Local standouts Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung hope to produce more cheers for the crowds when they challenge for the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia title which starts in a fortnight.
The Malaysian duo were the star performers for Team Asia at the recent EurAsia Cup last month and they intend to repeat their heroics at the Maybank event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour at Royal Selangor Golf Club from February 18 to 21.
Chia and Fung will be among elite company at the Maybank Championship Malaysia which headliners include Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Englishmen Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who were part of the triumphant Team Europe at the EurAsia Cup.
EurAsia Cup captains Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and Jeev Milkha Singh of India, and Younghan Song of Korea, who beat world number one Jordan Spieth at the Singapore Open on Monday, will also feature in the lucrative US$3 million event.
Chia ended a 13-year-old title drought on the Asian Tour last year which helped him finish eighth on the Order of Merit, earning him a spot in the EurAsia Cup where he and Fung produced battling half points in the Foursomes and Fourball matches.
After representing Team Asia, Chia is now focussed on flying the Malaysian flag high at the Maybank Championship Malaysia.
“I’m very excited because it is a new event for Maybank and I’m really looking forward to playing at Royal Selangor. I’ve not played many times in a competition at Royal Selangor but I always trained there during my amateur days. I’ve always like that golf course,” said Chia.
“I played at Royal Selangor last month and the course is in good shape. It is a very interesting course. I always want to do well in tournaments in Malaysia. It is always nice when you have local fans cheering you just like when we played at the EurAsia Cup,” he added.
After finishing second on two occasions on the Asian Tour, Fung is eager to cross the finish line in style and follow in the footsteps of his mentor Chia.
“Most Malaysian golfers hope to enjoy the success Danny has on the Asian Tour. We always look forward to playing on home soil and doing well. It is my dream to win in Malaysia but it won’t be easy. The experience at the EurAsia Cup will certainly boost my career,” said Fung.
“Playing in the team event and alongside Danny has taught me to stay patient and move on to the next hole if things go your way. It will be an interesting challenge at the Maybank Championship Malaysia and I look forward to a good result for the fans,” added the bespectacled Sabahan.