Masterful Westwood shines with brilliant 65

Thu 17 Apr 2014

Masterful Westwood shines with brilliant 65

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Kuala Lumpur, April 17: Lee Westwood reinforced his reputation as an Asian specialist when he fired a classy seven-under-par 65 for the first round clubhouse lead in the Maybank Malaysian Open on Thursday.
The Englishman, whose 40 career wins includes 12 in Asia plus the 1997 Malaysian Open, brilliantly birdied his last three holes at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to maintain his fine form after finishing seventh at the Masters Tournament last week.
Westwood leads by one stroke from 2012 Ryder Cup teammate Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium while Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland and Ricardo Santos of Portugal were a further two shots back at the US$2.75 million event jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, a winner on the Asian Tour, was a further three shots back following a 68 while EurAsia Cup hero Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand battled to a 69 for tied ninth place. Title holder Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand fought to a 71 to be six behind the leader.
Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand
The Maybank Malaysian Open was suspended in the afternoon for over an hour which means that 42 players will return at 7.40am to complete their opening rounds.
Westwood, a former world number one, opened his campaign with a bogey on the par five 10th hole but recovered with a late flourish. He birdied the seventh hole from eight feet and rammed home a huge 25-footer on eight. The Englishman completed a hat-trick of birdies with a 15-foot curler on the ninth hole.
“I didn’t make the best of starts but fortunately that didn’t set the tone for the day. I hit it really well and hit it close a lot. I had to be patient because I was hitting good putts and they weren’t going in,” said Westwood.
The world number 37 was delighted to continue his momentum from the year’s opening Major.  “I played well last week and I’m happy to carry that on today. Obviously Augusta is slightly harder but if you’re shooting low-ish scores at Augusta, you should expect to come here and shoot low scores, which I did today.”
Belgian bomber Colsaerts rediscovered some his best form at the Maybank Malaysian Open, shooting three straight birdies from the 14th hole before adding three more birdies on his homeward nine to trail Westwood by one.
“It’s funny, I’ve waited for a round like this since January 1st. I just kept my momentum going and made a few bounce-backs. I parred the two par fives on the front which is a bit disappointing but I kept very patient and that in the end was what made a difference,” he said.
Prayad, an eight-time Asian Tour winner and a member of Team Asia which forced a draw with Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia last month, bounced back from a triple bogey seven to shoot a 69 playing alongside Westwood.
The smooth-swinging Thai, who won an event at home last week, hit two tee shots into the water on 17 but enjoyed six birdies on his card. “It was only that one hole which gave me a bad score. Otherwise I played very good from tee-to-green. Winning in Thailand and playing in the EurAsia Cup have given me added motivation. I hope I can continue playing like how I’ve been playing lately,” said the Thai veteran.
Kiradech was thankful for the weather disruption as he was two-over through 10 holes when play was halted. After tweaking his swing tempo with new coach Pompetch Saraputti during the break, the 24-year-old hit three birdies in his last seven holes.
“The rain came at the right time,” said the reigning Asian Tour number one.
“I tried to force myself and hit it hard in the front nine. I lost my tempo with my swing and didn’t hit my irons well. But in the last seven holes, I managed to hit it to the pins although I didn’t manage to hole too many putts. It’s a good come back. If I can play like how I did on the back nine, I should be okay. Six is not far behind.”
Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium
Scores after round 1 of the Maybank Malaysia Open 2014 being played at the par 72, 6967 Yards Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course (a- denotes amateur):
65 - Lee WESTWOOD (ENG).
66 - Nicolas COLSAERTS (BEL).
67 - Michael HOEY (IRL), Ricardo SANTOS (POR).
68 - Jbe KRUGER (RSA), Julien QUESNE (FRA).
69 - Edoardo MOLINARI (ITA), Richard T. LEE (CAN), Prayad MARKSAENG (THA), Soren HANSEN (DEN), Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT), Eduardo DE LA RIVA (ESP), Craig LEE (SCO), Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA).
70 - Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Bryce EASTON (RSA), Scott HEND (AUS), BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR), Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG), Raphael JACQUELIN (FRA), Wade ORMSBY (AUS), Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA), Antonio LASCUNA (PHI).
Ends.
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).