Legends add golden sheen to Maybank Championship

Miguel Angel Jimenez

KUALA LUMPUR: European Tour legends Thomas Bjørn and Miguel Ángel Jiménez have confirmed their participation in this year’s Maybank Championship, adding quality to the marquee field in Malaysia.

The duo’s entry also comes alongside Maybank’s announcement of a five-strong ASEAN line-up joining the Asian and European Tour-sanctioned event at Saujana Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam, Selangor from March 21-24

The ASEAN quintet comprises Myanmar’s Ye Htet Aung, Danny Masrin of Indonesia, Singaporean Johnson Poh as well as the Philippine duo of Angelo Que and Juvic Pagunsan – both former Asian Tour winners in their own right.

The entries of Bjørn and Jiménez add greater depth to an already formidable field that includes four-time Major champion Ernie Els of South Africa and 2020 European Ryder Cup skipper Padraig Harrington.

A 15-time winner on the European Tour, Bjørn is riding the crest of a wave of success, having led Team Europe to victory over Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup at Glenmarie, Shah Alam in January 2018 followed by their famous triumph over Team United States in the 2018 Ryder Cup in France last September.

Jiménez, widely known as the ‘most interesting golfer in the world’ because of his antics on and off the course, has 21 European Tour titles to his credit.

Together they will bring heightened competition and excitement to the international field in the fourth edition of the US$3 million tournament.

Commenting on the new additions to the field, Maybank group president and chief executive Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said: “The inclusion of Thomas Bjørn and Miguel Angel Jiménez is exciting news for golfing fans and will certainly add to the stiff competition expected this year. So too is the ASEAN category, which we see as an extension of our commitment to support the growth of local talent in the region.”

“We hope the opportunity provided to the five ASEAN players in particular will enable them to lift their game further, and inspire even more young talents in the region to aim to be among the world’s best. We wish them and the rest of the field all the very best in the tournament,” added Datuk Abdul Farid.

The Maybank Championship, whose tagline is ‘Where the Best Meet’ is part of the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai and will feature no fewer than 15 of the world’s top-150 players. It will also boast star attractions from other nations including Australia, China, India, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand.

Defending champion and reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, Shubhankar Sharma of India, top-ranked Malaysian Gavin Green, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, and Thailand’s Poom Saksansin are among the other names who have confirmed their participation in the championship.