Former Malaysian Open champion Lee Westwood has a close affinity with Malaysia, a country he used to play in as a touring professional.
PETALING JAYA: Former world number one Lee Westwood of England is optimistic of continuing his fine form at the Maybank Malaysian Open starting at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
Westwood is in high spirits after finishing seventh in last week’s US Masters in Augusta, saying the long journey and 12 hour difference has not affected him at all.
“My game’s coming along nicely. I started working with my new coach Mike Walker about six weeks ago and I’m starting to hit the ball a lot better.
“I’ve got a lot more control, I’m driving it a lot straighter and distance control is coming back. I’m hitting my iron shots a lot closer, and my confidence is building all the time,” said the 40-year-old.
A former Malaysian Open champion, having won the title in 1997, Westwood has a close affinity with Malaysia, a country he used to play in as a touring professional.
“It’s been seven years since I last played in Malaysia and it’s certainly nice to be back.” said the Englishman, who has won 12 of his 40 professional titles in Asia.
“I’d forgotten what a fun city Kuala Lumpur is and how nice the people are.
“Strangely, I remember more about 1998 than when I won in 1997. I came back as defending champion and lost in a playoff.
“I hit it in a tree with a driver off the deck. But the win was only my third as a professional, so it was important.
“I was picking up the winning habit quickly and never really got out of it. It was a good platform for me.
“I’ve had a lot of success in Asia ... I don’t really know why. Perhaps it’s the grass, or the heat, but I do tend to play well out here and I enjoy it,” added Westwood, who also cautioned about the bad weather conditions,
“You always get a lot of stop-starts in this part of the world, so you just accept that.
“It’s nice to have a morning draw tomorrow and hopefully I can get a low round under my belt and then see what the forecast is like for the next few days.”