Kuala Lumpur: Former Asian Tour Order of Merit winners Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Liang Wen-chong of China hope to translate their recent fine performances into a win at the Maybank Malaysian Open which starts on Thursday.
Singh, a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit number one, cut his professional teeth in Malaysia during his early days as a professional golfer and is delighted to return to the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club where he finished tied 11th in the event last season.
He will be joined by Liang, the first Chinese to win the Order of Merit in 2007, reigning Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, an in-form Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, who currently leads the Merit list, and the popular Bangladeshi Siddikur.
“I love coming back to Malaysia. I won a few tournaments in Malaysia when I just turned professional. It gives me some positive vibes and I seem to do well here. I love playing in front of the Malaysian crowd and I’m glad to be back,” said Singh, a six-time Asian Tour champion.
Singh is ranked 104th in the world but is confident of breaking into the top-50 by the end of the season if he stays healthy. He knows a victory or a solid result this week will push him closer towards his goal.
“I’m playing well and looking forward to a good week. I just need to tidy my game up a bit and try to get the job done. I want to get back into the top-50 in the world and if I can stay injury-free then I know I can do it,” said Singh, who finished tied 23rd in last week’s Avantha Masters on home soil.
He will be a part of a strong Indian contingent which includes Bhullar, who finished second in the Avantha Masters on Sunday,, Anirban Lahiri, who won his third Asian Tour title two weeks ago and Himmat Rai, currently ninth on the Merit list.
“I think the young Indian guys are playing really well. They are playing well and they are good enough to play on any Tour in the world! It was nice to see Gaganjeet and Himmat playing well last week and Anirban winning two weeks ago!” said Singh.
China’s Liang is also riding on a hot form as he battled into contention at the Avantha Masters before settling for third position courtesy of a hole-in-one on the last day.
The scorching heat and sporadic thunderstorms will be a huge test of patience this week but Liang has prepared himself physically by working with a fitness trainer during his free time.
“My form is good. I played well last week and I hope I can play well again this week. I always go to the gym during my free time. I also work with a fitness coach. My fitness level has improved and it certainly plays an important part during tournaments with high humidity,” said Liang.
He hopes to better his performances in the 2005 and 2009 Malaysian Opens where he placed tied eighth and seventh respectively.
“I feel attached to Malaysia and I hope to play well this week. I play my best in every tournament but sometimes there are other players who play better. My confidence is at a high at the moment so hopefully I can play well again this week,” said Liang.