Thursday, October 31, 2013

Off to Kakamigahara with mixed crew..

FOUR former national players received a life-line to play in  the Third Asian Champions Trophy in Kakamigahara, Japan,  from Saturday.
    Former skipper Madzli Ikmar, 34, quit after the London  Olympics Qualifier in Dublin, but coach Paul Revington  recalled him for the Japan mission.
   Also recalled were Megat Azrafiq, Ahmad Kazamirul, and  Engku Malik. Kazamirul was also out in the cold for a long  period, before being recalled for the recent International  Hockey 9s in Australia, while the other two players have been  out of action for more than 18 months.
    The men’s team will have defending champions Pakistan,  India, Malaysia, Japan, China and Oman; while the women’s  tournament will be made up of Japan, India, Malaysia and  China.
    Malaysia won bronze medals in the last two editions in  Ordos, China, in 2011 and Doha last year.
    “Even though we will be fielding a mixed side, the aim is to  play in the final and better our previous outings,” said team  manager George Koshy.
    The only fresh face is Amirullah Zainol, 22, who will be  making his senior team debut.
    India, who won the title in Ordos, will be fielding 13 junior  world cup players who recently won gold in the Sultan of  Johor Cup.
     Hockey India secretary general Dr Narinder Batra said:  “With the Indian Junior team preparing for the forthcoming  Junior World Cup in New Delhi. The Asian Champions Trophy  gives us an opportunity to allow our junior players to  showcase their skills and gain experience in the international  environment.
   “Out of the 18 players selected for the Asian Champions  Trophy 13 were part of the team which won the Sultan of  Johor Cup in Malaysia.”
    India are the runners-up as they lost to Pakistan 4-5 in  2012. In 2011, India won gold when they beat Pakistan 4-2 in   penalty shoot-out.
    Malaysia: Goalkeepers: S. Kumar, Khairulnizam Ibrahim.
    Defenders: Ahmad Kazamirul, Azlan Misron, Engku Abdul  Malik, Megat Azrafiq, Madzli Ikmar, Razie Rahim.
   Midfielders: Azreen Rizal, Sukri Mutalib, Marhan Jalil,  Nabil Fiqri, Ramadan Rosli.
   Forwards: Faizal Saari, Ismail Abu, Izwan Firdaus, Amir ullah Zainol, Azammi Adabi.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Moore lands RM4 million jackpot

LAS VEGAS-based Ryan Moore pocketed an RM4 million  jackpot when beat countryman Gary Woodland with a  magical birdie on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff in  the CIMB Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club  Monday.
    The American’s ended tied on 14-under 274 on Sunday,  and the playoff was postponed to Monday after fading light  made play impossible.
    Moore, 30, hit an exquisite eight iron approach shot to  within three feet of the par five 18th hole at the West Course  to claim his third PGA Tour title.
    He also received playing rights on the PGA Tour for  essentially the next three years, a place at the Masters  Tournament next April plus a host of other invitations.
      Woodland, who had missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole  on Sunday evening for the victory, missed the green in  regulation and then left his fourth shot short of the hole to  settle for the runner-up place.
    “Playing a play-off with someone like Gary, I know I don't  want it to last very long,” said a delighted Moore, who won  the top cheque in what is Asia’s first official FedExCup  event.
     “I had a great opportunity there on 18 with my third shot,  and it was just an absolute perfect number. It was 158 yards,  a little bit back up the hill, so for me that was just a perfect  slightly choked down full eight iron.
     “Fortunately it was a back right pin, too, and I like to hit a  little cut. It was coincidentally the exact shot I was working on  the range … with my nine iron I was actually as I didn't hit my  lay up quite as far as I had planned on. I was planning on  having a nine iron in and I had the eight iron, but it's  essentially the exact shame shot, and fortunately I hit it right  next to the hole.”
    The Las Vegas-based Moore said he was pumped up for the  play-off after making a crucial par save on the 72nd hole in  near-darkness on Sunday after a wonderful approach shot as  well.
     “Sleeping was not a matter of the fact that I had to come  back and play a play-off this morning and try and win a  million dollars.
    “It was the fact that I was a little bit jacked up because I just  made an amazing up and down on the 18th hole to just tie and  even get into it.
    “So I just had that little bit of adrenaline, so it was more  getting that out of the system than nerves for this morning,”  said Moore, who is ranked 31st in the world.
     Woodland, who was chasing his third PGA Tour title, was  disappointed he came up short against Moore after both  players ended regulation play on 14-under.
     “It was tough. It was a long hole, and Ryan hit a great shot  in there and obviously made a good birdie. But I thought I hit  a pretty good shot on the third, just obviously coming out of  the rough, I would have like to have been in the fairway, came  out of the rough and came up a little short,” said Wood land.
    He said he would not have hit his birdie putt any differently  on the 72nd hole during the final round which would have  sealed victory for him.
     “I'd like to make that putt. I hit it where I wanted to, it just  broke more. I can see it now, it was a little lighter out right  now, I can see it broke a little more, but it is what it is. I hit a  good putt, and it just didn't go in,” said the 29-year-old.
     One of the longest hitters on Tour, Woodland took the safety  first approach in the play-off with a long iron off the tee but  pushed his second shot into the rough. From there, he  struggled home as Moore cruised to victory.
      “I didn't think I could cover the bunkers this morning,  especially where that pin was. If the pin was up front, we  probably would have been a little more aggressive, but with  the pin in the back I didn't want to leave it short of the bunker  and have a tough third shot.  We decided to lay up and tried to  hit a good wedge in there,” he said.
    “I really enjoyed my time here. Obviously I played pretty  well, just came up one shot short.  All in all it was a great  week, something to build on, and look forward to coming  back.”

