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RESURGENT LEONG SEEKS MORE GLORY IN NEW ASIAN TOUR

Kuala Lumpur: Ben Leong is aiming to become the first Malaysian to win multiple Asian Tour titles when the new season tees off at the Avantha Masters in India next week.

Leong will be joined by countrymen Danny Chia and Iain Steel at the €1.8 million (approximately US$2.3 million) showpiece at the DLF Golf and Country Club from February 17 to 20, 2011.

Highly regarded as one of the most promising prospects to emerge from Malaysia, he broke through in style when he defeated Thai star Thongchai Jaidee at the 2008 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters for his maiden Asian Tour title.

No Malaysian has won more than once on the Asian Tour thus far but the 25-year-old is hoping to break the trend and produce his own slice of history.

“I need to get another win, if not two wins. Winning is my goal in the coming season and I aim to do well in the co-sanctioned events which means a lot,” said Leong.

After his winning breakthrough, Leong struggled to find his footing in 2009, making only five cuts but he bounced back with a battling display last season. He secured two top-10s at the Brunei Open and Yeangder Tournament Players Championship and subsequently finished as the highest ranked Malaysian on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 36th place.

“It was a solid year. I didn’t make too many mistakes, the only thing that was missing was that extra sixth gear. I didn’t have that, as well as those stretches of birdies that win you tournaments,” Leong reflected.

“But overall I hung in there and stayed patient. I’m looking forward to the start of the new season. I was hitting it good last year and there’s always room for improvement in my short game but overall, I’m very satisfied,” he added.

He credited his return to form to his coach David Milne, who is based in Perth.

“I’ve been seeing David quite often since last year and it has been paying off. I’ve been making a lot of cuts and that’s the important thing for me. As my coach says, it is a process and you have to treat it one shot at a time. Nothing comes instantaneously,” said Leong, who is the third Malaysian to win on the Asian Tour.

Malaysian golf enjoyed a relatively successful 2010 season with Chia producing the loudest cheer when he emerged as the first Malaysian to play in the weekend rounds at the British Open at St Andrews in Scotland.

Photo - Asian Tour

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