CIMB Classic exemption for Shaaban

Shaaban Hussin in action during the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia last year © Ravi Chitty/The ClubHouse

Seri Kembangan: Shaaban Hussin has earned a third consecutive start at the CIMB Classic later this month as the build-up for the only PGA Tour co-sanctioned event in South East Asia reaches its peak.

The 32-year-old will tee-off alongside a star-studded field comprising 36 PGA Tour players, accounting for a total of 128 Tour victories between them  at The MINES Resort & Golf Club from October 25-28.

Shaaban, who was the next best-ranked Malaysian on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) behind Sapura National Qualifier winner Danny Chia, was delighted with the opportunity to tee-off alongside 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods, who will headline the US$6.1 million exhibition.

“It means a great deal to me to once again have the opportunity be part of the one of the biggest golf events in the region. The CIMB Classic is definitely the tournament every Malaysian professional dreams to be part of, especially the upcoming edition which will feature Tiger Woods,” shared Shaaban.

“I have picked up much experience from the last two editions and I am looking forward to playing well over the four days and improving on previous performances,” pledged Shaaban, who finished 40th in the first edition and tied 45th last year.

Led by Woods, who has three wins on the PGA Tour this year, the field will also include other winners namely Nick Watney (The Barclays), Jason Dufner (Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Championship), Carl Pettersson (RBC Heritage), Scott Piercy (RBC Canadian Open), Rickie Fowler (Wells Fargo Championship), John Huh (Mayakoba Golf Classic), Kyle Stanley (Waste Management Phoenix Open), Bill Haas (Northern Trust Open), Johnson Wagner (Sony Open in Hawaii) and Marc Leishman (Travelers Championship).

In addition to the players who gained their entry through the FedExCup rankings, six players namely Martin Laird, 2010 champion Ben Crane, Sean O’Hair, Ricky Barnes, Cameron Tringale and 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman have been extended sponsors’ exemptions into this year’s field.

The top ten players on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit after this week’s CJ Invitational presented by KJ Choi will also earn starts at the tournament.

“We are excited about the strength and depth of field at this year’s CIMB Classic,” said the tournament’s executive director Todd Rhinehart.

“The 2012 PGA TOUR season has been as thrilling and competitive as I can remember with comeback victories, players winning multiple events and emerging new stars, many of whom will tee it up here in Malaysia. We look forward to watching these great players come to the Mines Resort & Golf Club for the third playing of the CIMB Classic.”