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thai-phoon Kiradech behind US players...

AMERICANS Chris Stroud and Ryan Moore claimed a slim one-stroke lead going into the final round of the CIMB
Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, but hot on their heels is Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
    Stroud returned four-under 68, while Moore had three-under 69 for combined totals of 12-under 204 for the joint-
   But Kiradech and United States golfer Gary Woodland, who had three-under 69 and five-under 67 for a three-day

combined total of 11-under 205 are within striking distance for a big payout in the RM22 million rich tournament.
   And it looks like its going to be anybody's title today, as Jerry Kelly of the United States is
alone at 10-under, while three other players are also a close nine-under.
   The winner today will receive a handsome cheque of US$1.26 million, playing rights on the PGA Tour for

essentially the next three years, a place at the Masters Tournament next April plus a host of other invitations.
    Moore was disappointed with a poor stretch on the back nine where he dropped four shots over five holes after

turning in 31.
    “It was almost two different days out there. I really got going, really hot early, making a lot of putts and making a

lot of birdies.  And then just kind of hit a pretty rough stretch there in the middle,” said Moore.
    “I've obviously been playing some pretty good golf this week. It's been a little up and down these last couple

days, but I have enough positives that I've just got to kind of keep doing exactly what I'm doing.”
    Stroud hit four birdies in a row from the fifth hole to launch himself into contention on a day when the leaders

came back into the field through dropped shots on the more challenging back nine on the West course.
   “I really hung in there, gave myself a lot of good looks and I got on a good tear there. There's a lot of wedges, but

I'll tell you what, if you do not hit a fairway, you're going to struggle to make par, and that's really my focus,” he
    Kiradech, the current Asian Tour number one, ended his game with an anxious wait at the end of his round to

review television footages of an incident at the 13th hole when his ball moved.
   But after being cleared by the rules officials, the talented 24-year-old will now shoot for his biggest career victory

yet, and also his second title on the West course after winning the Malaysian Open here in March.
     “I feel really pleased with the way I'm playing.  It was a good start, three days in a row on the front nine, but

struggling a bit on the back. Three rounds, kind of mixed golf on the back nine.  But I'm working on my putting a lot
from yesterday, and that helped. I’m happy with three under, and just a good chance which I'll try to catch up in the
final round,” said Kiradech, who made three birdies and an eagle in his opening 10 holes before dropping a double
bogey on 14.
    “I’m just going to try to play my game, stick to my game plan and just play on my form,” said Kiradech. “I don't

want to look at the leaders too much, so if you look at the score, maybe the results are so tough to make the score.
Just try to focus, play and enjoy the final round.
    “I don't want to put a lot of pressure to me. Like I said, I just want to play  good golf, have fun.”
   It wasn’t quite a fun finish when Kiradech was asked to review the incident on the 13th. He later explained: “I had

my mark on the ball, and I put the ball always in the centre. When I walked to the ball, I only looked at the pin. First
time I looked back at the ball, I could see my marker not being on the centre. Normally it is, and I'm sure my ball is
moving.  I walk in and just walk out and called the rules (official), and I'm really sure that I haven't touched the club
before the ball moved. There was no penalty,” said Kiradech, who will play in the penultimate group in the final
      Overnight leader Keegan Bradley struggled to a 76 to fall three shots off the pace while world number three Phil

Mickelson shot his week’s best round to date with a 68 to lie five behind the leaders alongside South Korea’s K.J. Choi in equal 11th place.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bradley takes over CIMB Classic reigns..

By Jugjet Singh

AMERICAN Keegan Bradley had baseball on his mind when he grabbed the lead at the RM22 million CIMB Classic
when he posted a second round score of six-under 66 for a two round total of 13-under 131 at the Kuala Lumpur
Golf and Country Club yesterday.
   Lying second after the opening round, he overtook overnight leader Ryan Moore, also from the United States by a

slim four shot lead.
    Moore, who had a super nine-under 63 course record opening round, could only manage an even par, for a 135

total -- but it was good enough for the second spot.
   Tied-third was Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who shot a three-under 69 for an eight-under 136 two-round total.

He shared the spot with American Chris Stroud, who also had a three-under 69 yesterday.
    Bradley, a three-time PGA Tour winner, has 14 birdies and only has one bogey to show after 36 holes, at the Par

Four 13th hole yesterday.
   "These two rounds were really fun and I played some of the best golf after a long time. So these have been a

couple of really fun days and obviously, I'm in a great spot here with two more rounds to go," said Bradley.
    And what was on his mind as he posted six burdies while many of the top players in the field fell apart?
   "Well, I was also keeping abreast of the World Series where my favourite team Boston Red Sox were playing at

about the same time as me. My girlfriend, Jullian, is a big Red Sox fan too and she was giving me updates as best
as she could.
   "It is tough that we did not get to watch the World Series, even though I know there will be a replay later today

