Gavin upbeat ahead of WGC debut

Gavin Kyle Green ©Arep Kulal|Asian Tour

KUALA LUMPUR: A season of many firsts continues for Gavin Kyle Green as the Asian Tour Order of Merit leader makes his World Golf Championship debut at the lucrative US$9.75 million WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China this week.

The learning curve gets steeper for the rising Malaysian star as he finds himself alongside many of the world’s leading players including titleholder and world number four Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and world number one and 2013 champion Dustin Johnson.

The star-studded field also includes the three Olympic medallists – Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar as well as Australian Marc Leishman, winner of the BMW Championship earlier this month, 2017 US Open champion Brooks Koepka, US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed, 2013 Masters Tournament winner Adam Scott and five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson.

“Playing in a WGC event was definitely something on my bucket list and I’m happy I’ve managed to tick that off now. Thankfully, this opportunity came early. This is obviously a big week with many of the top players here,” said Green.

Frustrated as he may be with his recent showing at the CIMB Classic on home soil and the CJ Cup in Korea last week, the 23-year-old Malaysian is happily soaking up the experience of competing in such world-class elite fields.

“A part of me knows that I can actually compete. You’ve got to believe so. Also a part of me knows that there’s something to work on. It’s bit of pros and cons.

“I’m trying to forget as much as I can about last week and try to restart and put into practice what I’ve learnt from last week. I feel like I’m getting there, feeling comfortable and confident about playing in high profile events like this one. I’m enjoying it,” he added.

Green is expecting a challenging week at the Sheshan International Golf Club, with winds likely to come into play once again.

“This is a very challenging course especially when the winds get up. It’s not an easy course. I’m just going to enjoy and do the best I can,” said the Rio Olympian.