Relaxed Airil eyes Kota Permai flourish

Airil Rizman © Khalid Redza/Asian Tour

Shah Alam: An in-form Airil Rizman of Malaysia hopes a relaxed approach will see him reap the rewards at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters which starts on Wednesday.

Airil, who clinched his third domestic title of the year last week, plans to recapture his best form on the Asian Tour which saw him lift the Pakistan Open title in 2007. Te 34-year-old has endured a relatively quiet spell on the region’s elite circuit in the past few years to follow his career breakthrough.

He attributed his lack of success to various reasons and has since taken on a carefree approach which he said has helped him win on the domestic circuit.  “I found a way to win again. Even though it is on a smaller scale, I’m still happy as previously, I couldn’t shoot low scores. I hope to remain in a relaxed state of mind. I pretty much have a carefree attitude now,” said Airil.

Airil is amongst a strong contingent of Malaysian players who hope to emulate Ben Leong’s victory in the 2008 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters. Other hopefuls include Shaaban Hussin, Danny Chia, Kenneth De Silva and Sukree Othman, who finished top-10 last year.

Competing on the Asian Tour, Airil believes, will help shape the careers of local players. “It builds confidence and character. There’s no point feeling you are a big fish in a small pond. You have to feel like a big fish swimming amongst the big fishes. It will definitely help when you play with different and better players in different environments,” he said.

De Silva missed an Asian Tour card at Qualifying School in January when he shot a disastrous nine on the par five 18th hole on the last day to miss the grade by two shots. He said the bitter experience has made him a better player and he is prepared to challenge for honours this week.

“The Qualifying School taught me how to cope with pressure. I feel that my game is getting there but I still got a lot of catching up to do. I need to train more if I want to win my first professional title,” said the 21-year-old.

“I prefer to play on the Asian Tour because I get confidence when I play well here. It is very challenging on the Asian Tour and that’s what you need to improve.”