Westwood keen to stake his claim

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Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Lee Westwood fully intends to be in contention to defend his Maybank Malaysian Open title.

The former world number one claimed an emphatic seven-shot victory at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club last April, ending a run of almost two years without a trophy to clinch the 41st of his career.

Westwood, 41, is in excellent physical condition having undertaken an intensive fitness regime in the build-up to Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup campaign, and he is suitably optimistic heading to Malaysia, spurred by memories of his triumph 10 months ago.

“You have to play really well to win any tournament by seven shots,” he told maybankmalaysianopen.com.

“I played really nicely that week and didn’t make many mistakes, which was key to my victory.

“If I can stay solid from tee to green, I don’t see why I can’t be in contention again.”

The Englishman’s Ryder Cup team-mates Graeme McDowell, Stephen Gallacher and Victor Dubuisson, together with captain Paul McGinley, are also in the field.

France’s Dubuisson followed up his success at Gleneagles with a string of top-five finishes including a joint-second place alongside Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald at the DP World Tour Championship.

Three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee is a two-time champion at this tournament – the Thai won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005 – and he is keen to challenge for honours again.

The 45-year-old told ndtv.com: “I want to improve for the future and aim to play better in the majors, which is the key goal, to be better than last year. Golf is not easy but I’ll always try to make it fun.

“This week is an important week as it’s co-sanctioned and if you win this, you’ll jump up in the world ranking and also have a chance to become the Asian Tour number one.

“My confidence is good right now and I want to get better and better. I was top-25 and top-35 in the first two weeks but this week, I’m looking forward to challenging.”

Former champions Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Matteo Manassero are also set to feature in Malaysia while Bernd Wiesberger, Danny Willett and Englishman Andy Sullivan are in good form.

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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