World champion golfer Nick Faldo declared Bali "a beautiful place with nice, genuine people," after winning the Bali Invitational Tournament with a six under par 66 at the Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort Bali, February 8-9, 2003.
Faldo outperformed Australia's best golfer Robert Allenby by 3 strokes who turned in a 3 under par 69; South African Ernie Els carded a 2 under par 70; followed by 22 year-old Justin Rose who made par at 72.
The two-day event at Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort Bali included a golfing clinic and a pro-am "Texas Scramble" that saw Indonesia's top amateur golfers compete in an 18-hole shoot-out with the top international golfers visiting Bali for the tournament.
Indonesia's President Megawati Soekarnoputri was on hand for the final day of the tournament when she presented the winners with combined prizes totaling US$ 100,000, she thanked the players for traveling to Bali and demonstrating to the world that Bali remains a premier international tourism destination. The winners of the prize money graciously relinquished their prize money, insisting it be turned over to local Bali charities.
Allenby, on his first visit to Bali, said he had heard so much about the island over the years. He added, "I'm here to show Australia that Bali is still a safe and beautiful place to come. This is the 'back garden' for Australia and where a lot of Australians have come for a long time." Allenby, who had friends in the unfortunate events of October said, "no place in the world is safe today. There could be a bomb anywhere, in America or Australia."
Eels, also on his first Bali visit and traveling with his family, concurred, saying, "Everything moves on in life. I have many friends in South Africa who want to come here, and after the bombs they have been concerned. We are here to support Bali tourism on an island that obviously needs tourism to perform. We've had a great time here and played a little golf. The course is a great design and it's a great resort here." He went on to say, "Bali is absolutely beautiful and the hotel is fantastic, so quiet and peaceful. I'll be back soon!"
Rose, who at 22 is one of the younger players on the professional tour, found it a treat to "come and relax in beautiful surroundings." Traveling to Bali with his mother, Rose said, "this is the first opportunity I've had to visit Bali and it was an opportunity I really wanted to take."
The Bali Golf Invitational event was initiated by the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises working in collaboration with Chinkara Capital Limited of Singapore, and organized by the International Marketing Group (IMG).
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