- Malaysian Open
The Malaysian Golf Association dates back to 1929 but organized golf was played in the country way before then. The Straits Championship, the precursor to the Malaysian Open Amateur, was introduced at Penang Golf Club in 1894 and this competition has been contested on an annual basis nearly every year since then.
“Entrusted to promote the game while preserving its traditions and integrity,” the MGA is a non-government organization run by volunteers, with the assistance of a team of management staff, to conduct state amateur championships, the national amateur open, national amateur close and the Malaysian Open.
This men’s professional tournament started in 1962 as one of the inaugural events on the Far East circuit before transferring to the Asian Tour in the 1990s, where it was co-sanctioned with the European Tour between 1999 and 2015. After a 4-year hiatus, it returned to the professional circuit in 2020.
Twenty-three of the first twenty-five editions of the competition were hosted by Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur and the very first of these events was won by Australian Frank Philips, who had already captured the Australian Open in 1957 and the previous year, beating Kel Nagle by two strokes.
Phillips finished one ahead of Peter Thomson, who was tied for second just one shot adrift, alongside Bob Charles. Neither of these golfing greats would ever win the Malaysian Open, though Thomson came close again in 1966 when finishing runner-up to South African Harold Henning, who that year claimed the only Asian title in his playing career.
Other Antipodean golfers crowned champion in Malaysia include Graham Marsh (1974 & 1975) and Stewart Ginn (1977 & 1986) but the record-holder with three victories between 1983 and 1987 is Terry Gale, who added this hat-trick of titles to a career total of 42 professional wins on the various regular and senior tours.
Several players from the USA have lifted the trophy since Danny Hepler won the 54-hole version of the tournament in 1982, when the first round was abandoned due to bad weather. The most well-known of these Americans is Jeff Maggert who won by five strokes at Ayer Keroh Country Club in 1989 to take home his second winner’s cheque as a professional.
Joakim Haeggman from Sweden was the first man from Europe into the winner’s enclosure for this competition when he saw off two other players in a playoff for the 1994 title, and he’s led the way for a number of other Europeans since then.
England’s Lee Westwood won by 2 strokes at Saujana Golf & Country Club in 1997 (and at TPC Kuala Lumpur by 7 shots in 2014); Scotsman Alistair Forsyth overcame Stephen Leaney with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff in 2002; and 17-year-old Matteo Manassero from Italy held off Grégory Bourdy by one stroke in 2011 to secure his second European Tour win.
Other notable names etched on the trophy for this tournament include Mark McNulty from Zimbabwe (winning by a record 9 strokes in 1980), Vijay Singh from Fiji (with victories at Penang in 1992 and Saujana in 2001), and Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa who finished three strokes ahead of runner-up Stephen Gallagher in 2012.
You’ll not find either Ayer Keroh Country Club (1989) or Subang National Golf Club (1983, 1987 & 1991) listed below as they’re not currently included in our Malaysian listings.
Malaysian Open Top 100 Leaderboard