Steel set for long-awaited comeback

Fri 17 Jan 2014

Steel set for long-awaited comeback

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January 17: Malaysia’s Iain Steel will make his long-awaited comeback on the region’s premier Tour after finishing third in the Asian Development Tour’s (ADT) 2013 season to secure his 2014 Asian Tour card.
Regaining his playing rights on the Asian Tour was a welcome relief for the 42-year-old Sabahan as he had lost his Asian Tour card in 2011 after struggling with a persistent back injury. Steel proved his worth by capping a magical 2013 campaign on the burgeoning ADT where he secured two consecutive wins in Chinese Taipei and Malaysia.
“Winning on the ADT meant a lot to me. It boosted my confidence, a lot. I’ve been suffering from a back injury for two years now and it has kind of side-lined my game as I had to cope with a sore back most of the time,” said Steel.
“However, I’ve been telling myself that I can still compete. I guess I’ve proved myself right,” added Steel, who is of mixed Scottish-Malaysian parentage.
Steel was delighted to get his Asian Tour career back on track as he believes he can still compete at the highest level.
“I’ve been playing consistently on the ADT since the start of the season and I came into contention a couple of times. It took me a while to adjust to playing on the ADT after playing on the Asian Tour earlier for six to seven years,” said Steel.
“The world ranking points is a bonus for the ADT players and it makes the field on the ADT stronger as well,” added Steel.
With his maiden win at the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship, Steel not only became the first non-Chinese Taipei player to win an ADT event in Chinese Taipei soil but also the first Malaysian to win an ADT event outside of Malaysia.
He went on to play his way into the record books by winning the PGM Terengganu Masters a fortnight later as he became the first player to secure back-to-back victories on the ADT.
The Malaysian rediscovered some of his best form after playing and winning on the ADT and is looking forward to playing on the Asian Tour in the new 2014 season.
“This is a second chance for me. I feel really good getting back to where I belong after missing out on the card for two years. I’m looking forward to getting back on the Asian Tour. The ADT has been a great platform for me to sharpen my game,” said Steel.
Steel claimed third place on the ADT Order of Merit with total earnings of US$37,135.
About Iain STEEL
Country:                      Malaysia
Date Of Birth:            May 3, 1971
Residence:                   Alabama, United States
Family:                          Married, 2 children
Turned Pro:                1996
ASIAN DEVELOPMENT TOUR: (2) 2013 Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship, 2013 Terengganu Masters, Malaysia.
PRO WINS (4): 1997 Nike Boise Open, US, 2001 Alabama Open, US, 2002 Greater Vancouver Open, Canada, 2006 Malaysian PGA Championship.
AMATEUR WINS: (1) 1995 Alabama Intercollegiate.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Iain is one of the most experienced players on the Asian Tour, having played on the PGA Tour and winning on the Nike Tour (US secondary circuit) previously. He turned his attention to Asia in 2006 and enjoyed five solid seasons, which included a play-off loss at the Singapore Masters in 2007, before enduring a tough year in 2011 and 2012. He struggled with his driving and putting to subsequently lose his Tour card. In 2010, he missed the cut in his opening six events but the US-based Malaysian turned his season around in the second half with a third place finish at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei and tied-sixth at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open. Credited his turnaround to his mental coach. Iain got his 2009 season off to an encouraging start when he posted a tied-11th finish at the season-opening Asian Tour International. Also registered a top-10 in the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia and three other top-30s. In 2008, Iain took time to find his best form before finishing third at the Selangor Masters, which marked the start of a sensational run of form. He subsequently finished eighth at the Brunei Open and sixth in the Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational where he held the joint lead going into the last round. Iain enjoyed further top-10s at the Iskandar Johor Open, UBS Hong Kong Open and Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open. In 2007, he came agonizingly close to a maiden title when he lost in a play-off to Liang Wen-chong at the Singapore Masters. After watching Liang pull off a gutsy par save on the 72nd hole to force extra-time, Iain hooked his tee shot into water in sudden-death to end his title aspirations. He also enjoyed a tied 10th finish at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Phuket. The Malaysian spent one season on the US Tour in 1998 and has won titles on the former Nike Tour and Canadian Tour. In 2006, he switched his focus to the Asian Tour where he earned his Tour card by finishing tied fourth in Qualifying School. He went on to establish himself with four top-10s at the Pakistan Open, SK Telecom Open in Korea, Bangkok Airways Open and Volkswagen Masters-China. Also won a BMW car for a hole-in-one at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open. Iain qualified for the British Open in 1996, becoming the first Malaysian to do so. After being out of the Asian scene for most of his professional career, he represented Malaysia for the first time in the World Cup Qualifier with Danny Chia in 2005 and has continued to represent his country through 2009.
PERSONAL: Born in Sabah, Malaysia. Father Graham is Scottish while his mother is Malaysian. Grew up in Sabah during his childhood and later studied in Scotland, in the same school as European legend Colin Montgomerie, before attending college in the United States. Looks up to Vijay Singh, whom he met during the big Fijian’s days in Borneo.