(yesterday), but its more fun knowing what's going on live, in the end I heard they losy 4-2," said Bradley.
   "On Thursday when I shot seven-under, the Red Sox won and I got a bunch of texts from some of the guys that

play and they were all excited. And I also know that my mom back home was also flipping (TV) back and forth
watching baseball and golf!," said the CIMB Classic leader.
     Back to golf, Bradley said the humidity does not bother him, as he lives in the same conditions back home.
    "It is very hot here, but I love in Florida and it humid in summertime. Here it is hotter for sure, but I'm quite used

to it.
    "Today (yesterday) I was in control of my golf so that is really a good sign going into the weekend. I'm very

excited with the way I'm hitting the ball, and when I'm hitting like this, normally I'm going to be right in there
contending for the title, and that could be the case here," said Bradley.
    Moore, making his third consecutive CIMB Classic appearance, finished tied-fifth in 2010, and withdrew during

the final round in 2011.
     "Well obviously It wasn't the round I was looking for. But amazingly, I actually controlled the ball really well but

could not make the putts that I wanted. I was happy with my ball striking, but just didn't bury those 8 to 12 footers,
which was my range on the greens today (yesterday)," said Moore.
    But he is still in contention going into the weekend.
    "It's hard sometimes when you feel you've hit a really low score, but I've got to look at the positive side that I'm

closest to the leader. Going to sleep early and waking up like 4am to go get a nive workout might just make my day
better in the third round," said Moore.

Scores after round 2 of the 2013 CIMB Classic being played at the par 72, 6924 Yards Kuala Lumpur GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
131 - Keegan Bradley (USA) 65-66.
135 - Ryan Moore (USA) 63-72.
136 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 67-69, Chris Stroud (USA) 67-69.
137 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 66-71, Marc Leishman (AUS) 72-65.
138 - Martin Laird (SCO) 68-70, Harris English (USA) 71-67, Chris Kirk (USA) 67-71, Gary Woodland (USA) 68-70, Stewart Cink (USA) 70-68, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 70-68.
139 - Bill Haas (USA) 72-67, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 70-69, K.J. Choi (KOR) 68-71, Graham DeLaet (CAN) 72-67, Shiv Kapur (IND) 69-70.
140 - Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 73-67, Josh Teater (USA) 74-66, Jerry Kelly (USA) 71-69, Jeff Overton (USA) 73-67, Kyle Stanley (USA) 73-67, Kevin Stadler (USA) 71-69, Nicholas Thompson (USA) 69-71.
141 - Charles Howell III (USA) 69-72, Phil Mickelson (USA) 71-70, Boo Weekley (USA) 67-74, Tim Clark (RSA) 72-69, Charley Hoffman (USA) 69-72, Billy Horschel (USA) 72-69, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 67-74, Camilo Villegas (COL) 70-71.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Moore tears KLGCC apart with nine-under 63

By Jugjet Singh

RYAN Moore of the Unites states tore the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) greens to pieces when he returned a fiery nine-under 63 to lead the US$7million CIMB Classic.
   It was a course record at the KLGCC West Course, as the previous low score was a 62 achieved by Raphael Jacquelin from France in the Third Round of the 2006 Malaysian Open, but the course has undergone major renovation since.
   His round had 10 birdies, and the blemish was a sloe bogey at the Par Four No 1, his starting hole.
  "This is my third (CIMB) tournament and starting with a nine-under is any golfers dream, and I hope to carry the momentum into the weekend play," said Moore.
   He came into the tournament after a tied-ninth spot in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last weekend, and said it helped keep him focussed.
   "It was a good finish last weekend, and after finishing in the top-10 bracket, I felt good coming to Malaysia. However, I only got a chance to practice during the Pro-Am and that was an excellent break because this is quite a difficult course and one needs to play at least once here to get used to it," said Moore.
   His previous two CIMB Classic tournaments were at the Mines Golf and Coutry Club, which Moore said was much easier to read.
   "Personally, is you ask me to compare between the Mines and the KLGCC, it is more difficult here as the fairways are narrow and the roughs very much thicker. And some of the downhill tee shots are really difficult to judge, while the bunkers are placed in positions that will trap you if you are not focussed," said Moore.
   Even with such challenging conditions, the American still managed to shoot a low score and will be the man to beat during the weekend play.
    Second and two strokes adrift at seven-under 65 was another American Keegan Bradley, while third was Spaniard Sergio Garcia at six-under 66.
   Bradley said it was one of his better rounds of the year, and he loves playing at this challenging course.
    "I had a really great day, as I was super relaxed from the start.  Really one of my best rounds of the year after I put my clubs away for a few days. But I still have a lot of work to do this season, as I have set a lot of goals that I want to accomplish," said Bradley.
    It was his first time in Malaysia: "And I really like it here in Malaysia, and this course especially. Being here for the first time, made the schedule a little different, but Im settling in fast," said the American.
    And after a seven-under, he plans to keep the momentum going with more consistent play.
   "This course is very difficult because the rough is high, the greens are really firm but I hit the fairways most of the time and that made the difference.
    "I think the guy that hits the most fairways is going to win this tournament, and thats what I will aim for in the remaining rounds," said Bradley.

   Selected 1st Rd Scores:
Scores after round 1 of the 2013 CIMB Classic being played at the par 72, 6924 Yards Kuala Lumpur GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
63 - Ryan Moore (USA).
65 - Keegan Bradley (USA).
66 - Sergio Garcia (ESP).
67 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Boo Weekley (USA), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Chris Kirk (USA), Chris Stroud (USA).
68 - Gary Woodland (USA), K.J. Choi (USA), Martin Laird (SCO).
69 - Charley Hoffman (USA), Nicholas Thompson (USA), Shiv Kapur (IND), Charles Howell III (USA).
70 - Stewart Cink (USA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Camilo Villegas (COL), Richard H. Lee (USA), Wade Ormsby (AUS).
71 - Jerry Kelly (USA), John Huh (USA), Lucas Glover (USA), Russell Henley (USA), Kevin Stadler (USA), D.A. Points (USA), Phil Mickelson (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA), Harris English (USA).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Valuable lessons in India defeat..

