KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s second highest world-ranked golfer Arie Irawan has been accorded a spot at the CIMB Classic following Danny Chia’s qualification through the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
The 25-year-old Arie, ranked 475th, will make his debut at the US$7 million PGA TOUR FedExCup event which begins on Thursday at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
Arie is the only player to win twice on the Asian Development Tour this season claiming his breakthrough victory at the PGM Sime Darby Harvard Championship earlier in January followed by ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational in April.
Chia previously held the exemption as the highest ranked Malaysian on the Official World Golf Ranking as of September 30.
However, a victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and a T8 at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) in Chinese Taipei earlier this month moved him into the top-10 of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, through which he will now qualify by merit for the CIMB Classic.
Arie commented, “It is an honour and I am blessed to be given the exemption to play at the CIMB Classic, my first PGA TOUR tournament and it is indeed one of the highlights of my career. This will be a whole new experience especially competing amongst the world’s top best golfers and I hope to play at my best.”
Also debuting at the CIMB Classic is Ben Leong, who earned his spot by winning the SapuraKencana National Qualifier in August. The Malaysian trio will face-off against international stars that include 2013 FedExCup champion Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els.
“We are proud that for the first time, the CIMB Classic will feature three Malaysian players,” said CIMB Group’s Asset Management and Investments head Effendy Shahul Hamid.
“The CIMB Classic brings to the table some of the highest standards of professional golf.
“I am delighted to see home-grown players rising up to the standards, as a result of a lot of hard work and determination in their game. We wish all the best to Arie, Ben and Danny who will be carrying the Malaysian flag and pride this week,” he added.