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Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: A resurgent Iain Steel of Malaysia is eyeing a winning breakthrough on the Asian Tour when he competes in the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters from August 4-7.
The talented Steel has an impressive track record in the RM1.2 million (approximately US$300,000) showpiece, with two top-10s to his name, and he is relishing a quick return to the Seri Selangor Golf Club.
After an uncharacteristic run of seven missed cuts on the Asian Tour this season, the Sabah-born Steel turned the corner with a tied 10th finish at the recent Queen’s Cup in Thailand. He subsequently finished third in the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia – National Qualifier.
Steel revealed that working with a sports psychologist, Dr. Dan Bowman, in the United States and putting in the extra hours with swing coach Neil Thompson have been the reasons behind his recent surge in form.
“Dr. Bowman and I have been working together since April and I have put in a bit of work with my coach as well where he kind of firmed up my golf swing,” said the 39-year-old.
“Dr Bowman has got me to think differently and to not be so emotional on the golf course. If I play well, I should maintain an even keel and flood my thoughts with positive thoughts. It seems to have helped,” said Steel.
His best finish in the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters, which celebrates its third edition on the Asian Tour Schedule next month, was a third place outing in the 2008 edition. Then, young countryman Ben Leong triumphed after defeating Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand in a memorable duel.
The Seri Selangor Golf Club, the first public golf course in Malaysia, is known for its tricky layout and challenging greens but Steel reckons the demanding course suits his eye.
“It’s a golf course that requires experience and patience. If it is nice and firm, you need to know where to land it on the fairways and where to leave your mistakes. The greens are good, which is the strong point of the course. They are small targets so you’ve got to know your yardages,” said Steel.
After several unsuccessful seasons in trying to land the elusive first Asian Tour victory, he believes he is now better prepared to achieve a breakthrough. “I’ve tried to forget the last year and a half. I wasn’t close to doing anything on the Asian Tour. It was a loss of confidence and I was banging on the negatives instead of trying to find my way around it and dealing with it,” he reflected.
“I have good memories and good vibes about Seri Selangor. Coming off the last month of golf, the numbers have shown that I’m on my way back. My confidence is growing with every round and I’m looking forward to playing at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters,” he said.
Among those expected to feature in the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters include Malaysia’s Danny Chia, who played at the British Open in St Andrews last week, and Shaaban Hussin, last year’s runner-up Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Lam Chih Bing of Singapore and India’s rising star Gaganjeet Bhullar.

Asian Tour

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