Amateur sensation Gavin Kyle Green and professionals Danny Chia, Nicholas Fung and Shaaban Hussin will lead the local challenge in the 2015 Maybank Malaysian Open, which tees off on February 5-8 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).
No less than 22 Malaysians will play in the US$3 million national Open, comprising 10 players based on their Asian Tour and PGM Tour rankings, the top four finishers in the National Qualifiers which were played at KLGCC on November 18-19, four sponsor’s invites (including the winner of the Maybank Tour Championship) and four amateurs selected by Malaysian Golf Association. This is a joint initiative by the event custodians, the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA), title sponsor Maybank and event promoter GlobalOne to provide Malaysian golfers the opportunity to compete in a world-class events.
Among the Malaysians already confirmed at press time were Fung, Chia, Shaaban, Iain Steel and Ben Leong who earned slots through their Asian Tour rankings, while R. Nachimuthu, Airil Rizman, Sukree Othman, Khor Kheng Hwai, Kemarol Baharin got into the event based on their status on the local circuit, the PGM Tour. Promising young professional Arie Irawan was given an invitation by Maybank, while Green was the first amateur to be named by the MGA.
Much will be expected of the long-hitting Green, who will be making his fourth appearance in the event and possibly his last as an amateur. Currently a senior with the University of New Mexico, the precocious 20-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season on the US collegiate circuit. He became the first golfer to pick up three consecutive William H Tucker titles and also defended the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic, taking his individual title haul for UNM to a record seven.
“The Maybank Malaysian Open has given me plenty of opportunities to play alongside international stars and I have learned a lot from all the golfing greats. Participating in a world-class event like the Maybank Malaysian Open over the past few years has helped me better prepare myself for tournaments in my collegiate career. The experience, training and mental conditioning will be priceless in years to come as I aim to help the team get into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s National Golf Championships and hopefully win the championship this year. That would be awesome,” said Green.
Green also made headlines on home soil in June when he became the first amateur to win on the Asian Development Tour in the PGM Vascory Classic at Templer Park Country Club. He outclassed some of the region’s top professionals with a stunning score of 26-under-par 262, the lowest ever on the ADT.
To mark the milestone of its 10th year as title sponsor, Maybank has increased the prize purse to US$3 million from US$2.75 million in 2014. Ranking points earned at the event will go towards the Asian Tour Order of Merit and will also count towards European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
The remaining two sponsor’s invites and three amateurs are expected to be announced in mid-January.
Since its inauguration in 1962, the Malaysian Open has attracted some of the biggest names in golf such as Peter Thomson, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Michael Campbell and Rory McIlroy. Recent winners include established players such as defending champion Lee Westwood, South Africa’s 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and rising stars like Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Italy’s Matteo Manassero and Korea’s Noh Seung-yul.
In addition to world-class golf on a world-class course, Spectators can expect exciting activities in the public areas and sponsor’s exhibition tents. For tournament updates and details visit www.maybankmalaysianopen.com.