Westwood & G-Mac share lead at #MMO

Thu 05 Feb 2015

Westwood & G-Mac share lead at #MMO

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Kuala Lumpur, February 5: Defending champion Lee Westwood launched his bid for a record-tying third Maybank Malaysian Open crown by firing a brilliant six-under-par 66 to share the first round lead with Ryder Cup teammate Graeme McDowell on Thursday.
The Englishman, who won the title in 1997 and romped to a seven-shot victory here last season, snared seven birdies against a lone bogey at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s West course and was matched by Northern Irishman McDowell, who produced a matching card.
Malaysia’s Danny Chia provided the local cheers with a strong 67 to tie for third place with Tommy Fleetwood of England and Korea’s Kang Sung-hoon at the US$3 million championship co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Prom Meesawat of Thailand, who finished third on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, rolled in a birdie on his last for a 68 for equal fifth place with Anders Hansen of Denmark and Alejandro Canizares of Spain.
Maybank Malaysian Open 2014Westwood, renowned as an Asian specialist as he has won seven Asian Tour victories in his illustrious career, was in total control of his game to maintain his love-affair with the Maybank Malaysian Open.
“I’ll take that. I putted very nicely and started the ball on line well. I left a couple short in the middle when I was fooled by the grain but overall I’m very happy. It’s probably the toughest I’ve ever seen this golf course play,” said Westwood, who is ranked 30th in the world.
“The wind just made it that little bit harder – not the fact it’s blowing particularly hard but that it’s changing direction. It gets very confusing.”
Former U.S. Open champion McDowell, featuring in the Maybank Malaysian Open for the first time since 2008, kept his cool on a warm day in the Malaysian capital. He battled into contention with two birdies over his closing three holes.
“This morning I was really trying not to over-react to any mistakes I made. It really is too hot to get mad out there, so you have to keep your emotions under control and obviously stay hydrated and cool and try to embrace it,” said McDowell.
The fast start has given McDowell the belief that he can win the Maybank Malaysian Open title in what is his second start of the year. “I work off the course over the winter improving some things physically and in my swing and things seem to be clicking really well. It is early days but I’m feeling relaxed and my attitude is good too. If I can continue that for the rest of the year then good things will come,” he added.
Chia, Malaysia’s first winner on the Asian Tour when he won the 2002 Taiwan Open, reeled in four straight birdies on his back nine to charge to the top of the leaderboard. “The putter got hot on the back nine and I started making some putts and started to hit better. I got agitated with the way I was hitting the ball but after I made birdie on my 11th hole (on the 2nd) I started to hit it much better,” said the 42-year-old Chia, who holed two long birdie putts on four and seven.
Danny Chia of Malaysia Danny Chia of Malaysia
Since 1962, no Malaysian has won the national Open and Chia, who was the halfway leader in the 2008 and 2009 editions, is not getting ahead of himself despite his strong start. “I’m just trying to take it one shot at a time and focus on the present. Fairways and greens and try to make birdies … try to make it simple. I guess this has come from experience,” he said.
Fleetwood, one of the rising stars from Europe, produced a bogey-free 67 to give himself a chance of winning a second European Tour title. “It was perfect actually. I played very steadily and it was nice to hole a few putts. I holed a long one from 35 feet on the eighth – my 17th – to get in on five under, so it was the perfect first round,” he said.
Prom, who has registered three career top-10s on the West course, was near flawless as he shot five birdies, including a snaky putt on his last much to the delight of the galleries. The only blip was his throw of his golf ball into the hospitality stands which failed to reach its intended target.
“I didn’t want to risk injuring my arm,” laughed Prom. “The course is playing very difficult. It is tough to control the ball on the greens and it was very windy. It is a good opening round. I always try to find the fairways as much as I can here. You must be patient here.
“I’ve played here many times and I know which holes are difficult. I know where I need to play for par and where I should attack. This is a tough course.”
Scores after round 1 of the Maybank Malaysian Open being played at the par 72, 6986 Yards Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course (am - denotes amateur):
66 - Lee WESTWOOD (ENG), Graeme MCDOWELL (NIR).
67 - Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG), Danny CHIA (MAS), KANG Sung-hoon (KOR).
68 - Alejandro CANIZARES (ESP), Anders HANSEN (DEN), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Richard BLAND (ENG).
69 - Richard T. LEE (CAN), Paul MCGINLEY (IRL), Andrew DODT (AUS), Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS), Paul WARING (ENG), Stephen GALLACHER (SCO).
70 - Mod Iylia JAMIL (MAS), Robert KARLSSON (SWE), Gregory BOURDY (FRA), Anirban LAHIRI (IND), Andy SULLIVAN (ENG), Felipe AGUILAR (CHI), Romain WATTEL (FRA), Robert ROCK (ENG), Marc WARREN (SCO), Scott BARR (AUS), Alvaro QUIROS (ESP), Nicolas COLSAERTS (BEL), Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT), Emilliano GRILLO (ARG).
71 - Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA), Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI), Julien QUESNE (FRA), Nicholas FUNG (MAS), Mark FOSTER (ENG), Raphael JACQUELIN (FRA), Mikael LUNDBERG (SWE), Peter LAWRIE (IRL), Terry PILKADARIS (AUS).
72 - Thongchai JAIDEE (THA), David LIPSKY (USA), Shiv KAPUR (IND), Miguel Angel JIMENEZ (ESP), Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA), Morten Orum MADSEN (DEN), Paul PETERSON (USA), Simon DYSON (ENG), Kristoffer BROBERG (SWE), Lucas BJERREGAARD (DEN), Nathan HOLMAN (AUS), Angelo QUE (PHI), Gary STAL (FRA), Marcus FRASER (AUS), Peter UIHLEIN (USA), Edoardo MOLINARI (ITA), Gregory HAVRET (FRA).
Ends.
About Maybank
The Maybank Group is South East Asia’s fourth largest bank by assets. It has an international network of over 2,400 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
Prom Meesawat of Thaiand Prom Meesawat of Thaiand
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.
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 FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) 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.
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 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 recognised as Number One and Two top golf courses in Malaysia for 2014 by US Golf Digest, 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), Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia (Official Car), DoubleTree (Official Hotel), 100Plus (Official Isotonic Beverage), Crestlink (Official Apparel), Transview Golf (Official Golf Accessories & Equipment), Mal-Tel (Official Radio & Communications), Spritzer (Official Water), Singleton (Official Whisky), Srixon (Official Range Balls), Havana (Official Cigars).