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Kuala Lumpur: Australian stalwart Darren Beck is looking forward to a happy ‘homecoming’ when he defends his Brunei Open title later this month.
Beck, one of many Australians who have sparkled on the Asian Tour, emerged triumphant in a three-way play-off over India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar and Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit to claim his maiden title in Asia last year.
And he is certainly hoping to repeat his heroics at the majestic Empire Hotel and Country Club from July 29 to August 1.
“Winning last year was a big step in my career. It freed up a lot of things. To have the two-year exemption, and to know that you can win on the Asian Tour and compete with these guys, it gave me a lot more confidence. Now, you know that you can play to win,” said Beck.
“The win also allowed me to get to bigger tournaments on the Asian Tour and also got me to places like Switzerland (Omega European Masters). Hopefully we can keep moving on and win more events.”
The memory of his career breakthrough is still vivid for Beck and it will spur him on towards a successful title defence. He is also looking forward to enjoying the five-star hospitality at Empire Resort as the title holder is afforded a luxurious villa during the Brunei Open.
“I have played well the last few times I’ve been to Brunei. It seems to suit the Australians as Terry (Pilkadaris) and Rick (Kulacz) also won the tournament. I enjoy the golf course and I’m looking forward to getting back. I’m looking forward to it as it’s just a great setting,” said Beck.
“Last year was weird. After my final round, I was simply thinking about packing up and catching my flight but all of the sudden, the guys started to crumble over the last three holes and I had to get my stuff back out again to get on the tee box for the play-off. It was a bit of a shock but exciting!” he said.
Beck admitted he was surprised to find himself in a play-off as he was four strokes back after the third round. But a sizzling final round of six-under-par 65 saw him catch the leaders before he eventually won at the third extra hole.
“If you hit the ball well on that course, you will be rewarded. A lot of the holes there suit my eye. I have defended smaller titles back home and this will be the first time that I’m defending a big title. I’m looking forward to it,” said the 31-year-old.
Beck, who recently welcomed a second baby boy to his family, has enjoyed a mixed season so far with three top-30s and two missed cuts. But with the immense experience he has gained on the Asian Tour, he is confident of hitting top form again.
“Since I joined the Asian Tour, I’ve become better over the years. I feel like I have stepped up my game. Whenever I go back home to compete, I feel I’m a step above the rest because I’ve played on this Tour,” said Beck.
Brunei Darussalam’s first professional golfer Pengiran Hassanal Alhaj alongside Faiz Damit and Wira Salleh will spearhead the local challenge in the US$300,000 Brunei Open, which will celebrate its sixth edition this month.

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