Chawrasia hopes to build on current form, Jeev eyes revival

The other Indians in the field are Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, Shiv Kapur, Rahil Gangjee, Himmat Rai, Chiragh Kumar, Rashid Khan and Gaganjeet Bhullar.

The highest ranked Indian in the field is S.S.P. Chawrasia, who has had a good start to the season and finished tied fifth 10 days ago in Myanmar.   -  R.V. Moorthy

A star-studded Indian contingent, including the likes of in-form S.S.P. Chawrasia and veteran Jeev Milkha Singh, will tee off at the inaugural USD 3 million Maybank Championship Malaysia, here tomorrow.

With Anirban Lahiri busy on the PGA Tour, the highest ranked Indian in the field is Chawrasia, who has had a good start to the season and finished tied fifth 10 days ago in Myanmar.

The week before that he made the cut at Singapore Open and signed off with a 67 on last day and in January, he played the EurAsia Cup with distinction and won one of Asia’s points against a strong European team.

“I have had a good feeling this season. I began well in EurAsia Cup, where I won a point and came close in singles (against Chris Wood). At Singapore, I struggled on a couple of holes and they cost me a lot, but in Myanmar, despite the greens I played well. So, I hope I can carry on the good work,” said Chawrasia, who plays with Prom Meesaswat and David Horsey in the second group from the tenth tee tomorrow morning.

“Malaysia has been a good venue for me. I have played a lot of golf here over last 10 years in various events. I have had a few Top-10 finishes, including at KL when Anirban won last year. One year I had a Top-5 in Worldwide Selangor and another time it was a Top-10 in Johor. So, despite the humid weather, I have enjoyed it here,” said Chawrasia.

The other Indians in the field are Jeev, who first played in Malaysia nearly 20 years ago, Arjun Atwal, who has twice won co-sanctioned events in Malaysia, Shiv Kapur, Rahil Gangjee, Himmat Rai, Chiragh Kumar, Rashid Khan and Gaganjeet Bhullar.

Apart from Chawrasia another Indian, who likes Malaysia, is Jeev, who last month led Asia at the EurAsia Cup.

“I haven’t played well in my last two tournaments,” admitted Singh, who has been drawn to play with Paul McGinley and local man Airil Rizman Zahari.

“(But) I found something in Dubai. I’m feeling really confident and feel my game is coming around and that I’ll have a good year ahead. I struggled the last three years. I decided to look at some things and went back to when I was playing my best golf in 2006 and 2008 (when he was Asian Tour number one), looked at a lot of videos, the way I swung the club. I’m trying to go back to that and remember that, and I’m feeling better with my swing. I’m looking forward to this week.

“Because of the injury in my right shoulder (previously), I started doing something in my swing which wasn’t working for me. But (now) I’ve got something, which I’ve tried in Dubai in the last round. I felt really good, I hit a lot of golf shots, which felt like the way I used to hit it. It’s a matter of time when everything clicks. I’ve been working on the right stuff. Like I said, I will win this year,” said Singh.

Singh also welcomed the addition of the Maybank Championship Malaysia onto the Tours’ schedules, saying that the region was on the right path to continued growth.

“It’s fantastic for golf. Thanks to Maybank for putting on the championship. They’ve supported golf in Malaysia for years and it’s good to see a big event like this taking place. We’ve got the top players from Europe and Asia here.”

The high-voltage field includes Danny Willet, who won the Desert Classic in Dubai, World No. 21 and former Open winner, Louis Oosthuizen, who has won in Malaysia in 2012, two-ime Major winner, Martin Kaymer, Thai Legend, Thongchai Jaidee, Korean Younghan Sung, who beat Jordan Spieth to Singapore Open earlier this month and Shaun Norris, winner of Myanmar Open.