Close shave for team manager Mirnawan Nawawi in New Delhi..

THE national juniors had a fantastic acclimatation practice in the three-test series against India at the World Cup
venue, and lost narowly 2-1 to the potential medallists at the Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi on Monday night.
   Coach K. Dharmaraj's side lost all three matches, but there was improvement in every department in the 4-2, 4-3

and then the one-goal defeat in the last match.
   The team are in their final phase of preparations for the World Cup, on Dec 6-15, where they are grouped with

England, New Zealand and South Africa in Group D.
   India, Netherlands, South Korea and Canada are in Group C, and the hosts are potential cross-over opponents in

the quarter-finals stage.
   "In the last match, the boys did not conceede any penalty corners, and  won five instead. But again, poor shooting

in the semi-circle was the bane, while India were sharp with the handful of chances that came their way," said team
manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
   The venue acclimation provided the players an opportunity to get used to the pitch lighting, as well as the bouncy

condition of the pitch.
   "The ball bounces differently on Pitch I, and also Pitch II, and the players finally got adjusted to the conditions in

the third test, but a late surge from India denied Malaysia a well-deserved draw. Also, the lighting is very different
from what we have in Malaysia, especially when the players look up to stop overhead balls. But after three matches,
the players now know what to expect when they play there again during the World Cup," said Mirnawan.
     Ramandeep Singh gave India the lead in the 18th minute, but Haziq Samsol scored a field goal to equalise in the

65th minute. However, Malak Singh scored the winner for his side in the 67th minute.
   India fielded the Sultan of Johor Cup gold medal side, with only three changes. Malaysia were soundly beaten 3-0

then, but have shown improvement in the three-test series.
    There was some good play by the Malaysian side, only to lose out on poor shooting. An example to moot was in

the second half when Fitri Shaari penetrate the middle of the field and beat three Indian defenders, after which he
released the ball to Shahril Saabah whose deflection was just inches wide.
     "A few decisions of the umpire were suspect especially in the semi-circle, however with the video referral

available during the World Cup, that would no longer be an issue," said Mirnawan.
    "Overall it was the best performance as Malaysian denied India any penalty coorners in 70 minutes, and the only

difference between both sides was that the Indian players are more clinical the semi circle, as well as a superb
display by their goalkeeper to deny Malaysia's five penalty corner attempts," said Mirnawan.
     There was a penalty shoot-out practice after the match, which India won 3-1.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dharma's boys close India gap..

MALAYSIAN juniors improved yet again in the second test against India, when they lost 4-3 at the Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday night.
    The first test saw then go down 4-2, and coach K. Dharmaraj’s boys lost out on penalty corner defending in the second test.
    Malaysia are in New Delhi to not only get a feel of the World Cup venue, from Dec 6-15, but also spar against their possible quarter-finals opponent.
    India, the Sultan of Johor Cup champions after they beat Malaysia 3-0 at the Taman Daya Stadium, are in the cross-over group for Malaysia in the World Cup.
   The other teams which Malaysia might meet in the last eight are The Netherlands, South Korea and Canada -- who make up Group C.
    Malaysia are in Group D with England, New Zealand and South Africa.
    “There was more improvement in our side, but two matters are still a bother. One is penalty corner defending, as India scored two, while the second is to sharpen the forwards finishing.
    “And we are looking to tighten the two areas in our last test today,” said Dharmaraj.
     Malaysia had five penalty corners and scored two, while India only had three and converted two.
    Meor Azuan scored a field goal in the 19th minute, while
Zulhairi Hashim scored off penalty corner flicks in the 23rd and 61st minutes.
   The India goals were scored by Affan Yousuf (35th), Gurjinder Singh (40th), Sukhmanjit Singh (47th) and Mandeep Singh (49th).
     Malaysia took a 2-0 lead, but gave India the break just as the half-time hooter blew: “In the 31st min Syamin Yusof received a green card and India took the imbalance opportunity to narrow the gap. It resulted from a miss-trap by Shazril Irwan at the top of the semi-circle, and Affan Yousuf collected the ball and coolly slotted home.
    “That is the kind of play which we cant’ afford in the World Cup, and I will drill it into my players mind,” said Dharmaraj.
    And a case of blunt strikes was Syamin Yusof, who had a chance to level the score in 68th mins with only the India goalkeeper to beat but yet again, he shot wide.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Finally, a win for Malaysia...

