Monday, 21 April 2014 | MYT 5:36 PM
Locals need to go abroad more, says Nicholas
Malaysia’s Khor Kheng Hwai (centre) congratulated by Richard Bland of England during the first day off Maybank Malaysian Open. Kheng Hwai finished joint 47th. - filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: The 53nd edition of the Maybank Malaysian Open has just ended and the country is still waiting for a local to lift the prestigious Seagram Trophy.
England’s Lee Westwood overcame a four-hour weather delay to win his second Malaysian Open title by a seven-stroke margin on Sunday while none of the locals managed to even be in the top 20 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Nicholas Fung, Khor Kheng Hwai and amateur Gavin Green, who all finished tied on 47th, were the only three Malaysians out of 22 to have made the cut in the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Nicholas has issued a rallying call for his fellow professionals to compete more regularly on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and Asian Tour.
With the country still waiting for a first local winner of its national championship, the 23-year-old believes that more of his peers should play abroad against tougher competition to sharpen their game.
It is through playing in the ADT and the local Professional Golf of Malaysia circuits that has helped Nicholas improve.
He topped the Order of Merit in the ADT last season to earn playing rights on the Asian Tour.
“We need more Malaysians to compete with the Asian Tour, European Tour and even PGA Tour players. We have to watch how they play and learn from them. It is a good experience if we can go out and play,” he said.
“There is a different environment outside of Malaysia because the golf courses are designed differently.
“It’s good for us to go out and play more. When we do that and come back to Malaysia, it will be a lot easier to play here.
“Last year, only two Malaysians made the cut ... this year, we had three. Hopefully, we can have more in the coming years. I have played with a lot of Malaysians and they can play well.
“Maybe they need to go out and play more with the top Asian Tour players to learn and gain more experience.”
The slightly-built Nicholas achieved a personal milestone by making his first cut in the Malaysian Open in his seventh attempt.
“I have no complaints. This is the first time I’ve made the cut ... so, I’m happy with that. I’m looking forward to next year.
“I’m confident I can play better because of my performance this week,” said the Sabahan, who will feature in the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters starting this Thursday.