KUALA LUMPUR: Former Major winners Martin Kaymer of Germany and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa as well as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland will be among the star players playing in the inaugural US$3mil (RM12.43mil) Maybank Championship Malaysia from Feb 18-21.
The tournament, to be held at the Royal Selangor Golf Club, is the latest addition to the Asian Tour and European Tour schedules.
Also confirmed are England’s in-form Danny Willett, who won in Dubai last week, and Asian Tour Order of Merit winners – David Lipsky of the United States, Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines and Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh of India.
World No. 13 Willett is the highest ranked golfer in the elite field.
Other notable names include the Thai trio of Thaworn Wiratchant, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee as well as the young and talented Matthew Fitzpatrick of England, Song Young-han of South Korea, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and Shaun Norris of South Africa.
Young-han defeated world No. 1 Jordan Spieth to win the Singapore Open two weeks ago while Norris is second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The Malaysian challenge will be spearheaded by Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung, who both featured in the EurAsia Cup last month. The other Malaysians are the big-hitting Gavin Green, Ben Leong, Airil Rizman and Low Khai Jei, who just turned professional.
Thailand’s Kiradech, the 2013 Asian Tour number one, hopes to draw on the experience of winning in Malaysia three years ago as he seeks a third Asian Tour victory in a country he calls his “second home”.
“Malaysia is like a second home to me ... 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 of the Official World Golf Rankings, who will feature in the tournament.