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Tuesday October 22, 2013 MYT 6:13:00 PM
Tuesday October 22, 2013 MYT 6:15:00 PM
by lim teik huat AND ashreena pillai
Rashid Ismail: 'I’m still injured, so I have to be careful and play smart. I won’t push too hard on par fives and play some regulation golf.'
KUALA LUMPUR: Local hope Rashid Ismail is treading with caution as he prepares to make his first appearance in the lucrative US$7mil (RM22.2mil) CIMB Classic, which begins at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
The Malaysian will be among an elite 78-man field, including multiple Major champions Phil Mickelson of the United States and Ernie Els of South Africa and current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand.
Despite struggling with a swollen tendon in his right hip, Rashid battled through the pain barrier to win the SapuraKencana National Qualifier in August to earn a spot at the CIMB Classic.
“I’m still injured, so I have to be careful and play smart. I won’t push too hard on par fives and play some regulation golf. It’s a swollen tendon on my right hip. It really hurt earlier this year. It feels like it will heal soon but I can only hope,” explained the 40-year-old.
Rashid is happy though to have earned his place on merit for the prestigious tournament.
“I feel happy to get a slot through the qualifying. I haven’t been playing in many events this year because of my injury but I hope to play well this week,” he said.
“Everybody wants a Malaysian to play well but, honestly, I just want to enjoy the game and be part of the strong field.”
Rashid is also dreaming of being paired with world No. 3 Mickelson.
“I would like to play with Phil Mickelson. I know he will outdrive me by over 50m but it doesn’t matter,” said Rashid, who is relishing the opportunity to play with some of the best golfers in the world.
“I can’t afford to play in the United States, so this event is really meaningful to me. This event gives me the opportunity to rub shoulders with the top players.
“The last time I played in such a big event was at the 2000 World Cup of Golf where David Duval and Tiger Woods won. This will be the second best moment in my life.
“I like to watch Bubba Watson and a few others like Nick Watney. This is the chance to look closely at their game, how they practise, how they think, how they control their nerves and how they react to the spectators.
“You need to counter all these situations to become a true champion.”
Tags / Keywords:
golf, Rashid Ismail, CIMB Classic, SapuraKencana National Qualifier, Phil Mickelson
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