Noh Seung-yul will be back to defend the Maybank Malaysian Open title next month and will be joined by former champions, Anthony Kang, Thongchai Jaidee, Peter Hedblom and Alastair Forsyth come 14-17 April at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
South Korea’s Noh became the youngest ever player to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season, at the age of 19 years and 204 days. The catalyst for this success was his win at last year’s edition of the Malaysian Open where, at the time, he became the second youngest golfer to claim a win on The European Tour. Noh’s 2011 season was on the up-and-up when he recently qualified for his first WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship as one of the top 64 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.
“The first time playing in Malaysia, I had to adjust to the scorching weather. This time around, I have prepared myself mentally and psychically to withstand the heat, in hopes to win the Maybank Malaysian Open title for the second time in my career. The first win for me was meaningful because I had the opportunity to not only win on Malaysian soil but also defeat an idol of mine, K.J Choi. This time around it’ll be for my parents who have dedicated their time to follow me to Malaysia,” said Noh.
Korean-American Anthony Kang, who triumphed in 2009, will be back to play in the 2011 edition. Kang ended an eight-year title drought with a birdie on the 72nd hole two years ago. It was a third career victory which subsequently catapulted him to third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. In 2010 he posted two Top 20 finishes to end the season in 13th place on the Tour’s Order of Merit.
World renowned Thai golfer and former double Malaysian Open champion Thongchai Jaidee will lead the Asian challenge in the 156-strong field. Thongchai claimed three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles as well as 13 wins on the Tour alone. He became the only golfer to achieve this feat on the Asian Tour. He also became the first Thai to play in a Major at the 2001 US Open at Southern Hills where he tied for 74th and subsequently became the first Thai to play in all four Majors. The 41 year old has four career European Tour titles to his name and in 2004 he became the first Thai golfer to win an event on The European Tour with his victory at the Malaysian Open. He successfully defended that title in 2005.
Aside from Thongchai, another veteran, Sweden’s Peter Hedblom has also confirmed participation. A member of The European Tour for over 20 years, the 41 year old picked up his first win at the 1996 Moroccan Open and went on to represent Sweden in the Dunhill Cup at St Andrews in that same year. In 2007 he took a huge leap forward by claiming his second victory at the Malaysian Open after shooting a final round of 68 to come from a seven shot deficit. He continued his good form with three top ten finishes in 2008 and secured the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in the same year.
Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth is looking for his first European Tour win since his success in the Madeira Islands Open BPI in Portugal back in 2008. He came close to claiming a third Tour title, but eventually finished tied for second at the Estoril Open de Portugal in that same year. The 35 year old Scot’s first career title on The European Tour was obtained at the 2002 Malaysian Open.
Major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer, who is currently ranked Number One on the Official World Golf Ranking, have also confirmed their participation. Oosthuizen and Kaymer will be joined by South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel and Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.
This year, the tournament reaches a milestone as it celebrates its 50th edition as some of the world’s best golfers gather to compete at the renowned Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club from the 14th to 17th April 2011.
Making history as the first ever co-sanctioned tournament in Asia by both the European and Asian Tours in 1999, the Maybank Malaysian Open 2011 will feature top players from the rankings of both these world-leading circuits to make up the 156-player line-up.
Points earned at the Maybank Malaysian Open 2011 will go towards the Asian Tour Order of Merit, and will also add to the player’s 2011 Race to Dubai Ranking, granting them a chance to qualify for the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
A star-studded field is expected at the 50th edition of the Maybank Malaysian Open, with the Malaysian professionals competing with some of the world’s best players for the championship title. With a USD 2.5 million prize purse up on offer, spectators can expect an exciting tournament this April. The four-day co-sanctioned event will take place at the West Course of the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club from 14th - 17th April 2011.