Former World No 1 Lee Westwood and Malaysia’s Arie Irawan are among the latest additions to the Maybank Championship which tees-off next week at Saujana Golf & Country Club.
The other confirmations are England’s Tommy Fleetwood who won in Abu Dhabi Golf recently to lead the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, Australia’s Sam Brazel, winner of the 2016 Hong Kong Open, and Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal who tied for second in Abu Dhabi. Joining them will be England’s Graeme Storm who got his 2017 season off to a dream start by winning the BMW South African Open 10 years after his first win on tour.
They will line up alongside some of the Asian Tour’s top including Prayad Marksaeng who won the Singapore Open just two weeks ago, Todd Sinnott of Australia who took top spot at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open on the Lunar New Year weekend and another Aussie, Scott Hend, who is the 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
The final two invitational spots were awarded to two promising young players, namely Arie and Ireland’s Paul Dunne.
Westwood was the touring pro for Saujana in the late 1990s and is looking forward to his return.
“I was proudly associated with Saujana for a long time and it’s always great to go back because there are a lot of people that I’m still close with,” said the English star, who has won two Malaysian Opens including the 1997 edition at Saujana.
“That’s where the welcome stops though because the course is very tough! It’s changed a lot over the last 20 or so years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long but hopefully I can repeat what I did back in 1997,” he added.
Themed Golf like Never Before, the US$3 million tournament will see a world-class line-up of players tackle Saujana’s iconic Palm Course. The headliners include reigning Masters champion Danny Willett and former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel.
New for 2017 is the ASEAN category, which allocates five places for the top players from Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam respectively.
“We are thrilled to host the world-class line up of golfers and excited to see the ASEAN players give their all, as they battle for the ‘coveted tiger’. We wish them all the best and thank in advance, the media and spectators who are planning to come and support them next week,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor, Chairman of Maybank.
“This year’s event is focused on delivering a memorable spectator experience. Every aspect of the event, from golf to bespoke activities, coupled with the initiatives to contribute back to the communities, we aim to have golf fans and visitors alike to have an experience that they will continue to rave about,” he added.
Off-course activities include a daily Under Armour yoga class and boot camp. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can enjoy the culinary delights from Michelin Star Chef Anton Mosimann who will be serving a signature dish in the public village.
To support the Maybank Heart project, the second day of play will be known as ‘Yellow Fri-yay’ – everyone attending, including players and staff, are asked to wear a splash of yellow. If you make a donation of RM50 or more you will be given a special Maybank Championship Virtual Reality Cardboard to enjoy using throughout the day (whilst stocks last).
Another project by Maybank that will take centre stage at the Championship will be the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme, which promotes traditional textiles in a sustainable manner whilst creating economic independence and financial inclusion of women weavers across the ASEAN region. There will be fashion shows in the public village on Saturday and Sunday showcasing some of their work and visitors may even see a few golfers on the catwalk!
If you love dressing up, there will be prizes for those who bring an element of fun to their golf outfit on Saturday.