Strong Indian presence at Malaysian Open golf

Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 18:44 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: A strong Indian contingent
would look to further bolster its image as a major superpower
in Asian golf, as no less than nine Indians will vie for glory
at the high-profile USD 2.5 million Maybank Malaysian Open
starting here on Thursday.

The field includes newly-crowned Masters champion Charl
Schwartzel, 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, PGA
Championship holder and world number one Martin Kaymer and
world number nine Rory McIlroy.

The Asian challenge includes holder Noh Seung-yul and
Thongchai Jaidee. Apart from Jeev Milkha Singh, there are
recent winners in S S P Chowrasia of India, who leads the
Asian Tour Order of Merit, countryman Anirban Lahiri, winner
of the Panasonic Open (India), the big-hitting Thai Kiradech
Aphibarnrat, winner of the SAIL Open and Gaganjeet Bhullar,
winner of European Challenge Tour event Gujarat Kensville Open
in January.

Indians have been in very good form this season. While
Chowrasia, Bhullar and Lahiri won a title each, others like
Sujjan Singh, who had a good finish at Avantha, and Jyoti, who
showed good return to form in recent weeks at home, will hope
to continue the fine run and make a bid for the title.

The Indians in the field include Jeev, Lahiri, Sujjan,
Chowrasia, Randhawa, Digvijay Singh, Bhullar, Shiv Kapur and
Gaurav Ghei.

Schwartzel, the charged-up South African is still on an
emotional high after lifting his first Major title at Augusta
National in thrilling fashion on Sunday, which rewards the
champion with a green jacket.

Schwartzel, ranked 11th in the world, arrived in the
Malaysian capital early today after an arduous 20-hour journey
but he was upbeat of his chances ahead of the Maybank
Malaysian Open.

"I think this is the strongest field the Maybank
Malaysian Open has had. I am looking forward to this week.
Whenever I enter a golf tournament, I try to play my best and
see if I can win this one as well," said the 26-year-old.

"By winning the Masters, you feel like you can win
anything. It gives you a lot of confidence. You`re on such a
high and you feel you can win anything," he added.

Schwartzel arrived without his golf clubs although the
green jacket was safely tucked in his luggage. He knows he
must quickly overcome fatigue and jetlag to contend in

Despite missing the cut at the Masters Tournament, Kaymer
is focused on the Malsysian Open where he will be gunning for
his 10th European Tour title. McIlroy was equally determined
to put last week`s Masters Tournament behind him where he led
for 63 holes before unravelling on the back nine for an
eventual 80.

The power-packed Oosthuizen, featured in the Maybank
Malaysian Open in 2009, will be determined to improve on his
tied seventh placing then.