Kuala Lumpur, March 12: Italy’s Matteo Manassero and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee will join Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen as title sponsor Maybank’s confirmed Star Players, when the US$2.75 million 2014 Maybank Malaysian Open (MMO) tees off this April 17-20 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).
All four were former champions with Manassero bagging the 2011 title just two days before his 18th birthday on April 19 to set the record as the tournament’s youngest winner at 17 years and 363 days, while three-time Asian Tour Order Of Merit winner Jaidee seized consecutive titles in 2004 and 2005. Former World No.1 Westwood of England, who was announced as Maybank’s first Star Player in early February, won the title in 1997 and South Africa’s Oosthuizen, who confirmed his participation at the end of February, took the 2012 title.
“We now have four former champions who have confirmed their participation for the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014. Manassero and Thongchai represent everything that’s good about golf – one is a youngster who knows no fear and goes out and attacks the course; the other knows patience is the key to winning and that has been one reason why Thongchai has lasted so long at the very top echelon of the sport! I expect a tough battle as not only have all four tasted glory in the Maybank Malaysian Open and will surely want to hold the prestigious trophy aloft once again, but also because other rising talents are steadily making their mark worldwide,” said Maybank chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor.
“I hope our 22 Malaysians will learn from this quartet and rise to the challenge to reach the top,” said Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) president Tan Sri Dato’ Setia Mohd Anwar.
The Malaysian charge this year includes the tournament’s National Qualifier winner Kemarol Baharin and joint runners-up Ben Leong, Wilson Choo and Kenneth De Silva, as well as Nicholas Fung, R. Nachimuthu, Arie Fauzi, Rizal Amin, Airil Rizman, Sukree Othman, Iylia Jamil, Khor Kheng Hwai, Shaifubari Muda, Danny Chia, Shaaban Hussin, Iain Steel, S. Murthy, S. Siva Chandhran, Gavin Kyle Green, Ervin Chang and Solomon Emilio Rosidin. Another player from the National Team completing the list of 22 Malaysians will be announced by the MGA at a later date.