Kuala Lumpur: Digvijay Singh of India is confident of doing well at the Maybank Malaysian Open and is looking forward to prove that he can win outside of his comfort zone when at the tournament which gets underway from Thursday.
Singh won his first Asian Tour title in India a fortnight ago and will be aiming to eclipse the stellar cast gathered at the US$2.5 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Matteo Manassero of Italy will defend his title this week but will face stern challenges from the Asian Tour lights including three-time Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Siddikur of Bangladesh and Asia’s rip-it and grip-it star Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Singh believes he needs to mirror the success of two-time Asian Tour number one Jeev Milkha Singh, who has won six times on the Asian Tour and multiple titles in Europe and Japan.
“It is more important to prove yourself on foreign soil. We know those courses (in India) more than the foreigners but a good player will be one who can prove himself on any kind of golf course,” said the 40-year-old.
“After that win (Panasonic Open India), a lot has changed especially my confidence and the way I look at the game. I’m not worried about keeping my Asian Tour card anymore and that’s the first thing that came into my mind,” added Singh.
Singh hopes the hard work put in with his new coach Pritam Saikia will continue to pay dividends.
“We have been trying to work on my rhythm a lot. Two weeks ago he said, I don’t care where you hit the ball but you have to maintain your rhythm. That’s the reason why I’ve been playing so well,” he said.
Siddikur finished as the top Asian in last year’s Maybank Malaysian Open where he finished in tied eighth place. He hopes the positive memories will guide him to a long-awaited second Asian Tour title at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
“I’ve been struggling to win a second title. I came close two weeks ago so I hope I can win again soon. I always enjoy coming and playing in Malaysia. When I see the crowd following and cheering for me, it gives me more energy to play,” said Siddikur, who is currently in eighth position on the Order of Merit.
A one-week training session at the TPC Sawgrass in the United States in February has been working wonders for Siddikur, who has gained extra distance in his golf shots.
“I’ve got more distance now and that has given me the confidence to play better. I’m hitting it at least 10 yards more,” added Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour.
Kiradech knows he must overcome his nerves to launch a title assault at the Maybank Malaysian Open, where he finished in tied third place in 2010.
“The field is strong and there’s pressure to be playing with these top players. It will be difficult to defeat them but it will be challenging. I feel a bit nervous but I’ll try to do my best. I always enjoy coming to Malaysia. It feels like home here,” said Kiradech, who has won once on the Asian Tour.
Title holder Manassero, ranked 64th in the world, said missing the opportunity of playing in the year’s first Major tournament will work to his advantage.
“If you come into a week like this feeling tired, it will be nearly impossible of defending your title. I think I couldn’t have competed this week if I was at the Masters. It would be so difficult to carry on especially in this weather,” said the 18-year-old, the youngest Maybank Malaysian Open winner.
“The win here was the greatest moment. It was my second victory and after your first one you think that you need another one to prove to yourself and everyone that you can do it again and again. It was also important to do it in a totally different continent and climate.”
Major winners Martin Kaymer of Germany and South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel will also feature in this week’s Maybank Malaysian Open.
By Indian Sports News Network