The highly anticipated 2023 SJM Macao Open will bring world-class golf back to the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China this October 12-15.
To be played at its traditional venue, the picturesque and challenging Macau Golf and Country Club, the US$1 million tournament will form part of the 2023 Asian Tour schedule and feature a field of 144 players.
The Macao Open is title sponsored by SJM Resorts, S.A. (SJM), who have signed a three-year agreement with tournament promoter and organiser IMG. SJM is a leading owner, operator and developer of premium integrated entertainment resorts in Macao. The Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government is the co-organiser of the SJM Macao Open, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Macao Golf Association.
Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour CEO & Commissioner lauded the return of the event, saying: “The return of the Macao Open is hugely significant for the Asian Tour, as it has played such an important role in our history for over two decades. There is no doubt that our members are all excited to see it back on the schedule and look forward to turning out in force to soak up the atmosphere of competing in this special event. Our thanks go to SJM Resorts for paving the way for the event’s return together with the Sports Bureau of Macao, the Macao Golf Association, Macau Golf and Country Club and IMG.”
Pun Weng Kun, President of the Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government, said: “We are extremely grateful for the full support of the title sponsor SJM Resorts, as well as the commitment of the Asian Tour and the Macau Golf Association, in reinstating the Macao Open. The Sports Bureau continues to introduce various large-scale sports events, using sports as a platform to enhance Macau’s image as a world centre of tourism and leisure. By combining sports, culture and tourism, the branding and impact of sports events are enhanced while promoting the development of Macau’s sports industry.”
Daisy Ho, Managing Director of SJM, remarked, “We are extremely excited to see the homecoming of the Macao Open since 2017. As we tee-off to a three-year partnership, we are ready to roll out the red carpet to the world’s golf legends as well as welcome overseas golf enthusiasts to our hometown.” She further emphasised, “The event will not only bring Macau to the forefront of the global golf community but will also give our local youngsters the chance to participate in PGA-caliber competitions. The SJM Macao Open is a highlight of our annual international sports calendar curated to showcase Macau as a true hub of sporting excellence and drive the dynamic fusion of ‘Sports + Tourism’ developments for Macau.”
The SJM Macao Open has attracted some of the world’s leading players since its inception in 1998. Players confirmed so far for the tournament this year include rising Australian star Min Woo Lee, currently ranked among the top 50 in the world, and China’s legendary trailblazer, Zhang Lianwei, who won the tournament twice in 2001 and 2002.
“This will be my first time competing in the SJM Macao Open and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve heard so many great things about the event and the venue, Macau Golf and Country Club, and hopefully I will be able to add my name to the illustrious list of winners,” said the 25-year-old Lee, who is the younger brother of LPGA star Minjee Lee.
Zhang is regarded as a pioneer for Chinese professional golf with numerous wins worldwide including five on the Asian Tour and is also the first Chinese golfer to play in the Masters Tournament in 2004.
“The Macao Open is one my favourite tournaments as it has provided so memorable moments in my career, especially in 2002 when I won a playoff against Nick Price. I’m sure we will see some great action this year and I can’t wait to test my skills against the next generation of golfers,” noted Zhang.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, the title holder from the tournament’s last staging in 2017, will be returning to Macao to defend his title. He will be joined by other leading golfers from the region such as 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Scott Hend of Australia who has won 10 times on the tour, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines who has three Asian Tour titles to his name, and Australian Wade Ormsby who has won four times on the circuit.
Regional powerhouse Thailand will have a host of players in the field, led by Sadom Kaewkanjana and the legendary Thaworn Wiratchant, who holds the record for most Asian Tour wins having amassed 18 titles over his glittering career.
The 2023 SJM Macao Open will also feature young talents such as Taichi Kho of Hong Kong, China, who won the World City Championship on home soil earlier this year for his maiden Asian Tour title, and promising local amateurs Hun Pui-In and Kaijun Ma.
Hun played in the SJM Macao Open in 2016 and 2017 while he was still a junior, missing the cut on both occasions. However, he gained valuable experience from his two appearances and is looking forward to the third.
“It was a truly unforgettable experience playing in the Macao Open, and I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and insight competing against some of the best players in the world. I am so happy to be given the chance to play in the event again and hope to do better this time,” said the 23-year-old.
Charles Lo, President of Macao Golf Association stressed that the return of Macao Open was a welcome development. “After a lapse of five years, the return of the Macao Open is something that we are all looking forward to tremendously. The tournament will certainly provide a huge boost to the local golf industry,” he said.
Grant Slack, EVP & Managing Director, Golf Events of IMG, noted: “It has been a pleasure to play our part in the staging of the SJM Macao Open over the years. We are very excited about the 2023 edition, and it is our aim to make it a memorable occasion befitting the 20th milestone.”