Those of you who were in Thailand last week and were lucky enough to be able to get to the Blue Canyon Country Club in Phuket for the Johnnie Walker Classic would have enjoyed a fantastic tournament. The final day in particular lived up to all expectations as a new star was born when South African Anton Haig won his first European PGA Tour event in a dramatic playoff.
Twenty-year-old Haig joined the likes of Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo to become a Johnnie Walker Champion. Haig’s sudden-death playoff victory over Oliver Wilson and Richard Sterne was spectacular as he birdied the 18th hole in regular play and followed up with a birdie in the playoff to take away the US$404,993 first prize. Sterne and Wilson tied the playoff hole as well, each earning US$213,688.
The challenge from the big names failed to materialize in the last day of play; Retief Goosen shot 70 (2 under par) for a 4 round total of 10 under par. Colin Montgomerie who could not take the heat and humidity closed with a poor final round of 71 to fall behind, finishing 8 under par. Following weak play in the second round, Canadian Mike Weir was impressive with 68 and 67 over the weekend to finish in fifth place at 9 under par.
Spectators were treated to some great golf on the last day when Haig and his long hitting produced a key shot under pressure on the par 4 13th hole. There were roars from the crowd as he hit his tee shot within 10ft of the pin, setting up a great birdie and a grand stand finish.
Blue Canyon Country Club course is in great shape and this played a big part in the drama, especially the challenging par 3s. The golf course was certainly no pushover as can be seen from the scoring. Nevertheless, the course record was equaled four times in the tournament, with Indian Gaurav Ghei shooting 64 on the last day, which included an eagle on the 1st.
A golfing friend of mine in the UK who has never been golfing in Thailand watched all four days on SKY TV. The whole set up of Blue Canyon and the sights and sounds of golfing in Phuket came over so impressive it whetted his appetite for a Thailand golfing visit; he arrives in Thailand at midnight tonight!
If anyone was at the Phuket golf tournament last week please feel free to post your comments here. Also, if there are some who just got interested or curious about a Thailand golf trip, drop me a line at my Thailand golf vacation company and I will be glad to suggest something to satisfy any desire.