Villegas, Kim to play in Iskandar Johor Open

October 6th, 2011 - 4:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Oct 6 (IANS) Star players Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim have confirmed their participation in the fifth edition of the $2 million Iskandar Johor Open golf Nov 17-20 at the Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club.

Both Villegas and Kim primarily play on the US PGA Tour and will be up against some of the top European Tour players including defending champion, Padraig Harrington as well as the creme of Asian professional golf in the prestigious championship co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours.

“We’re obviously delighted with the participation of Villegas and Kim in the Iskandar Johor Open this year. These two formidable players, together with reigning champion Harrington, certainly make an exciting line-up. We’re all looking forward to a memorable week of thrilling golf this November,” said Grant Slack, vice-president of the Golf Division, IMG, said in a statement.

One of the most popular stars around the globe, the 29-year-old Villegas who hails from Colombia, is a three-time winner on the US PGA Tour with his biggest career triumph coming at the Tour Championship in 2008. Villegas’ most recent victory came at the 2010 Honda Classic and he enjoyed a solid 2011 season with five top ten finishes.

“I’ve heard a lot about golf in this part of the world but have never had the chance to play in Malaysia. It will be something new to compete here and from what I’ve heard, it will be a good field with Harrington and Kim among the leading players, not to mention, the line-up of top Asian players who will also be challenging that week,” said Villegas.

Unlike Villegas, Kim has had some experience competing in Malaysia as he played in the Malaysian Open in 2009 and finished tied 33rd. The American like Villegas has three wins on the US PGA Tour.

“I truly enjoyed my stay in Kuala Lumpur two years ago and am looking forward to the chance to visit Johor. It is great to get the opportunity to compete against top European and Asian players at the Iskandar Johor Open and I’ll be looking for a good week and hopefully a win,” said Kim who has seven top 25 finishes on the Tour this year.

Since turning professional in 2006, the 26-year-old California had a superb season in 2008, which saw him winning twice, earned him a spot in the US Ryder Cup team. Kim was instrumental in the team’s success, with him contributing a crucial first point of the Singles matches, defeating Ryder Cup veteran, Sergio Garcia 5 and 4.

Despite a thumb injury and subsequent surgery that curtailed his starts on Tour last season, Kim chalked up four top ten finishes from 14 starts including a third place finish at The Masters and capped it by a playoff victory at the Shell Houston Open for his third PGA Tour title.

Villegas and Kim will be in the field of 156 players consisting of 67 players each from the Asian and European Tours, eight invites, eight local players and six qualifiers, all vying for the top purse of $317,000.

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