The European Tour took a break last week after the “Gulf Swing,” but it roars back into action when the Maybank Malaysian Open returns to Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur this week. A truly international field gathers in the Malaysian capital to continue the inaugural Race to Dubai. It’s the 48th running of the Malaysian Open but it was also the first ever co-sanctioned tournament in Asia by the European and Asian Tours back in 1999.
Last year’s tournament was contested at Kota Permai GC where India’s Arjun Atwal came through a sudden death playoff against defending champion Peter Hedblom to claim his second Malaysian Open title.
The competition has been held at Saujana five times since the tournament became a fixture on the European Tour schedule. It’s an undulating course lined by palm trees that opened for play back in 1986.
Venue: Saujana Golf and Country Club
Date: Feb 12-15
Course stats: par 72, 6,947 yards
Purse: €1,542,000 Winner: €259,164
Defending champion: Arjun Atwal (-18)
Thursday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 7am
Friday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 7am
Saturday 14 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 4.30am
Sunday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6am
Thongchai Jaidee – The man from Thailand won this tournament in consecutive seasons in 2004 and 2005. He’s not yet firing on all cylinders in 2009 but a return to a course where he’s won twice could be the kick-start he needs.
Anthony Kim – The young American who has taken out Affiliate Membership of the European Tour will be the star attraction in Malaysia. He’d love to make his mark on the European circuit.
Peter Hedblom – Peter Hedblom – The Swede won last time the Malaysian Open was held in Saujana. He had a solid 2008 and will be looking for more of the same in 2009.
Key hole: 17th. A relatively short par-4 at just 377 yards, the hole tends to yield a high number of birdies. When he won here in 2007, Peter Hedblom made three at the hole on each of the four days.
Skills required: Putting – The greens at Saujana are large and undulating, the man who wields the flat stick most effectively will have a good chance of victory.