Myanmar Open Set For February Return With Record Prize Fund

Yangon: The Leopalace21 Myanmar Open will make a welcome return in February, 2016 with a record prize purse of US$750,000 and a co-sanction seal from the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.

Officials announced today that Leopalace 21, which is in the business of constructing and managing apartments in Japan and the development and operation of serviced apartments and offices across the ASEAN region, will title sponsor Myanmar’s national championship following a three-year agreement.

The Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club has been selected to host next year’s edition from February 4 to 7.

Inaugurated in 1996, the Myanmar Open has been staged on 13 occasions on the Asian Tour with the last being played in 2013 when it was won by Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol.

Former champions include Asian Tour stars such as Boonchu Ruangkit and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Keng-chi and Japanese ace Tetsuji Hiratsuka while international players who have won in Myanmar include South Africa’s James Kingston, American Anthony Kang and Australian Kieran Pratt.

Leopalace21 President and CEO, Eisei Miyama believes its association as title sponsor of the Myanmar Open will enable it to fulfil its commercial objectives in the region while also supporting the game at the highest level in Asia.

“We are delighted to take up the title sponsorship of the Myanmar Open, which is one of Asia’s long established national championships. Leopalace21 is committed to grow the event through our initial three-year partnership with the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour and we look forward to a very successful tournament come February,” said Miyama.

“It is very exciting for us to be associated with professional golf in Asia for the first time which will provide the opportunity to raise our business profile in Myanmar and help create a foundation for our business growth in this wonderful country and across the region.”

Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said: “On behalf of our players, we are delighted to welcome back the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open. The event has long been a mainstay on the Asian Tour and we fully value the vision and support of our title sponsor, Leopalace21.

“We are also delighted to co-sanction the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open with the Japan Golf Tour. Through this partnership, golf fans in Myanmar and television viewers from around the world will have the opportunity to watch top stars from the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour going head to head at Royal Mingalardon.

“I am sure we will welcome a worthy champion to join illustrious names such as Thongchai Jaidee, Boonchu Ruangkit and Tetsuji Hiratsuka as winners of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open.”

Japan Golf Tour Chairman Katsuji Ebisawa said: “The Japan Golf Tour is thrilled to have the opportunity to visit Myanmar for the first time with this exciting development. I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Leopalace21 for title sponsoring the Myanmar Open and also the Asian Tour for inviting us to jointly sanction this prestigious championship.

“I am confident our members will enjoy the privilege to compete in Myanmar for the first time and we look forward to entertaining golf fans at Royal Mingalardon.”

Myanmar Golf Federation (MGF) President U Ko Ko Aye said the return of its national championship will spur local golf development and inspire young golfers to excel in the professional game. “The Myanmar Open is the pinnacle of golf in our nation and the return of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open in 2016 is very much lauded as it will impact the growth and development of golf in Myanmar,” he said.

MGF Secretary Chan Han added: “The interest of the game amongst our people will increase when they watch the best players from the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour in action. I would also like to thank Royal Mingalardon for being our host venue and I’m sure the players will face a true championship test when they battle for the title at the 2016 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open,” said Chan.