Leong hopeful of Selangor Masters appearance

Ben Leong © Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour

Selangor: Former winner Ben Leong is racing against time to recover from a back injury to compete in next month’s Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters, a tournament which catapulted him to fame.

Leong is suffering from a disc prolapse, and the initial diagnosis could see him being sidelined for six months. However, he is still hoping to play in the RM1.2 million (approximately US$395,000) Asian Tour event against his neurologist’s advice when the full-field tournament returns to Kota Permai Golf and Country Club from September 5-8.

“I felt a little tightness in my lower back after the second round of the PGM ADT Masters at A’Famosa (in May) but I thought it was nothing serious. I ignored it and kept playing. I wanted to fix it but didn’t have the time,” said Leong.

“It wasn’t that bad at first but it got worse. I decided to check it out after the [Camry Challenge] event in China, where I finished second and the MRI revealed I had a disc prolapse. This is one of those freak injuries. I don’t really know how I got it. There are a lot of possibilities,” he added.

Leong earned a dream victory in the 2008 edition of tournament when he defeated Thai maestro Thongchai Jaidee for his first Asian Tour title. He said he cannot imagine himself not playing in the event.

“Obviously I’m very disappointed to sustain this injury but I’ll do my best to recover. My victory at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters was a dream come true for me and I cannot imagine myself not playing in it next month. “I’m going to try and push myself and if all goes well, hopefully I can recover in time for it,” added the 26-year-old.

“I’m fortunate that I don’t need surgery. I have to really put in a lot of effort in my exercises and rehab. I’ll need a lot of rest,” said Leong, who will have to avoid hitting golf balls and concentrate on doing a lot of exercises during his recuperation..

The Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters will be staged for the fifth season on the Asian Tour Schedule and will attract many of the top Asian Tour names.