13-strong Malaysian challenge at Maybank Championship

Gavin Green (Photo by Andrew Redington / Getty Images)

A total of 13 Malaysian professionals will carry the nation’s flag in the US$3 million Maybank Championship, which tees off at Saujana Golf & Country Club this March 21-24.

Malaysian No 1 Gavin Green will spearhead the local challenge in the fourth edition of the joint Asian Tour and European Tour event. He will be joined by compatriots Ben Leong and Nicholas Fung, who get in through the Asian Tour allocation of 60 spots, along with the top 10 players from the 2018 Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour Order of Merit – Shahriffuddin Ariffin, Danny Chia, Amir Nazrin, Sukree Othman, Kim Leun Kwang, Arie Irawan, R. Nachimuthu, Wilson Choo, Kenneth De Silva and Kemarol Baharin.

“The Maybank Championship is a unique tournament, truly one ‘Where the Best Meet’. While it features the top 60 from each of the European and Asian Tours, and 15 from the world’s top 150, we have never neglected our commitment to support and develop local players. Hence, we have set aside places for the top 10 Malaysian golfers so that they too can have the exposure of playing in a world-class event,” said Datuk R. Karunakaran, director of Maybank.

Much will be expected of 2017 Asian Tour No 1 Green, who recently started his second full season on the European Tour with a T32 finish in Abu Dhabi. The long-hitting 25-year-old was the best Malaysian performer in last year’s Maybank Championship in joint 39th place.

This year’s tournament will be staged for the third successive time at Saujana’s Palm Course, which looks set to be in prime condition following an extensive refurbishment of the greens. John Eu, chief executive officer of tournament promoter GlobalOne, noted that they could get the green speeds up to 11.5 during tournament week.

“This is mainly because the most significant improvements made in the refurbishment centered on the 18 greens. What took place here was that the seed bed of all the greens was replaced with cleaner and slightly coarser washed river sand. This was vitally important as it improves the porosity of the seedbed which allows the greens to better accommodate our heavy annual rainfall,” said Eu.

“Other improvements included providing the greens with better morning sunlight and air circulation through selective pruning and the removal of trees and undergrowth, and selective sub-soil drainage on fairways and other closely mowed areas,” he added.

Malaysian players at yesterday’s Maybank Championship Media Day

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