Sabah golf fans are in for a treat. The inaugural Hilux Cup tees off at the Sabah Golf & Country Club tomorrow and a royal battle is on the cards with the presence of homesters Ben Leong and Nicholas Fung and in-form youngsters Ervin Chang, Shahriffuddin Ariffin, Paul San and Galven Green.

For the first time on the Malaysian professional tour, there will be not one but two marquee groups for rounds one and two. The third and final day pairings will be based on the leaderboard after 36 holes. The Hilux Cup is the third leg of the Toyota Tour that kicked off with the Tun Ahmad Sarji (TAS) Trophy in Saujana in March.

The marquee groups will comprise Ben, Ervin, Shahriffuddin, Paul, Nicholas and Galven. They will tee off from the 10th hole in the middle bracket tomorrow and on Wednesday they will be in the last two flights from the 1st tee.

Ben and Nicholas will be making their debut on the Toyota Tour. They missed the TAS Trophy and the Mirai Cup in Kuching two weeks ago as they had playing commitments on the Asian Tour as well as the International Series.

Ben and Nicholas are members of the Sabah GCC, having started their golf on this exceptionally challenging course and can be considered early favourites due to their intimate knowledge of the layout and the greens. Moreover, their experience on the Asian Tour will definitely come in handy.

However, in golf as they say, anything can happen. Ervin, possibly the hottest player in Malaysia today, will be relishing the thought of winning back-to-back titles after his comfortable six-stroke victory over Shahriffuddin in Kuching for the Mirai Cup last week.

The 24-year old from Kajang has been in a hot streak since his joint-second placing in Saujana for the TAS Trophy. He then finished alone in second place in the 2nd tournament of the MENA Tour Malaysian Swing at Desaru’s Valley Course. Then came his wire-to-wire victory at the Sarawak Golf Club.

“I feel grateful having the chance to play against such talented players on the Toyota Tour,” said Ervin. “For me it is still a learning experience although I have to admit I’m feeling rather good about my game at the moment.”

Shahriffuddin stands out as one of the most talented among the young boys. He made a huge impression when he won the Selangor Masters last November, outlasting a host of regular players on the ADT Tour. His performance at the Seri Selangor course enabled him to gain playing rights in the 2023 Asian Tour. Dino, as he is popularly known, shot a scintillating seven-under 65 during the second round of the Mirai Cup.

The total purse for the Hilux Cup is RM182,000. Golf fans can follow the scores live on the myGolf2u app.

Fans of the Toyota Tour can follow the scoring live, on the myGolf2u app.

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