Image from Asian Tour
CHIA AIMS TO SPARKLE AT THE MAYBANK MALAYSIAN OPEN
Malaysia’s Danny Chia believes a right frame of mind will put him in good stead ahead of his quest to launch a title assault at the Maybank Malaysian Open starting on Thursday.
Chia will spearhead the local challenge alongside the likes of countrymen Ben Leong, Iain Steel, Shaaban Hussin and P. Gunasegaran at the US$2 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
No Malaysian has won the tournament in 48 previous editions and Chia, who has constantly been reminded of that fact by the local media, is hoping to write a new chapter in his national Open.
“I’m getting used to that question,” he laughed. “It will probably feel funny if nobody asked me. Even my family keeps asking me! But it is a way of life and we need to face it.
“Every day of my career, I think about why it is so difficult for one of our players to win our national Open. I always tell myself that this is one of the joint sanctioned event that I go through every year but by the time Monday comes, you realize it is not just another week,” added Chia.
Over the past two years, Chia has shown more than glimpses of possibly ending Malaysia’s long wait. He was the halfway leader last year and stayed in the hunt till the final round before finishing tied 11th.
“It is not easy when you come so close and lose it like that. It is difficult to cope but I will call it an experience. I’m actually glad to be in situations like that because I know now how it actually feels.
“Most of the time, I’m over excited and I must try to calm myself down. I almost did it last year where I stayed calm for three days. So now I will have to aim to do it for four days,” said the 37-year-old.
He enjoyed a commendable season on the Asian Tour last year where he finished 29th on the Order of Merit. He was also in contention at the Hong Kong Open.
“Last year’s tournament (Maybank Malaysian Open) helped me a lot with my mental game and I learned more about myself. I got excited when it comes to the crucial moments and I did it again in Hong Kong last year so it takes time to learn.
“In every tournament, even in the smallest event that I play in, I always tell myself that I need to stay calm and keep my focus and it will be no different this week,” said Chia.
Among the big guns who will be vying for this week’s top prize are defending champion Anthony Kang of the United States, two-time Malaysian Open winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, India’s Arjun Atwal, Asian Tour honorary member K.J. Choi of Korea and former Ryder Cup star Darren Clarke of Ireland.