PETALING JAYA: World No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama could not resist challenging in-form world No. 4 Justin Thomas’ supremacy at the CIMB Classic.
The 25-year-old Japanese, who finished second and joint fifth in the last two editions, will be back for another title tilt at the crown when the tournament tees off at the TPC Kuala Lumpur from Oct 12-15.
It will be Matsuyama’s fifth straight appearance, having made his debut in 2013.
The news came as a surprise as Matsuyama is thought to have wanted to defend his Japan Open crown, which falls on the same week.
With Matsuyama’s inclusion, the CIMB Classic field will now feature two of the world’s top-five golfers.
Matsuyama has been one of the top performers on the global stage, having won six times in the past 12 months – including two World Golf Championships tournaments.
He also posted two top-fives in the Majors at the US Open and PGA Championship this season.
CIMB Group chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz was delighted to welcome Matsuyama back to the CIMB Classic.
“Since playing in our event as a sponsor’s exemption in 2013, Hideki’s career has been on a sharp rise, with multiple victories achieved on the PGA Tour and at home in Japan over the past year,” said Zafrul.
“Golf fans will be in for a world-class treat as Hideki has an impressive track record at TPC Kuala Lumpur which clearly suits his game. It’ll be fun to see if he can deny Justin Thomas a third successive win.”