Chinese Taipei veteran Wang Ter-Chang, who won the US$300,000 tournament on the second hole of a sudden death shootout with Australiaâ€™s David Gleeson, welcomed the “great shape” of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course.
Australia’s Terry Pilkadaris, who won the inaugural Brunei Open last year when it was first included on the Asian Tour, again lauded both the course and The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
He said: “The hotel and course are definitely one of the best I’ve been to. Conditions are ideal. You have a great driving range and great practice greens. The course was in tremendous condition once again and the hotel was fantastic.”
The Asian Tour professionals voted Brunei as their favourite venue last year and the accolade as ‘Best Host Venue’ of all 27 tournaments may well be repeated for the second year running following a host of compliments this year.
India’s Amandeep Johl added: “The Empire is one of the best courses we’ve played in Asia.”
His compatriot Rahil Gangjee said: “The greens are in great condition and pretty much everything within 15 feet is a good try for a birdie.”
Justine Moss, editor of Golf Asia magazine, noted: “It’s not surprising that the Empire Hotel & Country Club was awarded â€˜Best Host Venueâ€™ by the Asian Tour in 2005. The condition of the course, the overall facilities and the service and organisation are really first class in this terrific 6-star resort. The Brunei Golf Open has really gone a long way to putting the country on the regional golfing map.”
Aaron Goh, editor of Asian Golf Monthly, added: “Many of the players, if not all, shared the same view that the course was probably one of the best they have played all season in Asia.”
At this year’s tournament from August 24 to 27, Wang, 44, defeated Gleeson after the pair finished level on 16 under par after four rounds. The Brunei Open was contested by 156 professional golfers including five locally-based pros and five amateurs.
The Empire Hotel & Country Club’s championship course is now an established venue on the Asian Tour.
Designed and built by 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus, the Empire Golf Course is Bruneiâ€™s finest and the epitome of championship golf, encompassing lush green fairways and tropical landscapes fringed by jungles with magnificent views of the South China Sea.
The par-71 course is the flagship for golf in Brunei and first made its mark by being voted â€˜Asiaâ€™s Leading Golf Resortâ€™ in the World Travel Awards.
With backing from Brunei Tourism for the second year, the Brunei Open’s establishment on the professional circuit can only serve as an inspiration to an estimated 3,000 social golfers in the country that has yet to produce a professional player.
Golf legend Nicklaus said: “By staging a professional golf tournament you get people interested in the game by giving them the opportunity to see some of the best players in the world compete in their own country.”
With such exposure, The Empire Hotel & Country Club is now hoping not only to encourage the sport in Brunei — but attract professional and leisure golfers from around the world. Allen Kelly, the resident pro of the Empire Hotel & Country Club was amongst one of the locally-based pros that participated in this yearâ€™s Brunei Open.
About The Empire Hotel & Country Club
On the doorstep of the oldest rainforests in Southeast Asia, The Empire Hotel & Country Club is an outstanding 5-star beach resort with a superb country club and floodlit Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course.
One of the worldâ€™s largest and most luxurious resorts, it features 359 spacious guestrooms and 61 lavish suites and private villas in a tropical garden estate.
With impeccable credentials for world-class meetings, conferences and exhibitions, it is a leading Asian venue for the MICE market.
Its new PADI dive centre is opening Bruneiâ€™s spectacular underwater reefs and shipwrecks to scuba-tourism.
For executive travellers, the hotel has an exclusive E-Club, and for families an E Kids Club keeps children entertained all day.
With its own cinema and theatre, the resort enjoys a prestigious profile hosting royal and state visitors to the Sultanate of Brunei.
A multiple-award winner since opening in 2000, it was voted â€˜Asia’s Leading Golf Resortâ€™ and â€˜Brunei’s Leading Hotelâ€™ for the second year running in the prestigious 2005 World Travel Awards with its breathtaking Emperor Suite, one of the worldâ€™s largest, voted the world’s â€˜Leading Presidential Suiteâ€™ for a record third consecutive year.
The resort was also voted Asiaâ€™s â€˜Best Resort Hotelâ€™ for the second year in a row in Travel Trade Gazette Asiaâ€™s annual travel awards.
The golf course was, meanwhile, sanctioned by the Asian Tour for the inaugural Brunei Open in 2005. Players subsequently voted it â€˜Best Host Venueâ€™ of the 27 tour events.
For more information, visit the resortâ€™s new website at: www.theempirehotel.com