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BMW GOLF CUP INTERNATIONAL: GUEST OF HONOUR GARY PLAYER TOPS OFF UNFORGETTABLE WEEK IN SOUTH AFRICA

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Around 100,000 enthusiastic amateur golfers took part in the BMW Golf Cup International around the world and dreamed of qualifying for the World Final. The dream of 109 of those golfers came true in George, South Africa this week. At the Montagu and Outeniqua golf courses, designed by guest of honour Gary Player (RSA), they competed for the coveted title. Team Thailand ended the tournament at the top of the team standings. Nine-time Majors’ winner Player presented players from Thailand, Taiwan and Australia with the winner trophies for the individual rankings at the closing gala dinner.

“The motto for the World Final of the BMW Golf Cup International is ‘once in a lifetime’. In South Africa, the participants and their guests discovered just how impressively relevant this motto is, and experienced what the BMW brand stands for,” said Christian Masanz, Head of BMW Golfsport Marketing. “On behalf of BMW, I would like to congratulate Team Thailand and the three individual winners on their titles at the 28th World Final, and to congratulate all the participants on their fantastic performances.”

The Thai team was in a class of its own at the Fancourt Resort, located in the stunning region at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains, and ruled the event as it defended the title won last year in Dubai (UAE) with 328 points (Stableford, net), ahead of team Malaysia (305) and team China (290).

Among the Ladies, Min Hui Huang (Taiwan, 114) prevailed over second-placed Thanith Iam-Asa (Thailand, 107) by a clear margin. Third place was tied by South Korea’s Eunkyung An and Zeynep Alp of Turkey (both 101). In the Men I category, a thrilling final round saw Thailand’s Prakran Sappadungchon (109) catch Shah Rizan Ahmad (107) of Malaysia who had lead the first two days. In third place was China’s Guanzhong Chen (100).

Kiriakos Miltos enjoyed success in almost everything this week. The Australian started the World Final with a hole in one in the practice round and ended it as the winner of the Men II category. With 120 points, he left Austria’s Johannes Jaindl (114) and Sompong Kantha (Thailand, 112) in the shade.

“Firstly, I would like to congratulate the winners on a fantastic performance. Even qualifying for the World Final is an outstanding achievement in itself. It was an honour for me to attend this event in our beautiful home country, and especially at Fancourt which is so close to my heart,” said Player. “The BMW Golf Cup International has everything that makes our sport so special: exciting and yet demanding courses which I am proud to have designed, high-class competition, but also respect for each other and the opportunity to make new friendships and have a great time together. This has always been and remains very important to me – it was wonderful to have the opportunity to experience this camaraderie at the World Final.”

The 82-year-old was responsible for one of the highlights of the World Final as he delighted the participants and their guests with his legendary charm, astonishing fitness and infectious warmth at a golf clinic. The clinic was part of the extensive supporting programme with which BMW spoiled the starters and around 150 additional invited guests over the course of the week. The highlights in the free time ranged from BMW xDrive tours, through encounters with lions, elephants and other wild animals, to impressive experiences of South African culture and scenery.

Among the guests who got to experience all this was BMW works driver Bruno Spengler, who enthused about his visit to South Africa. “This was the first time that I was able to attend the World Final. I’m impressed, and not just because I am a keen golfer,” said the 2012 DTM champion. “I know the passion and perfection that BMW puts into organising events from motorsport so it was fantastic to be able to experience it at this unique golf tournament. Being able to share this experience with people from so many different countries makes it even better. That’s how sport should be.”

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