This handout photo taken and released on January 19 by the Asian Tour shows Gavin Green of Malaysia hitting a drive during round one of the Singapore Open golf tournament at the Serapong golf course in Singapore. AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Eight Asian Tour Order of Merit (OoM) champions will join the fray in the Maybank Championship at Saujana Golf and Country Club on Feb 1-4.

Malaysia’s reigning OoM winner Gavin Green will lead the Asian charge which also features Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thongchai Jaidee, Arjun Atwal, Jyoti Randhawa, Liang Wen-Chong, David Lipsky and Scott Hend.

India's Shiv Kapur and S.S.P. Chawrasia, as well as Richard T. Lee of Canada, South Korea's Wang Jeunghun and Thai Panuphol Pittayarat will also do battle in the US$3 million (RM11.6 million) event, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour.

Up-and-coming Thai star Phachara Khongwatmai, who is searching for a first Asian Tour and European Tour victory, hopes to improve on last year’s tied 20th placing at the Maybank Championship

The 18-year-old will be joined by countryman and EurAsia Cup teammate Poom Saksansin. The Thai duo were standout performers for Team Asia in the match-play against Team Europe a fortnight ago.

“It (the result at the 2017 Maybank Championship) took the monkey off my back for the rest of the season. I didn’t have to think about saving my Asian Tour card and can just focus on improving and becoming better,” said Phachara.

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