CIMB Classic pro-am gets show on the road

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KUALA LUMPUR: The CIMB Classic 2014 kicked off yesterday with the traditional pro-am tournament that pits the players in the Classic against the country’s captains of industry and its best amateurs.

The flight that took the honours yesterday comprised World No 4 Sergio Garcia, CIMB Group group chief executive Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd president and group chief executive Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin.

The US$7 million (RM22.89 million) CIMB Classic 2014 gets under way today at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club with the final round to be played on Sunday.

Patrick Reed will play the first two rounds of the CIMB Classic alongside European Ryder Cup stars Garcia and Lee Westwood.

Reed is making his first PGA Tour start of the new season, having played in the Volvo World Match Play Championship earlier this month, and will be playing in a stroke-play event for the first time since the Tour Championship. Joining him will be Garcia, who tied for 11th at this event a year ago, and Westwood, who won at the Maybank Malaysian Open on this same venue earlier this year.

García, from Spain, plays on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. He has won over 20 international tournaments, including The Players Championship in 2008.

García has spent much of his career in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking (over 300 weeks between 2000 and 2009). He reached a career high ranking of 2nd after winning the HSBC Champions tournament in November 2008, and has achieved post-tax career earnings of more than US$28 million (RM91.56 million).

The CIMB Classic which is the only official FedExCup event for the PGA TOUR in Southeast Asia, and co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, will once again feature 78 players, with 60 coming from the PGA TOUR, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions, including two Malaysians, competing for prize money of US$7 million.

The event debuted in 2010 and moved to the West Course of the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club in 2013; the first three editions were played at The Mines Resort & Golf Club in Mines Wellness City.

It is the first event ever sanctioned by the PGA Tour in Southeast Asia. It is an official money event on the Asian Tour, but was an unofficial money event on the PGA Tour through 2012. Beginning in October 2013, it gained official status on the PGA Tour and the field was increased to 78 players.

(From left) Garcia, Tengku Zafrul and Shahril enjoying their round of golf yesterday. Photo by Suhaimi Yusuf

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 30, 2014.