PETALING JAYA: Multiple European Tour champions Thomas Pieters of Belgium and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello have confirmed taking part in next month’s CIMB Classic.
Touted as the rising stars on the US PGA Tour, Pieters and Cabrera Bello will be joined by South Africa’s Ernie Els and American Davis Love III at the US$7mil (RM29.7mil) showpiece at the TPC Kuala Lumpur from Oct 12-15.
Els and Love come to South-East Asia’s only FedExCup event with a combined credentials of 40 PGA Tour wins and five Major titles between them.
The past and present stars will attempt to deny in-form Justin Thomas of the United States from pulling off a rare hattrick of wins.
While world No. 19 Cabrera Bello will be looking to improve on his joint 10th finish in his debut last year, fellow Ryder Cup teammate Pieters is all pumped up for his maiden appearance.
Big-hitting Pieters, who finished fourth for his career-best outing in the Major at the US Masters in April, is looking forward to returning to TPC KL where he enjoyed a solid tied eighth finish at the 2014 Malaysian Open as a European Tour rookie.
“I’m really excited to be playing in my first CIMB Classic,” said the world No. 31, who was fourth at the Rio Olympics last year.
“It’s one of the early tournaments of the new schedule and a strong start will bring me valuable FedExCup points for my first full season on the PGA Tour.
“The CIMB Classic is being held at a course where I produced my first top 10 as a professional (at the Malaysian Open) back in 2014.
“The venue brings back a lot of good memories,” he added.
Love is still able to give his younger rivals a run for their money at 53. He was joint 10th at last month’s Wyndham Championship.
The 21-time PGA Tour winner’s best CIMB Classic result was joint eighth in 2014.
“It’ll be fun to head back to Malaysia,” said Love, who captained the US to Ryder Cup glory last year.
“Malaysia has a lot to offer and the tournament has certainly built a strong reputation for its warm hospitality and world-class facilities.”
Els, a World Golf Hall of Famer and a four-time Major champion, has been a regular visitor to the CIMB Classic over the years with a tied fifth finish at the inaugural event in 2010 being his best finish.
A 19-time winner on the PGA Tour, the 47-year-old South African – known as the The Big Easy – will be a big fan attraction for his smooth swing.