Els wary of Asian challenge at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters

Wed 01 May 2013

Els wary of Asian challenge at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters

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Jakarta, May 1: Reigning Open Championship winner Ernie Els of South Africa believes his next biggest challenge will come from Asian players when he makes his debut at the US$750,000 CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters starting on Thursday.
The South African nicknamed the “Big Easy”, has enjoyed more than 60 victories worldwide but as the sport continues to enjoy unprecedented growth on the Asian Tour, the current world number 24 knows the competition is only going to get tougher.
“I had a few offers to play all around the world but I feel that coming to Asia is a good call. I like going around the world as an Open champion and taking the game everywhere and playing with guys that are coming through. I feel that Asia is a market where these guys are eventually going to become top players,” said Els, who finished tied 15th on the PGA Tour on Sunday.
Els registered tied 13th at the Masters Tournament in April with the long putter and hopes to carry the momentum into this week’s full field Asian Tour event staged at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
Scott Hend of Australia Scott Hend of Australia
Els headlines the third edition of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters alongside Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, three-time Asian Tour winner Anirban Lahiri of India and Scott Hend of Australia, who won the Chiangmai Golf Classic in March.
“I went to Augusta with a long putter and I actually played quite well. While it is good, I’ll go with it and if they change the rules then I’ll go back to the short putter. I like to get to the short putter but I’m putting so nicely with the long putter,” said Els.
“I was so concentrated of getting ready for the Masters that I put all my energy in the long putter so I don’t see any reason why I should change putters,” added the 43-year-old, who helped the Habitat for Humanity, a charity organisation, raise funds to build more than two homes for the underprivileged in a charity dinner on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile Lahiri continues his search for a first Asian Tour win outside of India as his previous three victories came from play-off triumphs on home soil.
“I have the game to win anywhere, whether it’s India, Indonesia or Malaysia or even in Europe. For me, the focus is to go out there, enjoy my golf and just stick to the basics and keep it in play,” said Lahiri, who recorded fifth position in last year’s edition.
“The moment we get onto the golf course, we’re not thinking about factors like whether I’ve won here or there, it just trying to hit the best possible shot and focus on what you need to do. That’s really critical for all of us, whether we come here or any other country.”
Hend, who took a three-week break from golf after his win in Chiangmai, hopes to return to winning ways in the country where he won his first Asian Tour title at the 2008 Indonesian President Invitational.
“I flew straight back to Florida after winning in Chiangmai and played soccer with my son on the front yard every day! There was no time to watch the television. I didn’t touch the sticks for three weeks but pulled them out just in time for the Ballantine’s Championship last week.
“I had to do some serious range work in the cold last week. It is nice to be in the warmth here because it takes five minutes to warm up instead of an hour!” said the big-hitting Australia.
Ends.
Anirban Lahiri of India Anirban Lahiri of India
About CIMB Niaga
CIMB Niaga was established as Bank Niaga in 1955. CIMB Group holds around 97.94% of the stakes in CIMB Niaga. The Bank offers a comprehensive suite of both conventional and Islamic banking products and services, through an expanding delivery channel network of 971 offices all over Indonesia as at 31 March 2013, including 592 branches, 350 Mikro Laju units (including 21 outlets attached to a branch), and 50 cash/payment points. CIMB Niaga has more than 14,300 employees.
CIMB Niaga encourages people to share high growth and take advantage of all the potential that South-East Asia regions bring – in line with CIMB Group’s brand positioning: “ASEAN for You”.
CIMB Group is Malaysia’s second largest financial services provider and one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups. It offers consumer banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, asset management and insurance products and services. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the Group is now present in 8 out of 10 ASEAN nations (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Myanmar). Beyond ASEAN, the Group has market presence in China, Hong Kong, Bahrain, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Australia, the US, UK and Korea. CIMB Group is listed on Bursa Malaysia via CIMB Group Holdings Berhad. It has a market capitalisation of USD18.4 billion as at 31 March 2013. The Group has over 42,000 employees located in 17 countries.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf