The European Tour heads for Kuala Lumpur this week for the Maybank Championship. Dubai Desert Classic winner Danny Willett starts favourite in Malaysia.
This is the inaugural running of the Maybank Championship Malaysia, although the Maybank Malaysian Open was first hosted over the course at Royal Selangor GC back in 1962.
The Malaysian Open was the first event to be co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, back in 1999. That event produced some excellent champions including Vijay Singh, Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Lee Westwood. Aphibarnrat is looking forward to playing again in Malaysia. “Malaysia is like a second home to me and the victory in Malaysia in 2013 really helped me achieve the success which I have today,” he said. “I like coming back to Malaysia because the people are friendly and I have a lot of fans here. The weather is also hot and it suits my game.
Dubai Desert Classic champion Danny Willett starts favourite in Malaysia, but the World Number 13 will face stiff competition as the tournament (with a prize fund of $3,000,000) has attracted a strong field. Major champions Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer will tee it up and a number of other big name players are on the start sheet, such as Matthew Fitzpatrick, Thorbjorn Olesen and Tommy Fleetwood.
Louis Oosthuizen is looking to win again on Malaysian soil. The South African won the Malaysian Open of 2012, just a week after he’d lost a playoff to Bubba Watson for the US Masters.
The Royal Selangor Golf Club was established in 1893 and is associated with the start of golf in South East Asia. The course here dates from 1921 but have been renovated and refurbished over the years. The tournament will be contested over a layout featuring a composite of holes from Royal Selangor’s Old and New courses.
The weather forecast for the week looks a touch unsettled. It will be hot, that’s for certain, but there could be some heavy downpours and possibly a thunderstorm or two.
Venue: Royal Selangor GC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: Feb 18-21
Course stats: par 71, 7,079 yards
Defending Champion: Inaugural event
Thursday 18 – Sky Sports 4 from 5am
Friday 19 – Sky Sports 4 from 5am
Saturday 20 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am
Sunday 21 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30am
Danny Willett starts favourite in Malaysia but who else might be worth looking out for?
Thorbjorn Olesen – The Dane has shown excellent form on his last two starts – he was tied second in Qatar and then tied eighth in Dubai. He has the ability to win any time he tees it up and this could be his week.
Thorbjorn Olesen swing sequence:
Joost Luiten – He’s been showing exceptional consistency so far on the 2016 European Tour. In four starts he has three top-10s to his name, and his other finish has been a tie for 13th.
Alvaro Quiros – The flamboyant Spaniard has been off his game for the last couple of seasons, but a tie for fourth in Dubai could indicate a return to form. In that event he closed with a 65 so should come into this week with confidence.