The European Tour heads for Asia this week and the co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open. Italy’s Matteo Manassero defends the title at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The Malaysian Open was the first ever tournament to be co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours back in 1999. Since then winners of the Malaysian Open have included Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Thongchai Jaidee from Thailand who won in 2004 then successfully defended his title the following season.
Last year, teenage sensation Matteo Manassero played four superb rounds of golf to finish one clear of Gregory Bourdy and two ahead of Rory McIlroy. The Italian was not the first teenager to taste success in this event; the 2010 tournament was won by 18-year-old Noh Seung-yul.
A strong field has assembled for this year’s tournament and there are no less than five Major champions on the start sheet. After his near-miss at Augusta, Louis Oosthuizen has made the journey to Kuala Lumpur as has his countryman, 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. Former World Number 1 Martin Kaymer will also tee it up.
The course at Kuala Lumpur G&CC was originally designed by Nelson Howarth and opened for play in 1991. But, the track was totally reconstructed for the 2010 Malaysian Open, although the routing and layout remained the same.
The weather forecast for the week is unsettled and each day there looks like being a threat of thunderstorms. Look for there to be at least one weather delay.
Venue: Kuala Lumpur G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: Apr 12-15
Course stats: par 72, 7,000 yards
Purse: €1,907,000 Winner: €314,700
Defending Champion: Matteo Manassero (-16)
Thursday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 7am
Friday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 7am
Saturday 14 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Sunday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 4.30am
Louis Oosthuizen – The South African is on superb form, as confirmed by his runner-up finish at Augusta. His swing looks effortless and his putting razor-sharp. Look for him to go low here this week.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello – The Spaniard posted a top-10 in this event last year and already has a victory to his name this season – the Dubai Desert Classic.
Martin Kaymer – Another of the class players in the field, Kaymer finished well in Kuala Lumpur in 2011. He’s looking to get back to his best and this week could provide a springboard to do just that.
Key hole: 14th. It may be only 358 yards long but, with a heavily bunkered fairway, and a tricky approach over a lake, it’s a hole that will require a careful and strategic approach.
Skills required: Staying dry. There’s quite a bit of water to contend with, particularly on the back nine. If the trouble is successfully avoided then low scoring will be possible. Charlie Wi won here in 2006 with a 19-under-par total.
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