The three-day competition offers aspiring Malaysian golfers the chance of a lifetime to qualify for this October’s CIMB Classic, which is Asia’s first official FedExCup event on the PGA Tour.
The 40-year-old Danny, who won the national qualifiers last year, will skip the competition to undergo neck surgery next week.
Danny, who has featured in the last three CIMB Classics, said that he had been having pain in his neck for the last one month.
“I won’t stand a chance of winning the qualifiers because I can’t swing my right shoulder due to pain in the neck. It’s sad that I won’t be able to feature in the qualifiers and play in my fourth straight CIMB Classic,” he said.
“I underwent an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) last week and the doctor has advised me to go for surgery.
“It’s not a major surgery and I should be back training by October.”
More than 100 local golfers will feature in the national qualifiers, which offer a total prize of RM150,000. The winner will take home RM22,000 plus the coveted spot in the CIMB Classic.
In Danny’s absence, the golfers like Mohd Shaaban Hussin, who won the national qualifiers in 2011 and 2010, Nicholas Fung, who won the PGM-UMW Templer Park Masters in June, Airil Rizman and Arie Fauzi will be among the frontrunners this time.
SapuraKencana president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin said that the national qualifier was a great platform for local talents to enhance their standings and battle for a place in the CIMB Classic.
Professional Golf Association (PGAM) president Mohd Firuz Jaffril said that out of the eight sponsors’ exemptions for the CIMB Classic in previous years, two were reserved for Malaysians.
“If the winner of the SapuraKencana national qualifier is also the leading Malaysian in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), which will be determined by Oct 6, the second spot for the CIMB Classic will automatically go to the next best-ranked Malaysian on the OWGR,” said Jaffril.
The CIMB Classic field will be expanded to include a minimum of 78 players – 60 coming from the PGA Tour, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsors’ exemptions – and offer a total prize money of US$7mil (RM23mil).
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