The Sabah Masters will be the ninth full-field event on the Asian Tour this season and offers a prize purse of US$300,000.

The new event is supported by Tourism Malaysia which aims to boost tourism in Sabah, a Malaysian state located on the northern portion of Borneo. The event is also featured as part of the 2019 PGM Tour schedule.

The Sabah Masters will provide the region’s leading players, along with professionals from Malaysia, the opportunity to vie for top honours at the full-field Asian Tour event.

Asian Tour winner Ben Leong of Malaysia, lauded the staging of the event, saying it is a privilege for him to play an Asian Tour event in his home state.

“It’s going to be awesome playing an Asian Tour event at home. We have played in Sabah on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) but this is the first time in 20 years that we are playing an Asian Tour event here. It will be a great boost for Sabah,” said the Sabahan.

“I am sure all the players will have a great time in Sabah. The food is great here and everything is close by. Sutera Harbour is a modern resort golf course. It can play fairly straightforward or difficult, depending on how the officials set it up,” added Leong.

RIGHT: Leong is thrilled to be playing Asian Tour event in his home state. PHOTO: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images. TOP: Supplied/Asian Tour.

Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour Commissioner and CEO, said: “I would like to thank Tourism Malaysia and Sutera Harbour for their support. I am sure this event will help promote Sabah as a tourist destination through the Tour’s global coverage via its digital media channels and television platform. I look forward to a successful staging of the Sabah Masters next month.”

Rick Blackie, General Manager of the Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club, also expressed his excitement, saying: “We are very pleased to see the Sabah Masters return to its spiritual home at Sutera Harbour Resort for the 2019 running of the tournament.

“Now that the event is flying under the banner of the one of the world’s major tours, the Asian Tour; it will great to showcase our course and the Resort to the best golfers in the region and see how they fare.”

Designed by leading golf course designer Graham Marsh, the Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club boasts 27 holes for day and night golfing and has garnered various awards of distinction.

It is located on the island of Borneo where the golf course is finished with Bermuda grass and strategically challenging bunkers. It is beautifully landscaped with undulating terrain and numerous waterways, providing a challenge for both amateurs and top professionals alike.

The Asian Tour last visited Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state, when it held the 2008 Qualifying School in multiple locations in December 2007. Leong topped the class in front of his home supporters that year for his second straight Qualifying School win.