Saturday March 23, 2013
China’s Ashun laughing all the way to the fore with 135
HOW does one stay chirpy when bogeys stalk your game? China’s Wu Ashun cannot explain it but said that it is his way of playing well in a tournament – by being happy.
And to prove his point, the Chinese making a return to the Maybank Malaysian Open since 2010, opened with a first round of five-under-par 67 and after a short rest went back to complete the second round with a four-under 68.
He is currently tied with South African Charl Schwartel for the clubhouse lead with a nine-under-135 in the US$2.75mil event.
Ashun, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation, was among the 78 players who had to complete their first round yesterday morning after play was suspended on Thursday due to heavy rain. He was on the early flight for the second round with Schwartzel and with play being suspended for a second day running, he was among the 32 players to finish the second round.
In the morning, he completed six holes where he bogeyed the 14th and marked his card with birdies on 16 and 18 to trail the leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand by two shots. Kiradech finished round one on Thursday on 65 before play was suspended and was trailed by playing partner Anders Hansen of Denmark and Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari of Italy, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Scott Jamieson of Scotland by one-shot.
Ashun settled for tied sixth alongside Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, the 2011 Masters Tournament winner, who chipped in for birdie on the last along with Malaysian veteran S. Murthy and Victor Dubuisson of France when the first round ended.
In the second round, he sank five birdies on the third, fourth, ninth, 10th and 12th holes and the only blemish on his card was a bogey on the sixth.
Ashun said he had fun playing yesterday and felt his game was well-controlled. He said a lengthy training stint with his coach Joe Their in the US prior to coming here, had helped shape his game.
“Yes, most of the work was on mental training. And we also worked on my short game. Joe has been my coach for the last three years and this time I spent more time with him.
“Today I just had fun and stayed happy. That helped me a lot. I am not sure how I did that (staying happy) but it was fun,” he laughed.
Ashun finished tied 19th in his last appearance at the Maybank Malaysian Open 2010 and is determined to better his performance this year.
He is also enjoying a purple patch as he qualified for his first Major tournament at the Open Championship via the International Final Qualifying – Asia in Thailand earlier this month.
“It’s great that I had the opportunity to play in this co-sanctioned event this week. It’s going to be very competitive because we’ve got all the top players from Asian Tour and European Tour in the field,” said Ashun.
“I like this golf course (KLGCC) a lot. I’ve played here before a couple of years back. I think it’s important to play with a strategy in mind this week and choosing of the right clubs to use will matter as well. I’ve been in a good form lately and I hope to maintain that,” he added.