Steel seeks CIMB Classic debut

Sun 25 Aug 2013

Steel seeks CIMB Classic debut

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Kuala Lumpur, August 25: Man of the moment Iain Steel hopes to earn a debut appearance at the CIMB Classic in October by winning the SapuraKencana National Qualifier starting on Monday.
A total of 100 players will vie for honours at the RM150,000 SapuraKencana National Qualifier which rewards the champion with an exclusive spot at the CIMB Classic, sanctioned by the Asian  Tour and PGA Tour, from October 24 to 27.
Steel won his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title on Saturday and will carry his superb form into the three-day qualifier staged at the challenging Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, which is also the venue for the CIMB Classic.
He will face stern challenges from local ace Shaaban Hussin, who is aiming for a fourth appearance at the US$7 million showpiece, highly rated Nicholas Fung, the talented Arie Fauzi and Airil Rizman, who finished second in Terengganu last week.
Steel, the first player to win back-to-back ADT titles in Terengganu and Chinese Taipei, struggled with a back injury in the last three seasons but has turned the corner with renewed confidence and a refined short game.
“I’m putting very well. As long as I’m hitting greens then I will be in contention. This golf course is a bombers’ golf course and I got to make putts to make up for what I lack in distance,” said the 42-year-old Steel.
“I’ve been trying to improve on my short game because I know I’m not hitting it long. I put a lot of time and effort in the short game and at least that part is coming through,” he added.
Shaaban won the qualifier in 2010 and 2011 and took up the second Malaysian slot as he was the best ranked Malaysian on the Official World Golf Ranking after Danny Chia, who triumphed in the qualifier last season. Chia will not defend his title due to an injury.
The lanky Shaaban is determined to make a swift return to the event which is an Official Event on the PGA Tour and will offer FedExCup points for the first time since its inauguration in 2010.
“I think I have a good chance to qualify because I’ve been playing well. Previously we played at The Mines and that course was friendly compared to the KLGCC West Course. It will be different and much tougher playing on this course,” said Shaaban.
“Previously I had two doors to qualify for the CIMB Classic. I had a chance to qualify for the event in the qualifier and through the OWGR. This year, Nicholas (511th) and Iain (743rd) are currently the best placed Malaysians in the world and it won’t be easy to overtake them. So this qualifier is very important for me because at this time, it is my only chance to make it into the event,” he said.
The 23-year-old Fung is relishing the opportunity to play against the PGA Tour and Asian Tour stars. “This is a great opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world. You won’t get a better chance than this!”
“Iain is in good form but Shaaban is the man to beat. He has always played well in this qualifier and he is the hot favourite to win again. I watched the last three CIMB Classics on television so I’m hoping that I can finally get the chance to play in it. It will definitely be an experience to remember,” said Fung.
The field at the CIMB Classic will be expanded to 78 players - 60 coming from the PGA TOUR, 10 from Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemption.
Ends.
About SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad
SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad is one of the world's largest integrated oil and gas services and solutions provider based in Malaysia. SapuraKencana’s  business include providing end-to-end solutions and services to the upstream petroleum industry, and covers activities such as installation of offshore pipelines and structures, fabrication of offshore structures, accommodation and support vessels, drilling vessels, hook-up and commissioning, topside maintenance services, underwater services, offshore geotechnical and geophysical services, project management, diving services, offshore support services, infrastructure and specialized steel fabrication works. With a workforce of over 10,000 people, the Group's global presence can be seen in over 20 countries.
Learn more at http://www.sapurakencana.com.my
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 capitalization of approximately USD 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 of Malaysia (PGAM)
The PGA of Malaysia is the umbrella body for all professional golfers in    Malaysia. As the governing body, the PGA of Malaysia is the sole sanctioning authority for professional tournaments in the country. It is also tasked with the promotion and development of the game of golf at all levels and provides training, education and professional development for its members.
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), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), 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.