After a superb display of stunning golf in Dubai, a week packed with birdies, incredible scoring and even a couple of Ace’s throwns . The European Tour mix up the usual schedule and now move on to Malaysia, where Saujana golf and Country Club will host the 3rd edition of the Maybank Championship for the 2nd consecutive year.
Hopefully the momentum of a solid week for the write up now carries itself over like the form were seeing from Chris Paisley and plenty of you keep enjoying those weekend sweats and growing those bankrolls.
Course Design and Layout
Description: The Palm Course (nicknamed the cobra for its venomous bite) was designed my Ronald Fream and opened for play in 1986. Since then it has undergone a redesign with complete new green complexes and introduction of better positioning of tee’s. This all took place throughout 2015 to get the course ready for top tournament play once again and although the course was very wet last year it certainly showcased itself well and we can expect very much the same this year.
The course is generally undulating throughout, water hazards feature on several holes, palm trees line the fairways and if none of this test the players the hot and extremely humid climate will do. Described today by Dean Burmester to be similar to playing golf whilst in a sauna.. Normally I’d say rather them than me but right now that sounds a lot better than chilling winds, the rain coming in horizontally and freezing temperatures.
Par: 72 (4 x par 5’s, 4 x par 3’s and 10 par 4’s)
Length: 7186 yards
Par 5’s: Two comfortably reachable by entire field, 1 dependant on a great drive and the other measuring 604 yards reachable by only a hand full.
Par 4’s: With good tee shots players should be hitting wedge or less into the green on eight occasions during their round, the other 2 par 4’s are just under 500 yards but players will still be hitting mid irons into these holes.
Par 3’s: All play around 200 yards in length
Greens: Tiff Eagle Bermuda, Running at 12’6″, Small, undulating and very grainy.
Fairways: Very undulating with an average width of 35 yards. Lined with Bermuda rough and palm trees.
Key Stats and Attributes
For me this is very much an all rounders golf course, all facets of the game are tested and a successful candidate will need all aspects firing at once.
Across previous years that events have been played on this course including last year. There has been no stand out performance stat that leans towards one style of player or another.
That being said I do feel this is a week to take a bit of gamble, ground conditions are softer and any player who puts wedge in their hand more often will create far more chances even if playing from the rough.
Driving Distance or Accuracy: Both styles will work here, your short knockers that find the fairway more often will have better control of the ball and maybe make a few less mistakes but even approach shots from the fairway are no pushover thanks to awkward stances on these undulating fairways. Your bombers may find the rough a little more often and drop a shot or 2 from being blocked out by palm trees, but with softer greens and wedge in hand getting in to the pins i may fancy there chances of having more kick in birdies throughout the week
Ball Striking: Probably the key stat for getting your players through the cut, anyone who hits greens in regulation time in time out will obviously avoid making bogeys but shouldn’t find themselves too far off the lead. However the only potential downside to this is a lack of converted chances and frustration on the greens if they are left with longer challenging putts all week… and a lack of point scoring if not in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
Wedge Play: The way this course is laid out players could be hitting wedge or less on up to 8 of the 10 par 4’s. Those dialed in with their wedge game should then tick that proximity box and make plenty of birdies… Last year Weisberger demonstrated this perfectly when he made 9 birdies on the bounce.
Proximity To Hole: With the greens being as tricky and undulating as they are, most birdies will come from shots that are hit close to the pin. I want aggressive style players who are not afraid to take on every pin location and pick up strokes where others have played to the heart of the green and worked harder for their 2 putt par.
Form: Coming into a course like this I think form and maybe more importantly confidence will feature highly. I want players who are almost on auto pilot when it comes down to making birdies and when looking at the field I think it would be wise to build your line ups around those that make cuts with their eyes closed no matter what course or where in the world they are playing.
Course Fit/History: Although this is only the 3rd year of the Maybank Championship and 2nd time that this event has been played at this venue, we do have further history to go on from the Malaysian Open played here in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
This section has to be the toughest to call and there is undoubtedly a good reason to pick any of the four available here. All played great last week and all placed inside the top 5 the last time they played at this venue. However I have to pick 2 and I’m going with the two who are creating and converting the most chances.
Alexander Levy – $11,200
Hao-Tong Li – $10,500
$9,000 – $10,000
Dylan Frittelli $9,600
Andy Sullivan $9,200
Chris Paisley $9,100
$8,000 – $9,000
Paul Peterson $8,800
Shaun Norris $8,900
Alexander Bjork $8,400
$7,500 – $8000
David Lipsky $8,000
Richie Ramsay $7,900
Miguel Tabuena $7,900
Fabrizio Zanotti $7,600
Poom Saksansin $7,500
$7,000 – $7,500
Danny Willett $7,500
Shubhankar Sharma $7,400
Mike Lorenzo-Vera $7,400
Shiv Chawrasia $7,300
Berry Henson $7,100
$7,000 or less
Thongchai Jaidee $7,000
Thomas Bjorn $7,000
Nino Bertasio $6,900
Chris Hanson $6,800
Daisuke Kataoka $6,700
What’s going in Ash’s Wonderful World of Golf.
As the golfing season in the UK gets ever closer and daylight hours grow longer, my preparations to get my own playing year up and running are now getting into full swing.
Part of that preparation always includes visiting some England’s finest and toughest course and luckily this Monday I got the opportunity to play 2 of Woburn’s 3 courses (The Marquees and the Dukes). Both courses were amazing, as tight as a Scotsmen, as pure as they get and with practice facilities second to none dotted around the vast expanse of this venue. I can certainly see why Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter has made this his home venue whilst in the UK
As always golf isn’t always about the courses you play or how you play but also about the company you keep and enjoyment you get from the game. And once again I found myself in that very fortunate position to have taken on (with my regular playing partner Ronan) The Collins brothers.
Both fantastic players in their own right and in particular Mark who frequently gets called up to represent both county and national squads. If ever he makes the transition into the pro game it’s most certainly a name I recommend you keep tabs on.. Hits it long, hits it straight, strikes everything pure and rolls the ball on the dance floor as well as anyone I have ever played against… (Now having just written that statement it probably explains how he managed to make 7 birdies in the front 9 of the Marquess and gives me the perfect excuse for having lost the first match 2 and 1)
I would love to be able to tell you that we redeemed ourselves in the afternoon on the Dukes course, and although myself and Ronan put up a great fight, hit glorious golf shots of our own and made a bucket load of birdies. It was Ben’s time to come good and in the final stretch he made a couple of Seve like miracle shots from deep in the woods and rolled in an impressive putt from off the green that clinched the match on the penultimate hole.
Highlight of the day for me though had to be Ben’s tee shot on the par 3 9th. Where he hit the purest of socket rockets straight right into the woods and immediately turned round to say “I think Poulter himself would of been proud of that one”
Anyway after yet another memorable day on the course, I am now itching to find another top 100 venue to visit and invite the Collins brothers back for a little revenge, but this time I think we may play something a little more forgiving off the tee to suit my wild bombing game.
But before all of that happens I have to focus my efforts and keep my fingers crossed that I land my Ryder Cup tickets tomorrow… I missed out when general sale tickets were released back in September (Sold out in under an hour) but luckily as a PGA Pro i get a second bite at the cherry and hope to be in possession of tickets for myself and 2 very special guests.
If I do land those very rare and very sought after tickets, let me know if your going as well as I would love to meet up with my readers and Tour Junkies followers and enjoy the party in Paris with as many of you as possible.