THE Malaysian men’s hockey team finally won a match in the International Super Series Hockey 9s at the Perth Hockey  Stadium in Australia, when they edged Pakistan 2-1 to finish third.
   Azlan Misron (17th) and Izwan Firdaus (26th) scored while the Pakistan goal was delivered by Muhammad Arsian (29th).
   In the pool stages, the Malaysian men lost 5-3 to Pakistan, lost 8-0 to Australia, and lost 3-0 to Argentina.
   The women, however, finish last in the four-team tournament and they were whipped 8-0 by Australia, 10-1 by Argentina and 4-1 by Canada. In the placing match yesterday, they again lost to Canada 3-1.
   Australia became the men’s and women’s champions when they beat Argentina 9-4, and also Argentina 3-0 respectively.
   The Malaysian men are making their debut in the tournament, which has a totally different format than regular  hockey.
    Teams are only allowed to field nine players, instead of 11,  the goalpost is wider, and the match is played in 20-minute  halves instead of the usual 35 minutes.
    Malaysian coach Paul Revington said he could feel the result coming, before the match started, after going through a tough week adjusting to the Hockey 9s format.
   “With the group of players that we have assembled in Perth, obviously we had hoped for more wins from game one to game four.
    “There had to be a level of improvement and while we’re improving we still wanted to win games and I think today (classification) we put certain ingredients together and that resulted in our win.”
    Revington felt the Hockey 9s format provided important benefits for the growth of the Malaysian side.
    “There is more space versus an 11-a-side game which means you need to organise more, you need to run more and you need to work more as a group.
    “Those ingredients is with what we’re trying to do for Malaysian hockey while building a bigger pool of training squad. This tournament has been very good for us,” said Revington on the Australian Hockey Federation website.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Valuable lessons in defeat for Dharmaraj boys..

MALAYSIAN juniors lost 4-2 to World Cup hosts India at the Mejar Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in New Delhi on Friday night, but there was an overall improvement in their approach and attitude.
   The juniors, in Group D with New Zealand, South Africa and England, are on a three-match tour of India to familiarise themselves with the World Cup venue, which will see 16 teams battle from Dec 6-15.
    According to team manager Mirnawan Nawawi, there was vast improvement from the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup, where Malaysia were beaten 3-0 by India.
    “Overall, it was a fantastic opportunity for us not only to get a feel of the World Cup venue, but also spar with India who might just be our opponents if we make the quarter-finals,” said Mirnawan.
    The other likely last-eight opponents, from Group C, are the Netherlands. Also in Group C are South Korea and Canada.
    India fielded 90 per cent of the players who won gold in in the Sultan of Johor Cup and took a 3-0 lead off Gurjinder Singh (second minute), Talwinder Singh (11th) and Amir Khan (35th).
    Malaysia narrowed the gap off Shahril Saabah (40th) before India nailed their fourth off Gurjinder (45th).
    The second Malaysian goal, also off a penalty corner attempt, was scored by Zulhairi Hashim in the 51st minute.
     “The players struggled to get used to the field conditions as it was slippery and a little bumpy. The players controlled the match well but India were more deadly in the semi-circle.
    “And after India took the early lead, off their first penalty corner, Syamin Yusof and Rashid Baharom created very good chances to equalise in 10th and 18th minutes but their shots were well saved by the Indian goalkeeper,” said Mirnawan.
    The juniors will play their second match today, and wrap-up the series on Monday.

Argentina 3 Malaysia 0

Super 9s Australia: Malaysian men lost 3-0 to Argentina while the women lost 4-1 to Canada.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Malaysian men go 8-0 Down Under

AUSTRALIA stopped short of scoring their ninth, in their 8-0 drubbing of the Malaysian men in the International Super Series Hockey 9s at the Perth Hockey  Stadium in Australia yesterday.
   The Malaysian women were no better, as they were hammered 10-1 by Argentina, with Siti Noor Amarina scoring the consolation off a 29th minute penalty corner.
   And in the first match on Thursday, the Malaysian men took the lead but lost 5-3 to Pakistan, while the Malaysian women were whipped 8-0 by Australia.
    Today, the Malaysian men wrap up their pool fixtures against Argentina, while the women play Canada.
   The Malaysian men are making their debut in the tournament, which has a totally different format than regular  hockey.
    Teams are only allowed to field nine players, instead of 11,  the goalpost is wider, and the match is played in 20-minute  halves instead of the usual 35 minutes.
    On Thursday, it was only 20 seconds into the match, when Nabil Fiqri  deflected in the lead, but they could not maintain the fast  pace and precision passing needed in the 9s format. The  other Malaysian goals were scored by Azlan Misron and  Sharun Nabil.
    Coach Paul Revington picked a motley crew, and fielded  some players who have not seen action in any tournament  this year, to give them a fighting chance to make the grade for  the 2014 World Cup training side.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ek minit... Pitch will be ready..

THE Malaysian juniors will take on India in a three-test series starting Friday at the Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in New Delhi.
   And while Malaysia are still in the midst of finalising their squad, the Dhyan Chand Stadium is also still undergoing maintenance work to make it match-fit.
   “We trained at the second pitch in the morning, and it was in good condition, however, from my observation, pitch one looked a little bumpy and dirty,” said Malaysian team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
    Two players were included for the tour, while two from the Sultan of Johor Cup were rested.
    Firhan Ashaari, injured, and Muhammad Azwar will be left behind, while Dangerous Lee and Joel Samuel van Huizen will be tested at the test series.
   The three matches will be played Friday, on Sunday and Monday.
   “However, when we spoke to the stadium management, they did say that maintenance work will start soon, and they will wash the pitch and make it match-fit in no time,” said Mirnawan.
    Malaysia are in Group D of the Junior World Cup with England, New Zealand and South Africa. And in the last-eight cross-over, if Malaysia finish among the top-two in their group, they are likely to meet either Netherlands or hosts India.
    Malaysia last played India in the Sultan of Johor Cup, and drew 3-3 in the pool, and then lost 3-0 in the final.
   “We might just meet India in the crossover (quarter-finals) and that is why these three matches are very important to our preparations.
    “We also need to test the pitch, especially for penalty corner variations, and its better to get used to it now, than to arrive for the tournament and then find its conditions not suitable for our penalty corner flickers during the first match,” said Mirnawan.
    Chief coach K. Dharmaraj will name his final squad by Nov 18 and the team will leave for the Junior World Cup on Dec 1.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Off to test Major Dhyan Chand...

