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Top Europeans commit to Malaysian event

Three of European golf's finest golfers, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, and the Irish duo of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, will challenge for honours in one of Asia's premier events this year when they compete in the Carlsberg Malaysian Open.

The talented trio are the first marquee names to be announced for the Carlsberg Malaysian Open 2004, which will be played at Saujana Golf and Country Club from February 19-22.

Boasting prizemoney of US$1.21 million, the prestigious championship is Asia's richest national Open and will be joint-sanctioned by the Asian PGA Tour and The European Tour for the fifth successive year.

 Montgomerie, who won The European Tour Order of Merit title seven years in a row from 1993, and Harrington have enjoyed great success in Asia.

 The Scot won the Macau Open this year and the TCL Classic in China last season, while Harrington hit the headlines a few weeks ago when he was triumphant in the joint-sanctioned Omega Hong Kong Open. The Irishman also has a formidable record in the Carlsberg Malaysian Open having finished second twice and fourth once.

"It will be a privilege for Carlsberg to welcome Colin Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley to this year's Carlsberg Malaysian Open," said Bjorn Sondenskov, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad, Managing Director.

The Carlsberg Malaysian Open has a tradition of attracting world class players. Fijian Vijay Singh, has won the event twice, while England's Lee Westwood also has his name inscribed on the trophy.  Last year India's Arjun Atwal took top spot ahead of South Africa's Retief Goosen.

"We recently announced an US$110,000 increase in prizemoney for the Carlsberg Malaysian Open and to be able to follow that up by confirming the participation of three outstanding players gives us a great deal of pleasure," added Sondenskov.

Montgomerie will be competing for the first time in the Malaysian Open. The man they call 'Monty' has won 27 times in Europe and played in the Ryder Cup six times, three of which Europe won.

He was a key member of 2002 winning European Ryder Cup team, when he was unbeaten and won four and a half points out of a possible five.

The Scot lost out in a play-off for the 1994 US Open, and was runner-up again to South African Ernie Els in 1997. In 1995 he was defeated in sudden-death by Steve Elkington of Australia for the US PGA Championship.

"A world class field will once again be ensured for the Carlsberg Malaysian Open with presence of Montgomerie, Harrington and McGinley. They will be a wonderful addition to what will be our 44th national Open," said Thomas Lee, President of the Malaysian Golf Association.

Harrington brilliantly holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the Omega Hong Kong Open. The tournament was the opening event of The European Tour's 2003/2004 season and marked the Irishman's eighth victory on the circuit.

He has been European golf's top performer over recent years and virtually a permanent fixture in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking since arriving there in November 2001, shortly after winning the Volvo Masters in Spain. Last season he finished third on Europe's Order of Merit list, while he was second in 2002 and 2001.

Harrington has not confined his victories to Europe, with America in particular a happy hunting ground. He teamed up with McGinley at Kiawah Island in 1997 to win the World Cup for Ireland for the first time in 39 years, and in 2002 he claimed Target World Challenge in California.

McGinley will always be remembered as the man who holed the winning putt in 2002 Ryder Cup at The De Vere Belfry. His 10-footer on the 18th green secured a half with Jim Furyk and with it the famous trophy for Sam Torrance's Team. A three-time winner on The European Tour McGinley has been a regular visitor to Malaysia during his illustrious career.

 Carlsberg began their title sponsorship of the Carlsberg Malaysian Open in 2001 and through their support the tournament has consolidated its position as one of the premier events in the region.

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