour.

Earlier this year Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand; Classic Golf & Country Club in New Delhi, India; and Kota Permai Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, became part of the emerging network.

They joined Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore – which was the first golf club to sign-up in 2015.

Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner and CEO of the Asian Tour, said: “Asian Tour Destinations is flourishing and now boasts eight of the finest golf clubs in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asian Tour is delighted to welcome the latest additions to this exclusive membership body.

“The main objective of Asian Tour Destinations is to provide an affiliate membership programme between the associated venues and the Asian Tour – which will drive sustainable growth and development for the betterment of golf in our region as a whole.”


Asian Tour greats applaud Serapong changes

From left – Zaw Moe, Unho Park, Cho Minn Thant and Kyi Hla Han

Myanmar’s Kyi Hla Han and Zaw Moe, past winners of Singapore’s National Open, enjoyed the privilege of playing the newly-renovated Serapong course at Sentosa Golf Club and as expected, they were full of praise for the famous layout.

Han, a former Asian Tour number one and winner of the Singapore Open in 1994, and Moe – the 1997 Singapore Open champion – were invited by the club to play the course during its soft opening.

They were joined in their group by Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner & Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Tour, and Australian Unho Park – a 20-year veteran of the Tour, who is now a key part of its’ administrative team.

The Serapong, voted by the players on the Asian Tour as the ‘Best Golf Course on Tour’ last year, had been closed since March as it underwent extensive renovations.

The soft opening was held on Friday and saw all the members of staff who worked on the course get to play it for the first time before the official opening on Saturday.

Changes have been made to the bunkers – which now have creative, artistic serrated edges – fairways, and tee boxes.

“The renovations are great!” said Han, a former Commissioner of the Asian Tour.


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