SUBANG, Dec 10 — Versatile sportsman Wong Hung Nung rode on his experience to a seven-stroke victory in the 20th grand final of the Prudential Astro Masters in Muscat, Oman last week.
The oldest golfer in the field at 59, Wong carded a one-over 73 in the first round played at the Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club. He trailed Johari Ahmad of Brunei by two strokes while Mohd Nasir Othman was third after shooting a 75.
On day two at the Greg Norman-designed seaside links of Al Mouj, Johari blew up with a 14-over 86 while Nasir faded to an 81. This paved the way for Hung Nung to win the title he so badly wanted, and his four-over 76 was enough to give him an aggregate of 149 and a seven-shot victory.
“I qualified for the Prudential Astro Masters grand final a few years back, but could not make the trip,” said Hung Nung who advanced to Muscat after winning the sixth leg at Kelab Golf Negara Subang.
“This has been a wonderful tournament. The courses were in great shape, the food was wonderful and the organisation awesome. We’ve had an unbelievable experience here in Muscat,” said Wong, looking as fit as any 30-year-old.
Hung Nung played football for Malaysia and retired in 1987. He took up golf and played for country in the Putra Cup from 1990-94 and the Eisenhower Cup World Amateur Championships in 1990 and 1992. He represented the country in the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 and won the team gold and individual bronze in the 1989 Sea Games.
He turned professional in 1994 and won the Awana Genting Masters in 1998, beating Australian Adam Henwood on the first playoff hole with a birdie.
Hung Nung gave up his pro status in 2008. He could only obtain his amateur status two years later — as required by the Rules of Golf — after writing to the Malaysian Golf Association.
For his victory, Wong received a silver trophy, a Milo hamper, a Panasonic 65-inch Smart LED television worth RM7,500 and a one-year term membership from Tropicana Golf & Country Resort valued at RM20,00.
Johari was not at all disappointed despite squandering a one-stroke lead overnight. “It’s been a great trip. Winning or losing does not matter. What matters is we all enjoyed ourselves thanks to the wonderful efforts of the organisers.”
Johari who ended up third, took home a Panasonic Purifier as consolation. Nasir finished second and won a Bridgestone driver retailing at RM2,590.
In the net category, a five-under 67 at Muscat Hills gave Cik Nordin Nayan a four-shot cushion going into the second round at Al Mouj. The 12-handicapper could only card a three-over 75 but it was enough for a 142 aggregate and a six-shot victory over Pakhruddin Abdul Majid and a further two strokes over Ahmad Shahrul Anuar Hj Sidek.
Nordin won a silver trophy, a RM4,500 Titoni watch and a one-year term membership (RM20,000) at Tropicana GCR. Pakhruddin collected a Bridgestone driver while Ahmad bagged a Panasonic sound bar system.
Prizes worth a whopping RM180,000 were up for grabs in the grand final of the Prudential Astro Masters celebrating its 20th anniversary. It was the first time the final was held outside East Asia. Previous destinations ever since Prudential Assurance Malaysia became title sponsors, were at Pattaya, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Surabaya, Phuket, Siam Reap, Hanoi and Hainan Island.
A total of 36 finalists out of 40 qualifiers made the trip to the Middle Eastern city. They advanced after finishing as either gross or net winners from the 20 qualifying rounds across Malaysia that began in April and ended in September.
Biggest cheer of the night came for Hassan Rejab who pocketed a RM20,000 Titoni watch in the lucky draw. The other prize, a three-year term membership worth RM50,000 at Tropicana GCR, went to Nick Dahl.
The guests’ category saw 53 participants comprising sponsors, members of the media and VIP guests. Mohan Palaniappan representing Samsonite took the honours when the 14-handicapper scored 78 Stableford points, edging out Hasnata Hassan (handi 16) on countback. Mohan carded 37 points at Muscat Hills and blazed Al Mouj with 41 points.
Mohan took home a Panasonic 40-inch LED TV, a Panasonic Slow Juicer and a golf trolley from Vin Sporting House. Hasnata won a Bridgestone driver while third was Khor Teong Beng who bagged a Samsonite cabin bag. He scored 76 points.
All the participants were accommodated at the Park Inn by Radisson hotel, a four-stay establishment in the heart of Muscat. Oman Air was the official airline supported by Oman Tourism.