Westwood stays firmly in control #MMO

Sat 07 Feb 2015

Westwood stays firmly in control #MMO

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Kuala Lumpur, February 6: Title holder Lee Westwood stayed firmly in control at the halfway stage of the US$3 million Maybank Malaysian Open on Friday as Alejandro Cañizares joined him atop the leaderboard.
The 41-year-old Englishman, bidding to become only the second player to win the event three times, posted a five-under-par 67 for a two-day score of 11-under-par 133 which was matched by Spaniard Cañizares, who changed into contention with a brilliant 65 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s West course.
Alejandro Canizares of Spain Alejandro Canizares of Spain
Austrian Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who secured three consecutive top-six finishes in the Middle East swing, carded a 66 to lie in third position, three back of the championship sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Irishman Peter Lawrie, playing on a sponsor’s invitation, shot a 66 to share third place with England’s Paul Waring (68), while it was a day to forget for co-overnight leader Graeme McDowell, who signed for a 73 to slip six shots off the leading duo.
Thai star Prom Meesawat and former Asian Tour number one Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines emerged as the leading Asians in tied ninth position after rounds of 72 and 69 respectively for a 140 total.
A closing birdie from 18 feet put Westwood three clear but Cañizares produced some glorious golf, birdieing three of his last four holes to tie for the lead.
Westwood, who won wire-to-wire last season and jointly led after yesterday’s opening round, said: “I played nicely again. I probably only hit one poor shot all day, from the middle of the fairway on the fifth hole. I was going in with a five iron and blocked it right into the water. I was trying not to pull it left and just slid into it a little bit and ended up making six when I should have made four.
“But other than that it was very good and I felt very comfortable out there. I hit a lot of fairways and some good iron shots and made some nice putts. It was great to birdie two of the last three.”
Bernd Wiesberger of Austria Bernd Wiesberger of Austria
Cañizares, a two-time European Tour winner, wielded a hot putter where he needed only 25 putts in his round of seven birdies.  “It was tough to keep your concentration because of the weather, but luckily some clouds came over and it wasn’t as hot as it is when the sun is on you. The course is playing nicely and the greens are rolling very well,” said Cañizares.
Starting from the 10th tee, Wiesberger, ranked 48th in the world, charged into contention when he holed a tricky putt on the sixth hole before closing with two birdies.  “I finished really well. I holed a long curling putt on the sixth, which was my 15th, and I hit it really close on the last two. I felt comfortable out there and it was much better today. I wasn’t at my best yesterday. Mentally I was a bit tired and not in the zone like I’ve been the past few weeks,” said Wiesberger.
“But today felt good again. I’m trying not to think too much about it; just let it happen. Sometimes you get in a groove and play well and things happen for you, and I just hope it lasts a long time,” he added.
Burly Prom, who has three top-10s on the West course, overcame a double bogey on two with birdies on eight and 16 as he stayed on the fringe of contention. “I played good. This course is tough and I tried to stay patient. I hit a lot of good shots but I struggled with the speed of the greens,” said the double Asian Tour winner.
Paul Waring of England Paul Waring of England
The burly Thai arrived in the Malaysian capital with his game not in tip-top shape following a recent back injury but a tip from compatriot Namchok Thantipokhakul has enabled him to find his rhythm.
“I’m still finding for my swing. I’m trying to get it back and get more confidence. I’m striking the ball better. I gained a bit of distance after receiving advice from Namchok. He told me to hit more balls at the driving range to get my tempo back. So I went to the driving range on Wednesday and started hitting a lot of golf balls and it worked,” said Prom.
The halfway cut was set at 146 with five Malaysians – Danny Chia (141), amateur Gavin Green (142), Nicholas Fung (142), Sukree Othman (143) and R. Nachimuthu (145) – all qualifying for the final two rounds.
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 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).