Maybank extends sponsorship of Malaysian Open

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Maybank has confirmed a new five-year deal for its title-sponsorship of the Malaysian Open.

Maybank, the largest bank and financial group in Malaysia, also announced this week that it will raise the prize purse to US$2.5 million – a US$500,000 increase from 2010. The co-sanctioned event by the European Tour and Asian Tour will be played April 14-17 over the West Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

“For each of the last five years, Maybank has felt pride to have been associated with our Open, which has built such a rich heritage over the years to become one of this region’s premier golfing events,” said Maybank chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor.

The deal is a welcomed relief from Malaysian tour pros Danny Chia and Mohamed Shaaban Hussin, whom Maybank hired for ambassador roles.

“The sponsorship takes away some pressure in the financial aspect, and I can look at improving on my game,” said Chia, who last year became the first Malaysian to compete in all four rounds of the British Open.

For Shaaban, the sponsorship helps with his travel expenses.

“I need to play in more tournaments, and the Maybank sponsorship will allow me to do just that,” Shaaban told the Malaysian Online Star.

“It is just not the local tournaments but also those outside Malaysia.”

For the Malaysian Golf Association, this tournament goes beyond dollars.

“With tournaments like the Maybank Malaysian Open spurring on our local professionals, giving them priority and ensuring that their needs are taken care of, we are optimistic that a Malaysian golfer will one day represent our country in the Olympics,” MGA president Datuk Robin Loh said.

The home contingent, however, will have its work cut out for it, considering this year’s event is headlined by European Tour stalwarts Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

In 2010, 19-year-old Korean Seung-yul Noh captured the title and went on to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

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