#MMO rewind: Westwood Wins

Mon 02 Feb 2015

#MMO rewind: Westwood Wins

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Kuala Lumpur, February 2: Read the 2014 Maybank Malaysian Open chapter from our latest 2015 Asian Tour Yearbook which will be launched this week! You can also visit our Facebook page to be the first person to win a signed copy by Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Englishman returns to winning ways in Malaysia
For some odd reason, Lee Westwood vividly remembers his play-off loss at the 1998 Malaysian Open more than his victory in the previous year.
“Strangely, I remember more about 1998 than 1997. I came back as defending champion and lost in a play-off ... I hit it into a tree with a driver off the deck,” he recalled.
His triumph at the 2014 Maybank Malaysian Open, however, won’t be lost in his memory.
Playing for the first time at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s championship course, which coincidently is named the West course, Westwood felt right at home from the onset to cruise to a 13th career victory in Asia in near darkness.
040-043. YB.MMO-3(1)The Asian specialist could not explain his knack of winning in the Far East. “I’ve had a lot of success in Asia but I don’t really know why. Perhaps it’s the grass, or the heat, but I do tend to play well out here and I enjoy it,” he said.
Westwood, who ended a two-year winless run, was unfazed by the unpredictable weather as he dominated the Maybank Malaysian Open Open, which was the first ever event to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour in 1999.
A tied seventh finish at the Masters Tournament a week before landing in Malaysia was a clear indication that Westwood was in top form. And he did not disappoint his adoring fans after he made a rare appearance in the country after a lapse of several years.
With one hand firmly on the Seagram Trophy, Westwood produced the loudest cheer of the final round when he sank a 20-foot birdie on the last hole for a closing four-under-par 68 and an 18-under-par 270 winning total.
“Yes this win has come at an important time. I’ve started working with a new coach and Billy Foster came back on my bag at the end of last year. I’m going back to what I’ve done before because it works. It is starting to work already,” said Westwood.
After opening with a superb 65, Westwood never looked back as he produced some glorious golf reminiscent of his best form when he became world number one at the end of 2010.
“My game now has the potential to get close (to the time when he was world number one). But now I feel I’ve got a short game and I’m starting to roll in a few putts. It makes a lot of difference when you can make up-and-downs to keep the momentum going,” said Westwood, who won US$458,330 for his 41st career victory.040-043. YB.MMO-4
Major champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa threatened Westwood briefly by shooting four birdies in his first seven holes but bogeys around the turn saw his challenge fizzle as he signed for to a 68, taking joint second place with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium
“I had the perfect start for trying to give Lee a chase. But the bogey on nine and 10 stopped the momentum and I knew that it was over to chase him. I finished well and I played nicely. I started awful this week but I’m happy with how I recovered after the first round (72),” said Oosthuizen, who was winner here in 2012.
Anirban Lahiri enjoyed a top-10 which capped an amazing Malaysian swing for the Indian, who was part of Team Asia who drew with Team Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup just three weeks before the Maybank Malaysian Open.
“I came into this week feeling good about my game. I really wanted to contend badly. I tried a bit too hard and forced the issue. I didn’t focus on what I needed to do. It got better over the weekend and it is good that I’m playing consistently,” he said.