Matteo Manassero set to return for Maybank Malaysian Open 2012

Kuala Lumpur: The 51st edition of the Maybank Malaysian Open received a further boost today as event organizers confirmed that reigning champion Matteo Manassero will defend the crown which he so impressively won last year.

The 18-year-old Manassero was a revelation during the prestigious European Tour and Asian Tour’s co-sanctioned championship last year, where he displayed impressive accuracy throughout his game to claim the title by one stroke ahead of a world-class field.

The victory at the 2011 Maybank Malaysian Open was the rising Italian star’s second European Tour win, following his maiden triumph in the Castello Masters Costa Azahar in Spain in October 2010. That was a victory, which saw Manassero become the youngest winner in European Tour history, an achievement for which he was later awarded The European Tour's Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of The Year award. With two top-ten finishes to date this year, including a strong runner-up finish at the Andalucia Open Costa De Sol last week, Manassero is coming into form at the right time.

Maybank welcomes the confirmation of Manassero's participation, who together with the earlier announced Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Alvaro Quiros will form a stellar cast at the country’s premier golf tournament scheduled from April 12 - 15 2012 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

"It has been a time-honoured tradition of the Maybank Malaysian Open that the reigning champion returns to defend his title and we are pleased to have Matteo Manassero in the line-up for the 2012 edition of the National Open. We believe strongly in celebrating champions and we look forward to what we expect will be yet another inspiring display of skill and verve from Manassero in Kuala Lumpur," said Mohamed Adam Wee, Chief Marketing Officer, Maybank.

"Headlined by some of the world's top players, the calibre of the world-class field that is set to gather at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club is once again a resounding aye for the prestige and long-held reputation of the Maybank Malaysian Open as the place where champions are born!" he added.

Malaysian Golf Association president Admiral (R) Tan Sri Dato Setia' Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor added, "It is without a doubt that Matteo Manassero is a role model to many aspiring young golfers in the country. Having attained success at such a young age, we believe that players like him will inspire our brigade of junior champions to work harder and raise their standards, so that one day, we can stand witness to a local star being crowned the winner of the Maybank Malaysian Open."

John Eu, Chief Executive Officer of GlobalOne shared that the event was building up nicely and everything was in place for a successful championship come April.

"With the confirmation of Matteo Manassero as one of our star attractions for the tournament, we can now focus our attention on delivering one of the most successful editions of the Maybank Malaysian Open in recent memory. While visitors to the tournament will be guaranteed the usual top quality field of players, we are also hard at work on ensuring that spectators will have a splendid time with various sideline activities organised for the whole duration of the tournament. These will be of various types and will be suitable for all ages, making the Maybank Malaysian Open stand out even more in its continuous efforts to set the standard for professional golf events in Malaysia."

In another development, the Malaysian Golf Association confirmed this week that the final two amateur starts at the prestigious national championship will be filled by Johorean duo Abel Tam Kwang Yuan and George Wee Yoke Boon respectively. The 19-year-old Abel is a member of the national team while George earned his start after emerging as the national champion of the just-concluded 1Malaysia Golf Challenge.