Kuala Lumpur: World number 24 Gavin Kyle Green will spearhead the Malaysian amateurs challenge at the US$2.75 million Maybank Malaysian Open next month.
The 20-year-old University of New Mexico junior finished as the best placed Malaysian at last year’s edition in Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, when he took a share of 22nd.
He will be joined by fellow amateurs Ervin Chang, Solomon Emilio Rosidin and Mohamad Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf, who is the last player to be selected by the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) for the Asian and European Tours co-sanctioned event.
Wafiyuddin was selected due to his outstanding performance in the recent National Trials, when he finished first. The Universiti Utara Malaysia undergraduate was also placed second at the Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open and was part of the Malaysian golf team that won the bronze medal in the 2013 South East Asian Games in Myanmar.
Besides these four amateurs, 18 other Malaysians – Nicholas Fung, Danny Chia, Shaaban Hussin, Iain Steel, S. Murthy, S. Siva Chandran, Rizal Amin, Airil Rizman, Sukree Othman, Iylia Jamil, Khor Kheng Hwai, Shaifubari Muda, R. Nachimuthu and Arie Fauzi, Kemarol Baharin, Ben Leong, Wilson Choo and Kenneth De Silva – had already booked their places in the national Open.
When asked about his chances this year, Green said: “I had an excellent Maybank Malaysian Open last year by finishing joint 22nd and as the best amateur and best Malaysian.
“What happened last year was unexpected but I won’t get carried away. Obviously, I would like to finish higher this year and will definitely give 100% to do so.
“It won’t be an easy task, but I like to think positive. I’m sure all the Malaysian golfers will be determined to shine in their home event.”
Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) president Admiral (R) Tan Sri Dato’ Setia Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor lauded the positive impact the Maybank Malaysian Open has had on the game and said he hopes more locals will make the cut this year.
“To be the best, one has to always compete against the best. Through the years, some of the world’s top golfers have competed in the Maybank Malaysian Open and this has resulted in our local golfers having to raise their game,” said Tan Sri Anwar.
“Nicholas Fung is among the top 30 on the Asian Tour while Gavin is No. 24 among the amateurs in the world. We at MGA hope more of our players rise up to the challenge in this year’s Maybank Malaysian Open.”
Maybank Chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor, applauded the progress of the Malaysian players.
“Now that the line-up of Malaysian players to the MMO is finalised, all eyes will be on how they will bear up to the pressure of competing with some of the world’s top golfers,” said Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin.
“I believe the local players have learnt much from the opportunities given to them to play against the top golfers on the Asian and European Tours. I hope they will rise to the occasion and put up a tough challenge.”