Photo - Asian Tour, Luke Donald & Adam Scotts
IN-FORM DONALD SEEKS GLORY AT CIMB ASIA PACIFIC CLASSIC, MALAYSIA
Kuala Lumpur: A resurgent Luke Donald of England hopes to translate his impressive form into a victory at the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia starting on Thursday.
Donald, ranked eighth in the world, has not won a PGA Tour tournament since 2006 and he will be inspired to rekindle the winning feeling at the Mines Resort and Golf Club.
The European Ryder Cup stalwart will be joined by a stellar cast which includes South Africans Ernie Els, a three-time Major champion and Tim Clark, who won The Players Championship in May, at the US$6 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, PGA Tour and the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM).
Three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Korea’s teen titan Noh Seung-yul, the current number one, and compatriot K.J. Choi, Australia’s Andrew Dodt and Bangladeshi Siddikur will also be in the elite 40-man field.
Donald, the highest ranked player in this week’s field, has enjoyed a solid season with three runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour and a victory in Europe. He is determined to continue his solid form as he aims for the top prize of US$1 million.
“Great players are judged by how much they win and it is disappointing not to have won for four years on the PGA Tour. I had three runner-up finishes this year and hopefully I can learn from these and turn those second place finishes into wins,” said Donald who has won twice in the United States.
A wrist injury in 2008 curtailed his performances last season but he believes he is back to his best form and ready to launch a title assault at the par-71 course this week. He is also buoyed by the Ryder Cup victory over the Americans.
“I attribute my good finishes to hard work. I always have a strong desire to improve and get better and I’m always finding ways to do just that. After my wrist injury, 2009 was kind of a learning experience and now I’m able to concentrate and come out with some good results,” said the 32-year-old.
He was delighted with the launch of the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia and believes it will spur the development of golf in the region.
“Golf is a global game now. People want to see the US players playing in Malaysia, China or Japan. New events like this tend to increase fan support for the game and create awareness that there are great places around the world to play golf in,” he said.
Clark won his first PGA Tour title at the Players Championship in May and continued to sparkle with six other top-10 finishes. He is eyeing for more success this week.
“I think this is a very important stretch for us to come over here. We certainly don’t want to travel all the way here and not have our ‘A’ game. It is something I’m geared for and getting my game in good shape to play well,” said the 34-year-old.
The South African lauded the development of golf in Asia in recent years. “I’ve seen the growth down here. With the amount of Asian players we see in the Majors and world golf events, it shows the game is growing.
“If you get onto the computer and the television, you can see the Asian Tour or Japanese Tour events. There’s no question the game is growing down here and I think it is fantastic,” he added.