Early Years and Later Expansion
The Southeast Asian Team Golf Championship (The Putra Cup) was inaugurated in 1961 by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj, the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, to develop close relations and to raise the standard of golf among countries around the region. The trophy the teams play for – the actual Putra Cup – was donated by the Prime Minister.
The first Putra Cup was played on July 19, 1961 at Royal Selangor Golf Club and saw teams from Burma (now Myanmar), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam taking part. Royal Selangor also hosted the next three events, but from 1965 it was decided that the venue should rotate among the participating countries in alphabetical order.
Since its inception, the Putra Cup has expanded to include more nations. The Philippines entered in 1963, with Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos joining in later years.
In recent times, the championship has expanded yet further to include a junior Putra Cup event (the Lion City Cup, which was first played in 2007) and a ladies' team championship (the Santi Cup, which debuted in 2009).
Numerous players have won the individual competition on more than one occasion but the most successful of all was undoubtedly the Filipino amateur great, Luis "Golem" Silverio. Silverio, who became the first Asian golfer to play at the Masters when he was invited to Augusta for the 1966 event (where he made the cut), won a total of six individual Putra Cup championships between 1963 and 1974. Such was Silverio's ballstriking ability that it was said "he could stop a three-iron on concrete". Silverio never turned pro and worked as a golf club manager in his homeland for more two decades before passing away in 2008.
Most Successful Nation
With 17 wins, the Philippines has won more Putra Cup titles than any other nation. Much of the Philippines' success came in the late 1960s and 70s, when they recorded six straight wins from 1968, although the country last tasted victory in 1996. Thailand has 14 titles to its credit and has dominated the championship in recent times, winning seven of the last 11 events. Malaysia has the third best record, with seven wins.
The Singapore team that won the 2008 Putra Cup holds the record for the lowest aggregate with a blistering total of 823 - 29-under-par, which was recorded over the Bukit Course at Singapore Island Country Club. The scoring format used in the championship counts the three best daily rounds from each four-man team. The Putra Cup, like the Lion City Cup and Santi Cup, is contested over four rounds.
As one would expect from Southeast Asia's most prestigious amateur championship, the Putra Cup has showcased the talents of many young amateurs who have gone on to make a name for themselves on the professional stage. Thai stars Boonchu Ruangkit, Thongchai Jaidee, Prayad Marksaeng and Prom Meesawat have all represented their country at the Putra Cup, while Filipinos Felix Casas and Frankie Minoza cut their teeth in the championship before becoming regular winners on the Asian Tour. Mardan Mamat, who won the Singapore Masters, a European Tour event, in 2004, is another former Putra Cup individual title winner. He helped Singapore to the team win in 1993 at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Hong Kong Success
Hong Kong's only Putra Cup victory to date came at the inaugural championship in 1961. Represented by Hugh Staunton, Alan Sutcliffe, Jock Mackie and Bill Leighton, the team won by 33 strokes from Singapore in second place. The individual title has been won by three Hong Kong players – Hugh Staunton (1961), Alan Sutcliffe (1962) and Brooke Carter (1976). To learn more about Hong Kong's win read Alan Sutcliffe's account on page 40.
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