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Lim Say Heng
Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

Sports

Golf: Westwood likes it hot

The New Paper | Lim Say Heng | Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

The heat, humidity and jet lag may be big stumbling blocks for golfers coming in from the United States and Europe.

But not for Lee Westwood.

The 41-year-old says he's loving the Asian climate and is confident of a good showing at the CIMB Classic starting today at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

At a media conference yesterday, the world No. 46 said: "I've always enjoyed coming out to Asia, not just Malaysia... the heat seems to suit me. I always seem to play well when it's really hot and steamy."

He was bang on form at the same course in April, winning the Malaysian Open by a commanding seven strokes.

The Englishman said: "Well, I am not the defending champion of this tournament, but I am the most recent winner on this golf course, so I'm pretty confident.

"I'm playing nicely... I played well in Napa a couple of weeks ago, and it's nice for me that it's a US PGA Tour event around a golf course where I had my most recent win."

Westwood, 41, will be in familiar company as he tees off at 8.05am from the 10th - in his group are fellow Ryder Cup 2014 players Sergio Garcia of Spain and American Patrick Reed.

Defending champions Europe retained the title in Gleneagles, Scotland, last month, beating the US 16½ -11½.

Not that it makes a difference to Westwood.

He said: "I don't think we'll have any sort of Ryder Cup thing. They are two good guys to play with and I enjoy the company of both.

"Obviously, I've played with a lot with Sergio; as for Patrick, I've played with once or twice, but he's obviously a very good player.

"His tournament wins recently and the way he played at the Ryder Cup in the singles back that up, so it should be a good three-ball to watch, I would think."

MEMORIES

In a separate media conference, world No. 4 Garcia said: "I guess there're still a lot of memories coming from four weeks ago at the Ryder Cup. It was, like always, an amazing experience.

"It's going to be fun to be able to play with both of them... and hopefully we'll be playing well."

The Spaniard, who is the highest-ranked player here in KL, will be fresh heading into the US$7 million ($8.9m) tournament, having taken a break after the Ryder Cup.

He said: "I travel a bit more than most guys on the PGA Tour because I play on both (PGA and European) Tours.

"So I try to pick my spots as well as I can, make sure I go through stretches where I play, but also through some stretches of two to four weeks off like I just had because sometimes you need to disconnect a little and recharge those batteries."

Garcia may not be that familiar with the course at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club as Westwood, but he is confident of putting up some good scores.

The 34-year-old Spaniard said: "The 12th hole is a lot tougher now without being able to carry the bunkers. I think the 11th hole is a nice par-three, and it's quite difficult.

"But you get a nice mix of holes with water where you can make birdies or eagles... but can also easily make a bogey. There are some fun holes out there."

sayheng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 30, 2014.
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