Maybank Championship Malaysia set for memorable debut

The Maybank Championship Malaysia is set for a memorable debut next week with Major champions, EurAsia Cup heroes and Asian Tour Order of Merit winners in the field.

The championship trophy

The championship trophy

The US$3 million joint Asian Tour and European Tour event has attracted Major winners Martin Kaymer of Germany, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, who is also the European team captain for the EurAsia Cup and Ryder Cup.

In-form Englishman Danny Willett, who won in Dubai last week, will also contend for the title alongside Asian Tour Order of Merit winners David Lipsky of the United States, Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Thai trio Thaworn Wiratchant, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee.

Rising stars Matthew Fitzpatrick of England, Younghan Song of Korea, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and Shaun Norris of South Africa will also feature at the Royal Selangor Golf Club from February 18 to 21.

Malaysia will be well represented at the Maybank Championship Malaysia as Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung will spearhead the local challenge alongside the big-hitting Gavin Green, Ben Leong, Airil Rizman and recently turned professional Low Khai Jei.

Kiradech, the 2013 Asian Tour number one, will draw on his winning memories in Malaysia three years ago when he aims for a third Asian Tour victory in a country which he calls his ‘second home’.

“Malaysia is like a second home to me and the victory in Malaysia in 2013 really helped me achieve the success which I have today. I like coming back to Malaysia because the people are friendly and I have a lot of fans here. The weather is also hot and it suits my game,” said Kiradech.

The 26-year-old Thai is among six players ranked inside the top-50 in the Official World Golf Rankings who will feature in the tournament. Placed 13th in the world, Willett is the highest ranked golfer in the field.

After finishing fourth in Singapore a fortnight ago, the 21-year-old Tabuena hopes to continue his momentum at the Maybank Championship Malaysia.

“My strong finish in Singapore has given me a great boost in confidence. I’m placed quite high on the Order of Merit at the moment and I hope to build on my momentum in Malaysia. It will be a great event,” said Tabuena.

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