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Victories for Jayatilake and Mok Kee Pan in Sri Lankan Golf Classic

SRI LANKAN AIRLINES GOLF CLASSIC 2003

October 29th-November 1st, 2003

For immediate release
Saturday, November 1st, 2003

VICTORIES FOR JAYATILAKE AND MOK KEE PAN
IN SRI LANKAN AIRLINES GOLF CLASSIC

Qatar-based Darren Shaw and Singapore's Serene Poh win Gross competitions

Hole-in-one for Sank Mok Cho; Former test cricketer Wettimuny finishes fifth

RAJAWALLA (Sri Lanka): Malaysia's Mok Kee Pan and Sri Lanka's Niloo Jayatilake won the four-day 2003 Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic, which was held at the Victory Golf and Country Resort, Rajawella, near Kandy, and finished today (Saturday).

Mok Kee Pan overcame humidity, heat and several tropical downpours on the final day to finish on a massive 88 points, nine clear of Japanese runner-up Ayoma Kochi in the Men's competition. Kochi was docked two points for slow play on the final round.

Qatar-based Darren Shaw carded the highest Gross score over two days, the Kiwi beating the Dubai-based Sri Lankan Junior Champion Salem Andrews on a score count back. ~There were some great golfers out there today and some excellent scoring,~ said Shaw. ~I started with a couple of double bogeys, but steadied the ship and managed to finish before the worst of the weather.~

In the Ladies' competition, Sri Lanka's Niloo Jayatilake carded a fine final round in atrocious weather conditions to win the Nett Stableford competition by six shots from Singapore's Nancy Khoo and Switzerland-based Italian Stephania Renevey.

Singapore's Serene Poh comfortably carded the highest Gross score and won the two-day Gross competition. Sri Lanka's Suwen Selvaratnam pushed her all the way.

~I'm delighted,~ said new champion Niloo. ~I played some very consistent golf and recovered well from a disastrous first hole on Friday, when my tee shot clouted a palm tree and landed behind the tee. At the time I thought it was an omen!~

Kandy-based Michael Emmott was the first day leader in the Men's category with 40 points, although he slipped out of contention after round two, where Sri Lankan newcomer Sam Gunaratne posted an impressive six-under-gross 42-point total to move three shots clear of his nearest rival in the club house with an impressive 77-point score.

Gunaratne eventually finished third. ~I only took up playing golf nine months ago,~ said the delighted youngster. ~I owe it to my coach and caddie. Without their help it would not have been possible.~

Japan's Ayoma Kochi had quietly gone about his business on day three to sweep into contention for the overall title with a stunning 46-point score. Several long range tee shots paid dividends for Sweden's Joakim Engman, who finished the day in second place with 41 points before falling back on the final day.

The highlight of day three was a hole-in-one on the fourth hole for Sang Mok Cho and some excellent stroke play and low scoring by Qatar-based players Andrew Ludlow, Nigel Thorpe, Christopher Hughes and Ian Tait. Ludlow claimed the longest drive prize with a massive 361-yard hit on the 18th hole.

Stephania Renevey had set the early pace in the Ladies' competition with 37 points and maintained her advantage through her second round to close with a 71-point haul and equal second place. She was pressed early on by the Sri Lankan Indira Tibblin - wife of former Swedish World Motocross Champion Rolf Tibblin - and Carmen Slater.

Eventual winner Jayatilake carded a day three-winning score of 38 points, with Nancy Choo and Maylin Chen in close contention. Britain's Vanessa Harrison scored well for a 35-point total, but fell behind on the final afternoon. Jayatilake's 39-point final round gave her the best of the day four scores.

Former Sri Lankan test cricketer Sidath Wettimuny also took part in the Friday and Saturday competitions. The retired batsman made sporting headlines in the 1980s with a double test century against England at Lord's and a century against India on tour. He carded net scores of 39 and 35 to finish 14 points behind the eventual winner and tied in fifth place with his brother Nimal.

A record 185 players from as far afield as the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Korea, the Middle East and Japan took part in the four-day Stableford competition on the Donald Steel-designed 6945 yard, Par 73 championship course, surrounded by the picturesque Victoria Lake and the Knuckles mountain range.

~Our involvement in this tournament increases each year,~ said Peter Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lankan Airlines. ~Our major goal is to see Sri Lanka's biggest golf tournament listed as a future round of the Asian Tour. Victoria is a fantastic course in a stunning setting and would be a fabulous addition to the regional championship.~

2003 Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic

Final positions:

Men (Stableford Nett totals - top 6)
1. Mok Kee Pan (MAL) 88 pts
2. Ayoma Kochi (J) 79 pts
3. Sam Gunaratne (SRL) 77 pts
4. Gerard Amerasinghe (SRL) 75 pts
5. Sidath Wettimuny (SRL) 74 pts
5. Nimal Wettimuny (SRL) 74 pts

Men (Stableford Gross totals)
1. Darren Shaw (NZ) 62 pts*
2. Salem Andrews (SRL) 62 pts - leading Junior
*wins on count back

Ladies (Stableford Nett totals - top 6)
1. Niloo Jayatilake (SRL) 77 pts
2. Stephania Renevey (I) 71 pts
2. Nancy Khoo (SIN) 71 pts
4. Maylin Chen (SIN) 68 pts
5. Indira Tibblin (SRL) 65 pts
5. Ang Meow Hon (MAL) 65 pts

Ladies (Stableford Gross totals)
1. Serene Poh (SIN) 60 pts
2. Suwen Selvaratnum (SRL) 51 pts

Ends

For further media information, contact Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, (Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 or E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com
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Date issued: 01/11/2003

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