Preview: Maybank Malaysian Open

After a week’s break, the European Tour heads back to Asia for the Maybank Malaysian Open. Anthony Kim heads an international field at the Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.

Arjun Atwal wins Malaysian Open 08

Lowdown: The European Tour took a break last week after the “Gulf Swing,” but it roars back into action when the Maybank Malaysian Open returns to Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur this week. A truly international field gathers in the Malaysian capital to continue the inaugural Race to Dubai. It’s the 48th running of the Malaysian Open but it was also the first ever co-sanctioned tournament in Asia by the European and Asian Tours back in 1999. Last year’s tournament was contested at Kota Permai GC where India’s Arjun Atwal came through a sudden death playoff against defending champion Peter Hedblom to claim his second Malaysian Open title. The competition has been held at Saujana five times since the tournament became a fixture on the European Tour schedule. It’s an undulating course lined by palm trees that opened for play back in 1986.

Venue: Saujana Golf and Country Club Date: Feb 12-15 Course stats: par 72, 6,947 yards Purse: €1,542,000 Winner: €259,164 Defending champion: Arjun Atwal (-18)

TV coverage: Thursday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 7am Friday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 7am Saturday 14 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 4.30am Sunday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6am

player watch: Thongchai Jaidee – The man from Thailand won this tournament in consecutive seasons in 2004 and 2005. He’s not yet firing on all cylinders in 2009 but a return to a course where he’s won twice could be the kick-start he needs. Anthony Kim – The young American who has taken out Affiliate Membership of the European Tour will be the star attraction in Malaysia. He’d love to make his mark on the European circuit. Peter Hedblom - Peter Hedblom – The Swede won last time the Malaysian Open was held in Saujana. He had a solid 2008 and will be looking for more of the same in 2009.

Key hole: 17th. A relatively short par-4 at just 377 yards, the hole tends to yield a high number of birdies. When he won here in 2007, Peter Hedblom made three at the hole on each of the four days. Skills required: Putting - The greens at Saujana are large and undulating, the man who wields the flat stick most effectively will have a good chance of victory.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?