Danny Willett and Charl Schwartzel will tee it up in Kuala Lumpur alongside Lee Westwood, Rafael Cabrera Bello and 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Scott Hend
Masters Champions Headline Maybank Championship
The European Tour makes 3000+ mile trip from Dubai to Malaysia this week for the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur.
The event, formerly known as the Malaysian Open until 2015, is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and features all of the current Asian Tour Order of Merit top 10.
Last year, Aussie Marcus Fraser won by two strokes from Soomin Lee and Miguel Tabeuna at Royal Selangor Golf Club. He is back to defend his title.
This week, Saujana G&CC is the host venue which has held the Malaysian Open six times, most recently in 2009 .
The course is undulating and surrounded by palm trees, meaning straight driving is at a premium – plenty of fairway bunkers also await strayed tee shots.
Masters champions Danny Willett and Charl Schwartzel headline the field which includes two-time Malaysian Open winner Lee Westwood, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Bernd Weisberger, Jeunghun Wang, Tommy Fleetwood and 2016 Asian Tour number one Scott Hend.
The weather in Kuala Lumpar certainly isn’t what we’re used to in the UK. Highs of 32°C on Thursday and Friday and 33°C at the weekend, however rain is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and there may even be some thunder.
Venue: Saujana G&CC
Date: Feb 9 – 12
Course stats: Par 72, 7186 yards
Defending champion: Marcus Fraser
Thursday 9 – Sky Sports 4HD from 7am
Friday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 5am and 7am
Saturday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30am
Sunday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30am
Rafael Cabrera Bello – Rafa hasn’t missed a cut since the Players Championship last May and is coming into this week on a good run, he was T11th last week and a T6th the week before in Qatar.
Scott Hend – The powerful Australian won the 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit and has picked up nine Asian Tour titles including two co-sanctioned with the European Tour. He is definitely one to watch in this part of the world.
Jeunghun Wang – The 21-year-old South Korean is tipped for greatness, having already picked up three European Tour titles, including the recent Qatar Masters. Despite missing the cut in Dubai last week he is still one of the highest-ranked players in the field.
Key hole: 18th. The closing par-5 measures 569 yards and will be reachable in two for the long hitters. Will we see an eagle decide the championship? It’s a tricky drive with palm trees lining the fairway whilst bunkers are also in play off the tee.