KUALA LUMPUR: Local heroes Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung will be seeking to better their track record at the US$7 million CIMB Classic, which starts at the TPC Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
The prospect of coming up against a formidable field that features two of the world’s top five players in an elite 78-man field no longer fazes the Malaysian pair, who have vowed to put up a strong performance.
Chia, a two-time Asian Tour winner, will also be determined to follow up on his tied-11th place finish in Chinese Taipei last week with another performance he can be proud of in front of the home fans.
“It’s always great to play at home. I get to stay in my house with the family, and plus this tournament is a special event where all the top players in the world are playing. Over the last one and a half year, I’ve been playing here quite frequently, so I’m feeling more comfortable with the golf course and I’m feeling good about the week.
The veteran, who will turn 45 in November, added that the rare opportunity to tee-off in a PGA Tour event annually remains a motivating factor to him.
It showed when he defeated Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Gavin Kyle Green, who is also in the field, to win the CIMB National Championship in July and clinch his start at the lucrative tournament.
“I’ve a deep passion for golf and I like to play. And especially at my age right now, if I don’t push myself, I think I’ll retire really soon. So to prevent that, I keep pushing myself every day.
“I really enjoy this kind of event where I get a chance to play with the best players in the world, see where I can improve in my game as compared to them and move on to another level,” shared Chia, who is making his sixth appearance at the CIMB Classic.
Fung’s maiden breakthrough on the Asian Tour has been the highlight of his 2017 so far and he will be eager to ride on that wave of positivity for a better showing on home soil this week.
“This is my third time appearance at the CIMB Classic and I’m very excited and look forward to the week. It helps that I’ve been playing well this year,” said the Queen’s Cup winner.
“I’ve been practicing hard and have made some changes to my swing. I feel more confident with my swing as I’m beginning to get some distance with my tee shots, hitting 10 to 15 yards longer,” added Fung, who earned a sponsor’s invite as the highest ranked non-exempt Malaysian on the Official World Golf Ranking.