A strong field has assembled at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club in Malaysia to do battle for the Iskandar Johor Open. It’s the first time the event has appeared on the European Tour schedule.
A number of the European Tour’s best players have remained in Asia to contest this tournament as they look to secure their places in the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
Padraig Harrington, the defending champion, is currently 76th on the Race to Dubai with only the top 60 making it to the lucrative final event. The Irishman is some €90,000 behind 60th placed James Morrison so he needs a good result here to move into one of the qualifying spots.
Others trying to make the leap in to the top-60 this week include Rhys Davies (currently 62nd) and Soren Kjeldsen (currently 75th.)
Anthony Kim of the USA will be one of the star attractions this week. The 26-year-old finished in tied third last week in Singapore and a victory this week should push him back inside the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“That’s the goal,” Kim said. “Obviously playing in the Majors is very high on my priority list. I’m just trying to get better every single week, and it seems to be happening. I just need to play better and hopefully give myself a chance to win this week.”
Also teeing it up will be Louis Oosthuizen, Colin Montgomerie, Ross Fisher and Camilo Villegas.
This will be the fifth running of the Iskandar Johor Open. Until this year it has been a full-field Asian Tour event, but this season it has become co-sanctioned with the European Tour. This has led to a significant increase in the prize fund – up to $2 million.
In last year’s tournament, Padraig Harrington ended a lengthy winless streak, firing 20-under par to finish three clear.
The course at Horizon Hills, designed by Ross Watson, is always popular with the players. Last season the greens received particularly good reviews.
Venue: Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club, Johor, Malaysia
Date: Nov 17-20
Course stats: par 72, 6,945 yards
Purse: €1,476,000 Winner: €242,580
Defending Champion: Pablo Martin (-11)
Thursday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 6am
Friday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 6am
Saturday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am
Sunday 20 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30am
Joost Luiten – The Dutchman has enjoyed a good season and is sure to be playing in the season-ending Dubai World Championship. He was tied fifth last week in Singapore and is desperate to secure his breakthrough victory on the European Tour. This could be the week.
Anthony Kim – He’s full of confidence after solid recent performances and, when Kim is confident, he’s a force to be reckoned with.
Danny Lee – The talented young Kiwi was tied fifth last week in Singapore and he looks to be coming back towards his best form. If he can find that, he could well contend.
Key hole: 18th. A 519 yard par 5 offering a number of strategic options. From the tee the players either have to lay up, turning the hole into a three-shotter, or they can go for the island fairway from the tee – a carry of some 275 yards. Then they’ll aim at a green that’s surrounded by water on three sides. There’s the possibility of picking up shots on this daunting final hole, there’s also the possibility of a complete meltdown.
Preview – Alfred Dunhill Championship