Kemarol Baharin secured a place in the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014 by topping the National Qualifiers today.
Kemarol Baharin secured a place in the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014 by topping the National Qualifiers today.

KEMAROL BAHARIN led the way to clinch an entry into the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014 as he topped the Maybank Malaysian Open – National Qualifiers at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) today.

Kemarol shot a two-day score of one-under 143 to finish in first place. Ben Leong, Wilson Choo and Kenneth De Silva finished joint second four strokes back.

Only the top four golfers in this exciting two-day event earned tickets to the prestigious Maybank Malaysian Open 2014.

This is the second consecutive year I have qualified for the Maybank Malaysian Open and I have set my sights on making the halfway cut this year,” said Kemarol.

“Last year I didn’t play as well as I would have liked and missed the cut, but the experience was simply amazing and I believe it has made me a better player.

“If possible, I want to finish among the top 10 this year. It is a tall order, but not an impossible dream.”

Kemarol, Ben, Wilson and Kenneth join fellow Malaysians – Nicholas Fung, R. Nachimuthu, Arie Fauzi, Rizal Amin, Airil Rizman, Sukree Othman, Iylia Jamil, Khor Kheng Hwai, Shaifubari Muda, Danny Chia, Shaaban Hussin, Iain Steel, S. Murthy, S. Siva Chandhran,  Gavin Kyle Green, Ervin Chang and Solomon Emilio Rosidin – who have already confirmed their places.

The Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) will announce another name from the National Team at a later date to compete the list of 22 Malaysians who will bid to become the first local golfer to win Maybank Malaysian Open and help raise national pride.

Waiting for the Malaysians in the US$2.75 million tournament is former world number one Lee Westwood, who is Maybank’s first confirmed Star Player.

Westwood is also former winner of the Malaysian Open, having won the title in 1997.

Kenneth, who led the 49 hopefuls on the opening day yesterday, carded a poor 74 today, but it was enough for him to earn a ticket to the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014.

“I had a poor start today as I was nervous. It is not easy to qualify for such a prestigious tournament and the nerves got the better of me at the start,” said Kenneth.

“I’m delighted to have made it through and will start preparations for the tournament from today.”

Ben, who has just returned from a serious back injury, said: “It has been a long way back and I’m delighted to have sealed my place in the Maybank Malaysian Open.

“I would like to thank the sponsors for giving us a chance to qualify.”

Wilson said: “This is the first time I have qualified for the Maybank Malaysian Open and I will enjoy myself. It was not easy, but I did it.”

Mohamed Adam Wee, Maybank’s Group Chief Marketing officer, congratulated the winners and wished them all the best in making the nation proud.

“The top four kept their cool in the searing heat to deservedly claim their tickets to the Maybank Malaysian Open.

“A bigger challenge awaits them in April as many of the world’s best golfers from the Asian and European Tours will be eyeing the coveted trophy,” said Adam.

“I hope all the Malaysian golfers who have already qualified, will stay focused and make the country proud in April.”

A year ago, Gavin was the best Malaysian and best amateur when he finished tied 22nd on six-under 210.

Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) president Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor lauded the four qualifiers and said:

“The quartet have showed over the past two days why they deserve to qualify by playing excellent golf.

“They must remember they will be carrying the nation’s hopes with them and I wish them the very best.”

The rising status and prestige of the Maybank Malaysian Open in recent years has been due to several factors, key among them is the excellent teamwork and relationship developed among all stakeholders involved in the event, as well as the intense competition displayed by top European and Asian Tour golfers.

The level of excellence the event has attained is the reason world class stars continue to make their way to our shores each year.

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