THE national juniors will get a chance to play at the Junior World Cup venue when they head for New Delhi today for a three-test series with the hosts.
    The series will be played at the Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium, which is the venue for the Junior World Cup on Dec 6-15.
    The three tests will be played on Oct 18, 20 and 21, and coach K. Dharmaraj will make two changes from his silver winning Sultan of Johor Cup side.
    Firhan Ashaari, injured, and Muhammad Azwar will be left behind, while Dangerous Lee and Joel Samuel van Huizen will be tested at the test series.
    “Even though we received a cold shoulder from the India coach (South African Gregg Clark) regarding the status of the team which will play against us in the three tests, I am still happy with the chance to play at the World Cup venue as it will give my players a feel of the artificial pitch.
    “This will be really beneficial for the penalty corner battery, as the flicker, stopper and pusher will know ehat to expect from the Dyan Chand artificial pitch,” said Dharmaraj.
    India are expected to send their junior squad to the Asian Champions Trophy in Kakamigahara, Japan, on Nov 2-10 and might field a mixed side for the tests against Malaysia.
    “Since India juniors are in training now for the Asian Champions Trophy, India coach Gregg is unlikely to field his strongest side against Malaysia as we might play them in the quarter-finals of the World Cup,” said Dharmaraj.
    Malaysia are in Group D of the Junior World Cup with England, New Zealand and South Africa. And in the last-eight cross-over, if Malaysia finish among the top-two in their group, they are likely to meet either Netherlands or hosts India.
    Dharmaraj will name his final squad by Nov 18 and the team will leave for the Junior World Cup on Dec 1.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lexi makes a cool US300,000..

By Jugjet Singh

LEXI Thompson of the United States upstaged an illustrious field to lay her hands of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
title with a super four stroke victory at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club yesterday,
   The 18-year-old lanky golfer only had two-under 69 in the final round, but her hard work in the earlier three rounds

saw her win with a whopping 19-under 265 total for a purse of US300,000.
  Coming in a distant second was Feng Shenshen of China who had a final round of four-under 67, for a total of 15-

under 269 and pocketed US186,577. Her blemish free round had birdies on the first, sixth, 16th and 18th.
  Lexi is no stranger to pulling of surprises, as in 2011 and only 16-years-old, she won the Navistar Classic LPGA

event as a non-member. She turned pro in 2010.
   So, officially, the LPGA Malaysia is her first victory as a card-carrying member.
   She also set a record for winning score at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with 19-under-par 265. Previous best

was 15-unders set by South Koreans' Park Inbee (2012) and Choi Na Yeon (2011).
   In a nutshell, this year she played in 19 events, made 16 cuts, won one, and had five top-10s for an earning of
   "Words can't describe my feeling now, as walking up the 18th tee and knowing that I had already won the title was

really sweet. I worked hard on my short game over the year and Im really happy with my improvement, and its me to
keeep on trying to improve and win more tournaments.
   "It took me a long time (two years) to win my second title, but it is really special as this tournament, which is one

of the best run around, and with the best players in the fray, this one is really special," said Lexi.
   And what is she going to do witht the money?
   "I think I will go shopping for a new car, and the Skyline (Nissan GTR) I saw at the KLGCC parking lot looks like a

good buy," said the American.
   Shenshen summed up the feeling of the field, when she declared that finishing second behind such a young

player has made the entire field look like a bunch oldis.
   "Lexi is only 18 and looking at her swing for the last four days, without a hint of being tired, has made me and the

others look like a bunch of oldies," said the China ace who is only 24 herself.
    Shenshen had a final round of four-under 67, for a final total of 15-under 269. Her blemish free round had birdies

on the first, sixth, 16th and 18th.
   But seriously, said Shenshen, the win is going to open the door wider to more teenagers from the United States to

turn pro at an earlier age.
   "On the brigh side, Lexi's win will inspire more youth to turn pro, especially in the United States. And this only

means that the 'older' players need to work harder if they want to win tournaments," said Shenshen.
    No stranger to victories, she entered the tournament with a win in the Reignwood LPGA Classic, and has 28 top-

ten with a total earning of more than US$3million.
impeccable English, she moved to the US in 2007 to enhance her golfing career.
    "Finishing 19 under in this tournament is no easy feat, and even though many players here had more experience

than Lexi, they just could not match her drive, and her putting is simply amazing.
    "But I also enjoyed myself here in Malaysia, as the food was delicious, and the people and shopping really good.

I always enjoy myself here in Kuala Lumpur as it is a nice city," said Shenshen.
    And on the LPGA site, she listed one of the five things that she would like to do is 'meet Yao Ming and teach him golf'.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lexi the Pink Panther...

EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Lexi Thompson's putter was on fire on a cloudy evening when she grabbed the lead with a
five-under 66 for a 17-under 196 in the LPGA Sime Darby Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club
    The United States' teenager dethroned two-round leader Lee II Hee, who is now three strokes adrift, after the

South Korean returned only a one-under 70 for a 14-under 199 total.
    II Hee cut her own lead, when she had two bogies and three birdies when push-came-to-shove.
    And tied-third were Suzann Petersen of Norway and Feng Shenshen of China, who had 11-under 202 totals.
    "I played with some great players today (yesterday with Shenshen and II He) but there was no pressure at all as I

played my own game and kept the focus on the greens," was her simple answer to a super day at the office.
   Pink Panther would have been at home at the KLGCC yesterday, as all he golfers wore pink to support breast

cancer awareness day with the motto -- Breast Friend's For Ever (BFF).
    And Lexi was as smooth as a panther, as she tipped-toed herself to the top of the leaderboard with a bogey free

round of five birdies on the fourth, sixth, seventh, 10th and 13th.
    "The pin placements were definately much more difficult than the previous two rounds as they placed it right at

the edges and one had to shoot the centre of greens to avoid run-offs.
   "And so I played safe on many of the greens and tried for birdies where possible. I expect the same in the final

round, and will have to be cautious as well as brave as I know there are some really great players out there who
would shoot low scores to try and lay their hands on the title," said the teenager.
    Il He was just glad that that her bad round did not come in the final day.
    "Every golfer knows that there is bound to be one bad day, and I am just glad that mine was today (yesterday)

and I can still recover my game in the next round.
    She started with a bogey on the par four second, even though it was a three-foot putt for par.
    "That was really frustrating as I think I tried too hard and even from three feet away, the ball just swayed. That

was complimented with a last-hole birdie which made my day going into the final.
    "I enjoyed most of the holes yesterday, and I aim to enjoy the entire course tomorrow (today) and have some fun

out there," said II He.
    China's top golfer Shenshen is another lady who aims to have fun in the final round: "I hit one-under only, but I'm

still happy as its not a bad score considering the difficult pin positions, and also windy conditions out there. The
one stroke is still keeping me with a chance in the final and that makes it a happy outing," said the portly Chinese.
    Defending champion Park Inbee of South Korea returned a two-under 69 and is tied 28th with a three-under 210 score.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Still IIhee..

SOUTH Korean Lee Ilhee maintained her charge in the Sime Darby LPGA Malayaia when she posted a six-under 65 second round for a 13-under 129 lead at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and country club yesterday.
   And the fans are wondering is Korea is going to produce the fourth winner at the KLGCC after Kang Jimin 9-under 204 (2010), Choi Na Yeon 15-under 269 (2011) and Park Inbee also 15-under 269, lifted three consecutive titles at the KLGCC.
   IIhee, who has a seven under first round, is already 13-under and looks like she is in love with the course.
   She again sank seven birdies on the first, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, 11th and 13th and her only blemish was on the 16th.
   "As I said after the first round, my target in this tournament is to shoot three-under in every round. On Thursday I did seven, and today (yesterday) six-under but it still does not change my taget of  three-under for the remaining rounds. We will see how it goes," was IIhee's modest reply of her leading the stellar pack.
   Not one to say much, IIhee loves uh-huh, yeah and fine for answers to most questions, but did say that her putter was the one that has been saving birdies for her.
   "Yeah, he grain is very difficult here on the  greens, so reading the greens are very difficult. But yeah, putting was good and the iron shots were also good for me."
   And on her lone bogey on the 16th: "I pulled a driver, so I chipped out. It was OK, but I pushed the third shot," said IIhee.
   Also alone on the second spot and just one stroke adrift is Lexi Thompson of the United States, who had a marvellous eight-under 63, for a 12-under 130 total.
   However, her 63 was shattered by Amy Young of South Korea, who played a par-71 first round, but went nine-under 62 yesterday for a 134 total to be tied sixth.
   Shanshan Fang of China is also alone on third, after she made six-under 65 for a 10-under 132 total. The Chinese stole the thunder when she watched a monitor lizzard (on television at the press room) crawling around the KLGCC greens.
   "Oh! my god is that an alligator?" and when someone corrected her, she was at her best again.
   "Oh, but do they like go up and charge and grab at people?"
    Another explanation was made, and the China star was again at home with the course.
   "Well it turned out to be kind of an interesting day, because I was again paired with IK (Kim, of South Korea), and when I saw her caddy Johnny this morning (yesterday) I told him lets meet at 10-under so we can play together again and now we do have a chance to play together for the third time in a row in the third round," said Shanshan.
    IK Kim is tied fourth on 9-under 133.
    However, it was not a great day for World No 1 and defending champion Park Inbee of South Korea who ended tied 39th after managing only a par-71 for a one-under 141 total.
   It was also a bad day at office for World No 2 Suzann Pettersen of Sweden, who returned a three-under 68 for a seven-under 135 which left her adrift at tied-eighth.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ilhee Lee leads SimeDarby LPGA

