Beyond Matsuyama, Asia is counting on the likes of China’s Li Haotong, 22, Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, 28, and 24-year-old Gavin Green of Malaysia to become world-beaters. Each has shown glimpses of greatness and the trio will get their chance to underpin their credentials in Mexico, which is not lost on them.
“I’m really excited about the WGC-Mexico Championship. It is always my ambition to play and compete against the best players in the world, so to get into the elite field is a special feeling,” said Li, who enjoyed an impressive third-place finish at The Open Championship last July.
“As it is also my first WGC appearance outside of China, I am determined to make it a memorable week. Hopefully, I can contend for a win,” added Li, who is a product of the China Golf Association-HSBC Junior Golf programme and a graduate of the PGA TOUR Series-China.
Green, who starred for the University of New Mexico during his amateur days, created a slice of golf history at the end of last year when he became the first Malaysian to win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, which earned him a maiden start at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
“The World Golf Championships are all big events… all the best in the world will be there,” said Green.
His rise during the 2017 season paved the way for him to feature in the PGA TOUR’s events across Asia last fall, namely the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea and WGC-HSBC Champions in China. And the Malaysian said those events “opened” his eyes to top-level golf which he believes will make him a better golfer.
“Playing in the WGC opened my eyes as well as playing in the CIMB and CJ too,” Green said. “I know what to expect, I know what to do. You’ll get all the good guys in the top events, so I just hope to use these events to better myself.”