Saturday March 16, 2013
Asian golfers aim to continue winning ways at Malaysian Open
KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Tour stars are aiming to uphold an impressive winning tradition when the US$2.75mil Maybank Malaysian Open gets under way at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) from March 21-14.
In the past nine editions, Asians have lifted the Seagram Trophy on six occasions, with the last coming from South Korea’s Noh Seung-yul in 2010. Matteo Manassero of Italy (2011) and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (2012) broke the Asians’ stranglehold recently.
The tide could very well shift to another Asian champion next week as they make their way to the prestigious event which is sanctioned by both the Asian Tour and European Tour.
The in-form Anirban Lahiri of India, who won the SAIL-SBI Open on home soil last week, and Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand, winner of the season-opening Myanmar Open, are among the favourites next week.
Lahiri, a three-time Asian Tour winner, is looking for a first victory outside of India and is determined to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Arjun Atwal, who won the Malaysian Open in 2003 and 2008.
“A lot of people ask me questions if I can play abroad. Yes, I feel I can win abroad as well. It is just a matter of the 72 holes coming together and having some luck as well,” said Lahiri, who has won all his three titles at the Delhi Golf Club.
In contention for the title in 2004 before finishing third to compatriot Thongchai Jaidee, Chawalit will open another assault on the title this year.
“My four Asian Tour titles have all been in full-field tournaments and it’ll be nice to add a co-sanctioned tournament on my resume. I have come close previously in the Malaysian Open and China Open but missed out on a win. I led for three rounds in Malaysia but lost to Thongchai,” recalled Chawalit.