Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
It feels great to play in my 200th Asian Tour event this week. I never count how many events I play so to find out about this is simply amazing. I feel very good especially when it is at Saujana and in Malaysia.
I come to Malaysia every year and this golf course and country feels like my ‘home’. I’ve won here twice but the golf course has changed now. The course is now playing longer but the most important thing to do is to keep the ball in play.
I struggled with my putting and I didn’t perform in 2017. My rankings took a huge dip last year. I want to forget about 2017 and focus this year. Honestly, my target is the seniors’ tour. I’m 48 this year so I have two more years before joining the senior’s tour.
Golf is my life and I love to play golf. I turned professional late but when I look back at my career, it looks great. The young boys in golf now are so good. They have proper training and equipment. That has made them so successful so early in their career.
Ben Leong (Mas)
I had a week off before the Maybank Championship last year. I got off to a poor start in Singapore and Myanmar and I took a week-off to reflect on my performances (last year). I knew that I just had to make the cut to add money on the Order of Merit but I exceeded my expectations. I just stayed positive, worked hard and gave a 100% on every shot, that’s all I can remember from 2017.
The game is feeling okay. I just want to stay healthy. I withdrew a couple of times last year and I was sick at the Royal Cup in Thailand and the Indonesian Masters. I wasn’t playing too well in Singapore and Myanmar. So I have just need to take it one shot at a time. It’s a new year and a new start so I just want to keep all the bad things that happened to me in the past.
I did not play much at Saujana during my amateur days so the highlight has to be last year’s Maybank Championship. I could have done better but I missed my eagle putt on the last hole of my last round and settled for birdie.
I have no expectations for this year. You feel different every year and I want to better my performance from last year but all in all I just want to go out there and give it my best.
I have no complaints about how I started this new year too. I just realized a lot about myself these last couple of weeks, I wasn’t playing how I wanted to and I just went with it. I wasn’t in my comfort zone and I wasn’t playing well . I struggled with my golf swing and the ball isn’t doing what I want it to do. I don’t ever play with a draw and I have been playing with a draw the past two tournaments. I’m proud of myself for having to adjust my game with how I’m swinging it and still trying to get my way back to hitting it like how I used to for 10 years.
But this year so far I have made two cuts out of two tournaments, I would say it would be one of my best starts in the recent years. The goal is to build on it and the schedule looks good on the Asian Tour and hopefully I can peak at the right time.
Shiv Kapur (Ind)
I have been playing here since I was a junior so I know this course quite well. There have been some changes but I have always felt that this course set up good for my eye. Back in year 2000, I played in the Saujana Amateur and I lost in a playoff and last year I had a good finish. So obviously, this course has a good setup for my game, not terribly long and it’s all about placing your ball on the fairways and hitting good iron shots and that suits my game more.
I think the results in Singapore was just due to a little bit of rust and didn’t have much of an off season so Singapore was just about me trying to find my game. I was struggling with my swing all week and my coach Shane has been helping me the past couple of days. I feel like my ball striking is back where it needs to be and from now on things will be better.
I played three weeks in a row and obviously these are tough conditions with the weather. There hasn’t really been a transition between last season and this season I’m a little fatigue. But I want to play as much as I can between now and the Indian Open.
The Panasonic Swing rankings are very important to me, I’ve altered my schedule to fit into Panasonic Swing events. It’s great to have a lead, but it just takes one of the guys behind me to win or do well this week to take over, no one is safe. It’s always nice to pursue rather than be pursued but I couldn’t have asked for a better golf course to be coming in for a Panasonic Swing event.
“It’s definitely such a big honour after last week. I gained a lot of confidence and experience, so quite happy I can be out there and in that position.
“It gave me a lot of confidence and I am feeling great, especially against Rory on Sunday. I think nothing to lose and staying patient was key.
“I think my game is pretty solid and I’m putting very well. This week I will just try to save some energy for the week and hopefully play well and enjoy the pressure.
“It’s been really good, especially this course, if you put the ball on the fairway all the time you are going to make a lot of birdies.
“Sometimes one week can change everything, I will try my best to play well this week and hopefully have a special week.
“It’s my second visit in a couple of weeks and we are just around the corner really, so some good memories over at Glen Marie to start the year and coming back to Saujana Golf Club, I had a good round last year, so it’s nice to be back.
“It was nice to get a good run going there on the Friday, they have changed the front nine a little bit, but other than that very good memories and hopefully they can fuel another week.
“I’m a bit tired, the jet lag wasn’t great, I’m not going to lie and an early wake up here for the pro-am on Tuesday, so trying to get a couple hours in over the next couple of days but nothing we won’t be able to handle.
“The desert was maybe not quite as good results as I hoped but I shot two tournaments of 12 under, which would normally be a decent score, but obviously the scoring is very low going into this year. So not quite there result wise but a lot of positives and some things to work on over the next couple of days to finalise a good week in Malaysia.”