Dazzling Westwood maintains domination

Fri 18 Apr 2014

Dazzling Westwood maintains domination

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Kuala Lumpur, April 18: Lee Westwood set his sights on ending a two-year title drought by shooting a dazzling six-under-par 66 to take a commanding four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Maybank Malaysian Open on Friday.
The Englishman, winner of the event in 1997, tightened his grip in the US$2.75 million championship with eight birdies for a 13-under-par 131 total to lead from Filipino Antonio Lascuna, who carded the day’s low score of 65, and Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, who fired a 69.
Westwood, fresh from a seventh place finish at the Masters Tournament, took full advantage of his sharp-shooting approach shots on the front nine where he sank five birdies from inside four feet.
He switched to cruise mode with another birdie on 10 but dropped two shots on the difficult par three 11th hole when his tee shot found the drink. Two more birdies on 14 and 16 put him back in prime position at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
“It was solid stuff. I got a bit unlucky at the 11th – the wind just gusted on me and it came up short into the water. But I rallied well and ended up shooting 66,” said Westwood, whose last victory was at the 2012 Nordea Masters in Sweden.
Antonio Lascuna of Philippines Antonio Lascuna of Philippines
A winner of 12 titles in the region, the Asian specialist has enjoyed a welcome return to form after starting work with new swing coach Mike Walker recently. And he has been pleased with his form.
“I saw an immediate improvement on the range but at first it was difficult to take it onto the golf course. But the last few weeks I’ve managed to do so. We didn’t do anything drastic. We are just trying to get it in a different position on the backswing to give me a better angle of attack on the way down,” he explained.
Lascuna surprised even himself when he brilliantly turned in 31 before going on to add three more birdies on his homeward nine at a venue where he has enjoyed very little success in five appearances, with his best finish being tied 20th in 2012.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to shoot this score because this course is a very long golf course for me. My goal was to shoot one or two-under on each day but after nine holes I was five-under! It was amazing. After 17 holes I was like ‘wow’. Maybe now I can aim for a pair of three-under rounds in the weekend,” said the 43-year-old, who is winless on the Asian Tour.
The powerful Colsaerts, a two-time European Tour champion, turned in 32 but struggled to keep pace when he dropped one bogey on his way home to trail Westwood by four shots.
“I thought I actually played a lot better today. I made a fantastic start and was quickly under par, but I got a bit sloppy at one stage. I gave myself great birdie looks from nine to 14 but didn’t make any of them. I could’ve kept it going and gone really low, but I ran out of a bit of steam on the back nine,” said the 31-year-old.
Pablo Larrazabal of Spain had to endure the ‘scariest moment in his career’ when he repelled a hornet attack on the fifth hole by jumping into the lake. He courageously recovered from the scare to complete a 68 for tied 25th place.
“I’m walking along and suddenly I felt something on my nose. I swatted it away and suddenly … they were not bees, they were three times the size of bees. They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time,” he explained.
“I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump into the lake. So I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped into the lake. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I’ve never been so scared,” added the Spaniard, who received two injections on course from a doctor before he resumed his round.
Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium
The halfway cut was set at 145 with a total of 73 players making it through to the weekend rounds. EurAsia Cup star Nicholas Fung (143) was one of three Malaysians who made the cut along with amateur prospect Gavin Green (144) and Khor Kheng Hwai (144).
Scores after round 2 of the Maybank Malaysia Open 2014 being played at the par 72, 6967 Yards Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course (a- denotes amateur):
131 - Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 65-66.
135 - Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 70-65, Nicolas COLSAERTS (BEL) 66-69.
136 - Danny WILLETT (ENG) 70-66.
137 - Julien QUESNE (FRA) 68-69, Andy SULLIVAN (ENG) 70-67, Eduardo DE LA RIVA (ESP) 69-68.
138 - Ricardo SANTOS (POR) 67-71, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 68-70.
139 - Garth MULROY (RSA) 71-68, Scott JAMIESON (SCO) 68-71, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 68-71.
140 - Steve LEWTON (ENG) 71-69, Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 72-68, Scott HEND (AUS) 70-70, Michael HOEY (IRL) 67-73, Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 69-71.
