(Reuters) – Malaysian golfer Arie Irawan died of “apparent natural causes” on Sunday in his hotel room on the Chinese resort island of Hainan, the PGA tour said in a statement. He was 28.
Arie, who turned professional in 2013 and won two events on the Asian Development Tour in 2015, had missed the halfway cut at the Sanya Championship, the second event on the PGA Tour China Series.
“The PGA Tour and the China Golf Association grieve at this loss of one of our members and share sincere condolences with Arie’s wife, Marina, and his parents, Ahmad and Jeny,” the PGA tour statement added.
“When something of this magnitude occurs in the golf world, we all grieve at the same time.
“Out of respect for the family, officials cancelled the final round of the Sanya Championship, the tournament becoming a 54-hole event.”
The coroner’s report had not been completed, the statement said.
Trevor Sluman, who shot a third-round six-under 66 to take a two-shot lead on Saturday, was declared the champion and his victory will count as an official PGATOUR Series-China win.
The American offered his condolences after he learned of the round’s cancellation.
“My heart goes out to Arie’s family and his beautiful wife, Marina,” Sluman said.
“Along with the rest of the Tour, we’re thinking about them at this time. It’s very bittersweet today, and I think the rest of the year will be dedicated to Arie and the impact he had on this Tour.”
Arie’s golf career was interrupted in 2016 when he was involved in an accident on a moped and sidelined for several months. He was ranked 1,366th in the world this week.
He married Marina Malek last May and she sometimes worked as his caddie, even if Arie admitted that she did not know much about golf.
“If I make a bad score she will say ‘it is okay, it is okay’,” he told Malaysia’s The Star newspaper last year.
“She keeps me calm, relaxed and happy so I just go out there and play golf. That helps me a lot. She has always been there for me through the bad and good times.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, additional reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)