By Jugjet Singh

ILHEE LEE of South Korea grabbed the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) by its horns when she returned seven under par 64 to lead after day one of the LPGA Malaysian Sime Darby yesterday.
   It was hot and humid, but the Korean belle was even hotter starting on the first hole when she avoided the bogies, and picked up birdies on the first, seventh, ninth, 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th.
   And she was only trying to play a three-under game: "My goal coming into this tournament was to play three-under ever day, and looks like I overdid myself with seven."
    The Korean finished joint-16th last year, and is no stranger to the course.
    "Now that I have the lead, and also overdid my target for each day, I feel much more relaxed and it might just turn out to be a wondeful tournament for me if I keep up the momentum," said Ilhee.
   Brittany Lang of the United States was heading for a tie with the leader, but bogied  the last hole to finish six-under 65.
    The lanky lady started on the 10th tee by sinking four birdies in a row, and then nailed another three on the 15th, 16th and first. The only blemish was on the final hole of the day.
   "I  went out and enjoyed myself and I also like this course very much because if you hit the fairway regularly, the score will follow.
   "And after starting with four birdies, I had a wonderful time on the course, but pushed too hard in the final and lost a shot.
   "But I'm not too disturbed by that (bogey) and after a good night's rest, I think I need to take in more fluids in the second round as it was really humid out there," said Brittany.
    Standing at 5'8" Brittany has hit three holes-in-one in her career. Her first was a 7-iron from 106 yards off her very first golf tournament when she was 10. She won the tournament because she was the only female competing.
    The leaderboard is cluttered with four golfers tied at joint-third on five-under 66, making the second round a much more challenging day.
    Beatriz Recari of Spain, Paula Creamer of the US, Jodi Ewart of Scotland and Ji Eun-Hee of South Korea share the clutterd joint third.
   Rolex Rankings No 2 Suzann Pettersen was adrift on tied-seventh on four-under 67 with seven other ladies.
   World No 1 Inbee Park of South Korea, seeking to defend a title for the first time in her career,  had a disappointing one-under 70 to be joint 28th. The 72-hole tournament does not have a cut.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pakistan out, Kiwis in...

MALAYSIA will open accounts against New Zealand in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6, after a small reshuffle in the groupings.
   Earlier, Malaysia had Pakistan, England and South Africa for company in Group D,
but Pakistan were moved to Group A, while New Zealand were the new replacements.
   "We received the new fixtures from FIH (International Hockey Federation) and the
only change in our Group was that New Zealand came to our Group, and Pakistan were moved to Group A," said national Juniors team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
   After opening accounts against the Kiwis, Malaysia next play South Africa on Dec
7, and wrap up the Group fixtures against England on Dec 9.
   The top-two teams from each group advances to the quarter-finals, and if Malaysia
make the cut, they will play against Group C opponents which are likely either
Netherlands or hosts India. The other team in Group C are South Korea and Canada.
   "Going by form, in the quarter-finals we are likely to meet India or Netherlands and
this would be tough encounters either way.
   "But we are prepared to finish among the top-five, and so have to beat even the
hosts if it comes to that," said Mirnawan.
    Malaysia drew 3-3 with India in the pool stages of the recent Sultan of Johor Cup,
but were whipped 3-0 in the final.
     But first, the Malaysian players need to beat all three teams in their group to top
the standings, before planning for either India or Netherlands in the knock-out stage.
GROUP A -- Germany, Pakistan, Belgium, Egypt.
GROUP B --Australia, Spain, Argentina, France.
GROUP C -- Netherlands, India, South Korea, Canada.
GROUP D -- Malaysia, England, South Africa, New Zealand.

Monday, October 7, 2013

High-Five for hockey 5s..

THE Hockey 5s event organised by UPM Sports Academy in  collobaration with Milo and Sports Unite over the weekend  received the royal thumbs up from Malaysian Hockey Con federation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad  Shah.
    A total of 12 teams competed in the event staged at the UPM  Mini Turf and this form,at is currently promoted actively by  the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
     “This is a good start and I hope more such events will be  held all over the country,” said Tengku Abdullah.
    “We shall leave it to those interested to promote this event  and MHC will also get the states to organise such events.”
   Tengku Abdullah said that he was taking the hands on  approach to determine the training program of the various  national teams as well and a meeting with coaches at every  level.
     “I want to listen directly to their plans and issues and find  a way out. Next year is an important year for hockey.”

Results: Boys’ Final: 1Mas KL A 4 1Mas KL B 0; Third- Fourth: Gombak Viper 3 Sebastari Boys 0.
   Girls’ Final: SMK Bukit Bandaraya 3 Gombak Avengers 0;  Third-Fourth: SMK Sri Pantai 1 Sebastari Girls 0.
    Special Awards (Boys):
  Fairplay: 1Mas KL B
  Best Player: Shafirul Akmal (1Mas KL A)
   Best Goalkeeper: Amirul Aswad (1Mas KL A)
  Top Scorer: Shafirul Akmal (1Mas KL A)

Special Awards (Girls)
Fairplay: Bukit Bandaraya Girls
Best Player: Kirandit Kaur  (Bukit Bandaraya Girls)
Best Goalkeeper: Ramayani Rosli ( Gombak Avengers)
Top Scorer: Norsyaza Afikah (Bukit Bandaraya Girls)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mix-n-match for Perth 9s

MALAYSIA will be sending a mixed men’s side for the International Super Series Hockey 9s in Perth from Oct 17-20.
     Defender Ahmad Kazamirul, midfielder Harwinder Singh, goalkeeper Khairulnizam Ibrahim and defender Amin Rahim will be among the motley-crew for the 9s hockey tournament.
   All the above players did not play any part in major tournaments this year, but have been given another chance to prove themselves after their performance in the recent Razak Cup in Kuantan.
    Some of the regular national players added to strengthen the squad are striker Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, No 2 goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, midfielder Shahrun Nabil and defenders Baljit Singh and Razie Rahim.
    Malaysia will also send a women’s side which will compete against world no 2 Argentina, Australia and Canada.
    The men’s tournament will see Paul Revington’s side pitting their skills against world No 2 Australia, Pakistan and Argentina.
     Australia has been in the forefront of promoting hockey 9s which will have nine instead of 11 players a-side, for a faster and more open field.
    The tournament’s modified format will also have a larger goal-mouth, and 20 minute halves to provide the action in short, sharp, exciting bursts.