141 - Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 70-71, Tom LEWIS (ENG) 70-71, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-71, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 69-72, Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 72-69, S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND) 71-70, Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 70-71.
About Maybank
The Maybank Group is South East Asia’s fourth largest bank by assets. It has an international network of over 2,200 offices in 20 countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong SAR & People’s Republic of China, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Laos, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain and the United States of America.  The Group offers an extensive range of products and services, which includes consumer and corporate banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, stock broking, insurance and takaful and asset management. It has over 47,000 employees serving more than 22 million customers worldwide. (www.maybank.com)
About the Malaysian Golf Association
The Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) is the sole governing body of golf in Malaysia that was founded in 1929 by representatives of golf clubs to promote the sport while preserving its traditions and integrity. The non-government organization is run by passionate volunteers who have a love for the game of golf, with the help of a team of management staff. The association’s portfolios have increased over the years ranging from conducting 14 state amateur opens, national amateur open, national amateur close, Malaysian Open to processing handicaps through its National Handicap System to promoting grassroots programs and training of athletes to represent Malaysia in international events.
The European Tour
The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour’s innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future. The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2013, will feature a minimum of 45 tournaments spread across all five continents of the world; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday. The European Tour’s corporate identity features the iconic silhouette image of six-time Open Champion Harry Vardon who gives his name to The Harry Vardon Trophy, presented to the player who is crowned European Tour Number One and winner of The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.
About the Asian Tour
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), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant) 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.
About Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) is a member of Sime Darby Property Bhd and a propriety Club wholly-owned and operated by KLGCC Berhad. The club has won numerous accolades from both local and foreign golfing fraternity, the latest being voted the ‘Best Course in Malaysia’ for the second time in a row for its championship West Course at the 2013 Asian Golf Monthly Awards, the second runner up for the Best Championship Course in Asia Pacific and nominated as Top 10 Best in Asia Pacific for Best Clubhouse and Best Pro-Shop categories. At the same time, KLGCC was voted Best Golf Experience for the Best of Malaysia Awards 2013 Travel Awards by The Expatriate Lifestyle Magazine readers. Today, KLGCC is a landmark as the most luxurious golf resort development in Malaysia and KLGCC has in recent years hosted numerous international championships such as the Maybank Malaysian Open and the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
About GlobalOne
GlobalOne (Emerald Evolution Holdings Sdn Bhd) is an executive lifestyle sports promoter and we create sports event ownerships. We specialise in providing the full spectrum in sponsorship event management and have an excellent track record in planning and delivering on PGA European Tour golf events for Malaysia (Maybank Malaysian Open), Singapore (Singapore Masters) and Indonesia (Indonesia Open) since 1999. We have strong relations with sports governing bodies, the media and commercial sponsors and technical partners to deliver on the bottom line. We assist all our clients to create super-strategic, high-return, best practice sponsorship to provide a strong, unified vision, across departments and stakeholders, of the broad range of marketing and business objectives that can be achieved through this sponsorship. We also form and maintain strong relationship with players managers to source the best players. GlobalOne currently stages a highly successful and prestigious tournament in Asia – the Maybank Malaysian Open, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour providing the event with Official World Ranking status. Our long term partners include Emirates (Official Airline), Carlsberg (Official Beer & Stout), Ricoh (Official Office Equipment),  Astro (Official Satellite TV), DoubleTree (Official Hotel), 100Plus (Official Isotonic Beverage), Crestlink (Official Apparel), Transview (Official Golf Accessories & Equipment), Mal-Tel (Official Radio & Communications), Spritzer (Official Water), Singleton (Official Whisky), Srixon (Official Range Balls), Havana (Official Cigars).