Bandar Seri Begawan - The Empire Hotel & Country Club proved a big hit with the European and Asian star players who competed in the most thrilling Royal Trophy competition so far. Players from both teams praised the facilities and the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at the seven-star Resort in the Sultanate, the first venue outside Thailand to host the series of matches which brings the continents of Europe and Asia together.
Asian star Jeev Milkha Singh, one of the game's most-travelled players, described the surroundings at The Empire Hotel & Country Club as "majestic". He commented: "I have played golf all round the world and it makes such a difference when you can enjoy this level of comfort actually on the course itself "I think they will do very well here in attracting the recreational golfers as well as the professionals like ourselves, and I hope the Royal Trophy has helped to bring it to more people's attention.
"The staff could not have been more helpful, and the course set-up was perfect for Match Play, where you want to see a lot of birdies made - and we certainly witnessed our fair share over the three days.
"Majestic is the right word for the resort, which is a pretty appropriate description when you are playing in a tournament such as the Royal Trophy"
Super-Swede Henrik Stenson, forced to accept defeat for the first time in his fifth Royal Trophy appearance, was equally glowing about the Host Venue. The former world number four and World Match Play Champion said: "I have played for Europe at all three venues chosen so far, and while they have all been excellent settings this was the most enjoyable experience up to date.
"That is down to a combination of no travelling, wonderful accommodation and practice facilities, and a course that was generous but certainly not easy.
"We saw several eagles over the final two days, but also a few double bogeys, which showed you could not afford to take liberties with the golf course.
"And it was great to be able to relax by the pool or in the spectacular Atrium once we had finished playing or practicing. "
"Unlike the Ryder Cup, we are able to enjoy a fair amount of `free time' during the Royal Trophy," added Stenson referring to the fact that in the Ryder Cup a player may have to play two rounds in a single day while at the Royal Trophy each competitor only participates in one match in each of the three days.
The winner of the 2012 South African Open further added: "It is great not to have to spend too much time travelling between the course and your hotel. Having the course on your doorstep is absolutely ideal."
The Royal Trophy Managing Director Lincoln Venancio added to the positive comments made by members of the European and Asian Teams: "The sixth edition of the Royal Trophy was an enormous success. The two teams concluded the competition tied at 8-all and then proceed to partake in the first-ever play-off since the inception of the Competition."
"But in addition to magnificent and highly competitive matches played between two outstanding Teams comprised of great champions and led by legendary Captains, The Empire Hotel & Country Club as the Host Venue was most definitely a major highlight. From the stunning hotel lobby and Atrium, the oversized rooms, the flawless quality of service and the golf course set in such a naturally privileged location; this is an unforgettable venue," added Lincoln Venancio.
The sixth edition of the Royal Trophy was held as a tribute to the late legendary five-time Major winner Seve Ballesteros who passed away in May 2011 following a two-and-a-half year courageous battle against brain cancer.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin