Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung is feeling all excited ahead of next week’s US$7 million CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
Fung will join countrymen Gavin Green and Danny Chia in the only PGA Tour tournament staged in Southeast Asia on October 12-15. Ranked 302nd on the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday, Fung earned his place as the highest ranked non-exempt Malaysian. Green is ranked 157th in the world but is assured of his place in the elite field through the Asian Tour Order of Merit where he is the current number one (the top-10 players from the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, as at October 9, qualify for the CIMB Classic).
The 27-year-old Fung said being away from the limelight at a tournament which will feature two-time defending champion Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama, both top-five players in the world, will be an advantage.
“It feels good to play in the CIMB Classic again as it was one of my dreams to do so at the start of the year. However, I’m a nobody among the stars so I want to go out there and do my best. There’s no pressure on me,” said Fung, who secured his Asian Tour breakthrough win at the Queen’s Cup in June.
Fung noted that he is putting in extra hours at the practice range to perfect his tee shots.
“One of the things I learnt from playing in the event is that I need to work a lot on my distances from off the tees. I’ve been training hard to gain more distance. I’ve gained about 10 to 13 yards but I’m not hitting it straight enough,” said Fung, who finished tied-65th at the CIMB Classic in 2014. He also played in 2013.
Green will be riding on a rich vein of form when he spearheads the local charge. He finished tied-69th last year but the Malaysian is now hopeful of a better showing after claiming his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour in Taiwan last week.
“It is a huge deal to me. I’m a little bit more prepared this time. Mentally I’m better. I’m also playing better and it shows in the results,” said Green.
Veteran Chia will be making his sixth appearance at the CIMB Classic, having qualified for this year’s event by winning the CIMB National Championship in July which allocated one of two sponsor’s exemptions for Malaysians.
“I’m very happy to play in the CIMB Classic again. My best memory was when I played at the Mines with Vijay Singh. I’m glad I put on a good show that year. It was a great experience,” said Chia of his 2011 outing where he posted his best finish of tied-13th place.
Advance tickets for the CIMB Classic are now on sale on www.ticketpro.com.my, Ticket Pro sales channels and selected MST Golf Stores in the Klang Valley. The CIMB Classic is also sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM).