Thursday, April 14, 2011

Schwartzel one-over in opening round

AGUSTA Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of Germany did not get off to the dream start that he had wanted, but at least he didn't fall asleep while playing one-over 73 in the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Schwartzel, starting from the 10th, made three bogies on the 11th, 13th and 16th before surviving on the return nine birdies at holes Nos 2 and 3.
His clubs, which went missing on the 26-hour journey from Augusta to Kuala Lumpur, arrived at 9pm on Wednesday night, giving him little time to get into grips.
"It was never easy today (yesterday) as I never got my swing the whole day. After lots of travel, I am just not quite prepared for this tournament, but at least I didn't fall asleep during the game," said Schwartzel.
He didn't sleep well on Wednesday night, and felt the 12-hour time chance tough to handle.
"I didn't sleep well, it was difficult to adjust to the 12-hour zone change. I struggled to focus, and the golf swing is tight and the body is not responding right now.
"But there are still 54 holes to go which means plenty of birdies to collect. At least I am not out of contention, and with three days left, the feeling might come back, and I will be back on track.
"I'm still game to hit a few good balls, and make a few good putts and challenge for the title," was Schwartzel's warning to those who feel he's out of the way.

Oh Noh! Champ shoots one over

DEFENDING champion Noh Seung-yul of South Korea fired an eagle, but his six bogies saw him one-over 73 after the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Noh, who started from the first tee, was on song as he sank the eagle on par-five No 3, but his match collapsed on the back nine.
His three birdies were on the fifth, 14th and 18th, while his bogeys were on the sixth, ninth, 11th, 12th, 16th and 17th.
The 19-year-old was on the same flight with Major champions Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa and compatriot Charl Schwartzel.
Did it make him feel nervous?
"I wasn't feeling nervous, as I felt like it was just any other tournament. There was a huge crowd following us, and it was nice to have people cheering you.
"This was my first pairing with Louis, but I have played several times with Carl last year."
He branded his eagle as lucky: "I didn't hit my driver properly, but was lucky it landed on the fairway. I used a five-wood (265 yards), for my second shot and it landed 15 feet from the hole, and then I made it count," said Noh.
Noh, who had rested for one month before this tournament to heal his injured finger, said he felt tired on the course.
"My golf shots seem fine, but I felt tired while playing. I practiced a lot the last three days, and I think I need to rest today and bounce back tomorrow," said the Korean.

Schwartzel tired, but gung-ho

US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel looked jet-lagged, rued his lost clubs, and was still trying to get over the celebrations after a magnificent week in Augusta.
But the South African believes he will be in contention, and even hopes to land the Maybank Malaysian Open title come Sunday at the KLGCC.
"Obviously, last week was such a big week and it is still so difficult to take it all in. I've been so busy with the media afterwards, and after a few hours' rest, I travelled for another 26 hours before arriving here," said Schwartzel.
"So, I have not really taken it all in yet. But whenever I enter a golf tournament, I try to play my best. And I will this week see if I can win this one as well."
He was on the same flight route as Irishman Rory McIlroy, and both arrived in Kuala Lumpur minus their golf baggage.
"I have yet to play the course (Pro-Am yesterday) as I lost my clubs in transit. But my caddy is walking the course right now (yesterday), and I should be all right tomorrow (today) as I will get used to the conditions while playing," he said.
Winning the Masters has also given Schwartzel the confidence to take on any tournament that comes his way.
"It (winning the US Masters) just gives you a lot of confidence coming into an event. If it doesn't, then there is something wrong. You are on such a high and you feel you can win anything, and that is what I will try and do this weekend."

Professional killers assemble at KLGCC

SOME of the world's best golfers will assemble at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) today, but it is anyone's guess who will hoist the Seagram Trophy at the end of the 50th edition of the Maybank Malaysian Open on Sunday.
US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, World No 1 and PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer of Germany, reigning British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Rory McIlroy, the World No 9 from Northern Ireland, are all part of the glamour line-up who will battle for the winner's cheque of US$333,330 (RM1 million) in the US$2.5 million showpiece.
Also in the fray is defending champion Noh Seung Yul of South Korea, who is determined to hold on to the title he won at the same course.
Kaymer believes the soggy conditions will make it difficult for everybody and that it would be impossible to predict the winning score.
"I don't even know the winning score of last year!" said Kaymer.
"I played a round today (yesterday) and the problem is that it's (the greens) very soft and you can play very aggressive with the approach shots.
"I played three-under, and will be happy to repeat the same tomorrow (today), but I can't predict the winning score."
Kaymer played in Malaysia in 2007 but that was when he was just another golfer trying to make the cut.
"My life has changed a little since. I played at Saujana (Golf and Country Club) and my brother was my caddy!
"It was my fourth or fifth tournament on the European Tour and I missed every cut until I played at Saujana.
"Malaysia was the first time I made the cut on the European Tour and made my first pay cheque.
"So, it (the 50th edition) is a big tournament for me as I am back here as the World No 1, and have a professional caddy.
"Life has changed since," added the lanky German.
On the home front, 22 golfers will attempt to break the Malaysian Open jinx, as no local has ever won the title since its inception in 1962.

Amateur Hisyam looking for first cut

(From left) Jeremiah Kim, Kenneth de Silva, Azman Basharudin, Hisyam Abd Majid, Gavin Kyle Green and Chan Tuck Soon will be the amateurs playing in the Maybank Malaysian Open which tees off today. — Picture by Osman Adnan

MALAYSIAN amateur Hisyam Abd Majid is looking forward to becoming a professional by making the cut and collecting his dues in the Maybank Malaysian Open which tees off today.
Hisyam, 19, will be among 22 Malaysians, six of whom are amateurs, who will be trying to make the cut for the weekend at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
"It is not an impossible target, as I have played the course and it has been kind to me. I hope to play all four rounds, and hopefully, make some money and turn pro," said Hisyam.
Among the other local professional hopefuls are Danny Chia, Iain Steel, Ben Leong, Shaaban Hussin and S. Siva Chandhran.
The Malaysian cast: 1 Danny Chia, 2 Shaaban Hussin, 3 Iain Steel, 4 Ben Leong, 5 Airil Rizman Zahari, 6 M. Sasidaran, 7 S. Sivachandran, 8 A. Sasar, 9 R. Nachimuthu, 10 Rashid Ismail, 11 Hanafiah Jamil, 12 Akmal Tarmizee, 13 Kenneth de Silva (Am), 14 Gavin Kyle Green (Am), 15 Jeremiah Kim (Am), 16 Chan Tuck Soon (Am), 17 Azman Basharudin (Am), 18 Hisyam Abd Majid (Am), 19 Khor Kheng Hwai, 20 Sukree Othman, 21 Nicholas Fung, 22 Shaifubari Muda.