Johor Bahru: A crocked Shaaban Hussin is playing at the Iskandar Johor Open against his doctor’s advice as he aims to earn full paying rights on the Asian Tour next season.
Shaaban injured his shoulder in October and will play through the pain barrier at the US$2 million Asian Tour season-ending event which features Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa, Sergio Garcia of Spain and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.
Shaaban insists he will not be distracted by the starry line-up assembled at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club as he is focused ont the important task of securing full playing rights on the 2013 Asian Tour season for the second time since 2010.
He is currently in 79th position on the Order of Merit with earnings of US$30,755 courtesy of a tied 13th result at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic in April. The Malaysian needs at least a top-15 finish this week to reach his goal as the top-60 players on the Order of Merit earn their cards for 2013.
“This is an important week for me. I had full playing rights previously and that was wonderful. I hope I can reprise those memories and do well here. If I can get inside the top-60, it will be great for my career because I will qualify for all the big Asian Tour events,” said Shaaban, who is currently on a country exemption.
“I went to see the doctor this week and he asked me to rest but I told him I can’t. That’s how important it is for me. I injured my shoulder in India (Hero Indian Open) and it hasn’t recovered since then. I know I should really think about resting but there’s just too much on the line.
“My shoulder still hurts at impact so it is still okay. My back swing is fine so I’m quite happy about that. I still feel the pain so I’ll just need to bear with it until this week,” added Shaaban.
Meanwhile, highly rated Malaysian amateur Gavin Kyle Green will enjoy a dream pairing with Els and Garcia in the opening two rounds of the Iskandar Johor Open.
The 18-year-old, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation, is one of the most talked-about amateurs in Malaysia, having won countless titles in the country and became the first local in 15 years to win the Malaysian Amateur Open. He also qualified for the US Amateur Open in August.
Green, who is studying at the University of New Mexico, where he is a member of the college team said, “I’m feeling excited. This is the biggest moment in my career. I’m not feeling nervous yet but it might be different when the time comes. I’ll just need to concentrate on my own game.” said the 19-year-old, who advanced into weekend round during his previous appearance in 2009.