Valuable experience on offer for amateurs

Mohd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf
Mohd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf

Kuala Lumpur: Mohd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf, Solomon Emilio Rosidin and Ervin Chang will continue their golfing education when they tee-off at the Maybank Malaysian Open on Thursday.

Playing under the auspices of tournament custodians Malaysian Golf Association (MGA), the trio will look to emulate the exploits of leading national amateur Gavin Kyle Green, who is also in the field for the 53rd hosting of the national Open at the demanding West Course of Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Youngsters Solomon and Ervin booked their spots by winning the TSM Golf Challenge and the Malaysian Amateur Closed respectively while Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) undergraduate Wafiyuddin received an invitation based on his impressive string of results on the local amateur scene.

The latter will be making his first appearance at the US$2.75 million co-sanctioned event and is delighted at the opportunity of realising a long-held dream.

“I remember coming to the Open for the first time as a 13-year-old and telling myself that I would one day tee-off at this prestigious tournament, so I am really excited to finally realise that dream,” said the 23-year-old Penangite.

“It’s a big tournament, so I am being realistic in my expectations this week. I want to go out there and enjoy my golf but having said that, this is a great chance for me to observe and learn from the leading Tour professionals on their routines, mental preparation, strategies as well as shot execution under pressure,” noted Wafiyuddin.

Making back-to-back appearances at the tournament, Sabahan lad Solomon is hoping to calm his nerves and improve on his performance last year, when he missed the weekend cut by just two strokes.

“I was really nervous last year, so a big part of my preparation has been to work on maintaining my composure as well as rhythm and just playing fluid golf,” shared Solomon.

“I was pleased with how I tackled the tough tract last year but I could have dealt with the atmosphere and buzz a bit better, especially towards the end of the second round. The last three or four holes on this course can make or break your round, so I’ve worked out a strategy for that sector, which hopefully will make it count,” noted the 17-year-old.

A regular at the pro-am contest over the last three editions, Ervin is relishing his debut at the tournament proper and will have the calming presence of PGA Tour Academy head instructor Shane Gillespie on his bag this week.

“It is definitely great to have Shane on my bag this week because I’m really nervous about teeing off at the Open for the first time. I have been training with him over the last few weeks and his advice and insights are going to be of great help to me as I take this big step forward,” said Ervin.

“It’s a big week for me and I am positive that I will do well with Shane’s guidance. I want to challenge myself out there and making the cut will be a bonus – if I don’t, I will just learn from my mistakes and work towards a better showing in future editions, explained the 16-year-old, who has benefited from training alongside Asian Tour professional Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh in recent weeks.