Chia banks on return to form

Danny Chia ©Mike Casper|TCH
Danny Chia ©Mike Casper|TCH

KUALA LUMPUR: Fatigue is the last thing on Danny Chia’s mind as he looks forward for another big pay day at the CIMB Classic.

The 42-year-old veteran, who secured his second Asian Tour victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters earlier this month to end a 13-year drought, will be hoping to improve on his tied 13th finish at the prestigious US$7 million tournament achieved in 2011.

It might be his tenth straight week on Tour but Chia believes that he will reinvigorated by the challenge awaiting him at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s West Course.

“I think the rough is a bit shorter, and the condition of the golf course is great. You know, I think it’s going to be a great scoring week,” said Chia, who is seventh on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.

He was happy to return into the Asian Tour’s winner’s circle, becoming the first Malaysian to hold multiple victories on the region’s premier Tour.

“Not really surprised with the win,” he said. “I was playing well this year. I thought the win would come sooner or later, and I’m very pleased with what I’ve achieved.”

Like Leong, Chia has also endured career-threatening injuries in recent times and said the episode has made him change his outlook in golf.

“I think my character is a bit different now. I kind of enjoy the game a bit more and I’m more relaxed about it. It’s not so much of what I’m trying to achieve and what I’m trying to prove, it’s more like I just go out there and play golf,” said Chia.

With his current top-10 ranking on the Asian Tour, Chia, qualified automatically for the CIMB Classic, allowing compatriot Arie Irawan to make it into the field as the next best Malaysian on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

“I think it’s great. I mean, I would love to see even more Malaysians get in. Hopefully next year more Malaysians will get in, not through the invite but through the Asian Tour ranking or the world ranking,” he said.

He added his other goal now was to qualify for the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in January where Asia will face off with Europe.

“Definitely that would be one of the things that I’m looking at, but I’m trying to do things one step at a time. I think as long as I keep doing what I’m doing now and play well, I think things like that will come in automatically,” he said.