Asian stars are fearless in CIMB Classic

Wed 23 Oct 2013

Asian stars are fearless in CIMB Classic

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Kuala Lumpur, October 23: Asian Tour stalwarts Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand and Bangladesh’s Siddikur believe Asian players will hold no fear when they take on the stars from the PGA TOUR at the US$7 million CIMB Classic which starts on Thursday.
Kiradech, the current Asian Tour number one, will be among the elite 78-man field including an in-form Scott Hend of Australia, who won his third title of the year in Macau on Sunday, and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
World number three and five-time Major champion Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, who is a four-time Major winner, 2012 Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson and defending champion Nick Watney will also headline at the CIMB Classic which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA TOUR.
Kiradech, who has been drawn into the marquee pairing with Mickelson and Watney for the opening two rounds, said the steamy conditions in Malaysia will be an advantage to the Asians.
“The Asian players know the weather and the golf course but the PGA TOUR players are on a different level. But I think the Asian guys have improved a lot and it should be a good fight for the title during the weekend,” said Kiradech.
The burly Thai, one of the most exciting young players to emerge in Asia, will return to his favourite hunting ground as he won the Malaysian Open in March on the same course.
“I know the course well but during the practice round it was the toughest I’ve ever played. It was firm and fast so it made the greens more challenging. But I feel at home here, I’ve played here 20 or 30 times in Malaysia as a kid and I always play well here,” he said.
Siddikur, who is making his fourth straight appearance at the CIMB Classic, will enjoy the company of Major champions Watson and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley. The slightly built Bangladeshi, who rose from the ranks of a ball boy to become an Asian Tour winner, said he was not afraid of the challenge ahead.
“If I can do something exceptional, it will be good for me. There’s nothing to be afraid of this week, nothing to be scared of. I’ll just go for it,” said Siddikur. “I’ll try to learn something from them. I’ll certainly want to play well. They are long hitters and I’m a short hitter. So I’ll just keep to my own game and routine,” he added.
Els, who is an Asian Tour honorary member and international ambassador, reckons the Asian Tour players are capable of holding their own against the stars from the PGA TOUR.
“If I look at guys like Scotty (Scott Hend), Thongchai (Jaidee) who has been around for a while, and Anirban Lahiri, he looks like he’s not scared of anything. It takes a while for guys to play against bigger and more calibre golfers and mentally feel they can play against them. I think there’s a few of them coming through now. It’s wonderful to see a few of the Asians coming through now,” said Els.
Shiv Kapur of India, who briefly led the opening round of the British Open this year, said the Asians would be up for the challenge ahead.
“The whole atmosphere that surrounds the tournament where you have such an elite field is that you’re more up for the challenge, whether it’s for an Open Championship, WGC or an event like this. You’re more eager to perform, the juices and adrenaline are flowing a bit more and I think that’s a good thing,” said Kapur.
“The reason we play golf is to test yourself against the best players in the world. Although it was briefly, I proved something to myself at the first day of the British Open that when I play my best, I can play against the best players in the world. Now, the challenge is to get that consistency and doing it over four rounds and on a regular basis
I think if we had a PGA Tour on the Asian Tour some seven or 10 years ago, the Asian players may have looked a bit out of their depth. Now, we have a strong bunch of guys that when we play well, we are looked upon as serious contenders and not just there to complete the numbers,” added the Indian.
For more information on the CIMB Classic, log on to our website at www.cimbclassic.com, or join us on Facebook at, https://www.facebook.com/CIMBClassic.
Ends.
About CIMB Group
The title sponsor of the CIMB Classic is CIMB Group. CIMB Group is one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the Group is now present in 8 out of 10 ASEAN nations. CIMB Group offers a full suite of financial services and related products; has a market capitalisation of approximately US$18.4 billion as at 31 Jul 2013 and over 42,000 employees located in 17 countries. Read more about CIMB Group at www.cimb.com.
About PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 100 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
The PGA TOUR’s mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.
PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to approximately 945 million households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2012, tournaments on the three Tours generated more than $130 million for local charitable organizations, bringing the TOUR’s all-time total of charitable contributions to more than $1.86 billion.
The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.com, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.