Asian Tour Release, 19 March 2019: India’s Shubhankar Sharma returned to the scene of his famous victory on the Asian Tour fueled with the belief that he can repeat his winning act when the Maybank Championship starts on Thursday.
The Indian closed with a stunning 10-under-par 62 to claim a two-shot victory at the Saujana Golf and Country Club last year and became the first Asian and second Asian Tour member after inaugural Australian winner (2016) Marcus Fraser to clinch the title.
Apart from a tied-second finish on his domestic circuit this year, Sharma’s results abroad have not been impressive by his lofty standards. The 22-year-old, however, vows to set the record straight especially at an event which he has been victorious before.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond is looking forward to live up to his billing as one of the highest ranked players on the Official World Golf Ranking in the field this week.
Ranked 78th in the world, the young Thai has enjoyed a spectacular start to the season, especially with his third Asian Tour victory in Singapore at the beginning of the year. Having taken two weeks off to recharge, the 23-year-old is mentally fresh and ready for the challenge.
Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung is meanwhile hoping to better his previous best result of a tied-24th place finish which he achieved at the inaugural edition in 2016. Fung is hopeful his local knowledge of the course and weather conditions will be advantageous as he chases his second win on the Asian Tour this week.
Did you know?
- Shubhankar Sharma’s win at the Maybank Championship last year was the springboard to greater success as he went on to clinch the Asian Tour Order of Merit title that year.
- Sharma is the first Asian to win the Maybank Championship and second Asian Tour member after Fraser to clinch the title.
- Sharma’s win at the Maybank Championship saw him break into the world’s top-100 (72nd) for the first time in his career and that victory also played a key part in securing him an invitation to the Masters Tournament last year.
- It was also his second Asian Tour victory in three months. He broke through at the Joburg Open in December 2017.
- His winning total of 21-under is the lowest winning score recorded at the Maybank Championship.
- Jazz currently leads the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings and is making his fourth start on the Asian Tour this week.
- Jazz broke into the world’s top-100 for the first time in his career after claiming his third Asian Tour title at the season-opening event in Singapore in January.
- That victory also earned him a coveted spot in The Open, where he made his Major debut last year.
- He followed up that win with a tied-13th place finish at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth and went on the secure a fourth place finish at the New Zealand Open the following week.
- Nicholas Fung’s tied-24th finish at the inaugural Maybank Championship in 2016 remains as his best result. He finished tied-52nd in 2017 and missed the cut last year.
- Fung made his breakthrough at the 2017 Queen’s Cup and dedicated that victory to his father on Father’s Day that year.
- Fung had a season to remember in 2013 when he won the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit thanks to one victory and three runner-up finishes. He rose more than 1000 spots in the world rankings to 239th at the end of the 2013 season.
Shubhankar Sharma (Ind)
I have some very special memories from last year. It just feels like yesterday that I won here. I made that putt on 18 and was waiting in scorers for the rest of the field to finish. It’s great to come back, it was my biggest win.
I love the course here. I had a good finish the year before last when I finished top 10. Last year was obviously the win so special memories from last year and looking forward to this week.
I definitely feel like I’ve become a better player from last year. Obviously I have more experience. I’ve played some of the biggest events in the world, I played all of the Majors last year. It’s good that I’ve seen all of those situations.
I’m much more relaxed now, but you don’t want to get too relaxed when you are playing .These are some of the best players in the world and you have to be 100%, but I’ll definitely be more comfortable than I was last year playing in the marquee group.
The main goal especially after last year is to stay fit. When you are on the road for a large part of the year, a small injury can really affect your game.
The start of the year hasn’t been that great, to be honest. I would obviously like a better start but I’ve been working on a few things in my game. Golf is a precision sport and you got to get even the small things right. There have been a few things which has not clicked for me this year. But having said that, I’ve very good memories from this place and hopefully it can kick-start things, just like what it did for me last year.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
I’m feeling really good. I had a couple of good finishes coming in to this week. It’s always nice to come back to Malaysia. I love this city, I love the sky line, I love the street food here. I’m enjoying myself out here and we’ll try to move that into the golf course as well.
I had a nine hole practice yesterday and I have to say the course has improved a lot. The greens are amazing. It’s going to be great fun playing this year.
Since I was younger and started golf I tried to crack the top 1000, the top 500, the top 100. I didn’t think it would be this soon that I would crack the top 100, but now I can have the next goal which is crack the top 50.
Everyone knows that this is the top event in Asia and everyone has to try to play well here I took a week off last week to prepare for this week, try to get my mind fresh. Restart and see if I can come in fresh here.
Nicholas Fung (Mas)
I’m always happy to play at home as I’ve many friends and supporters who will come down and watch me in action. In fact, not only myself but the other Malaysians in the field too. The locals will turn up to watch us play and it’s very motivating. I’ve been playing at Saujana Golf and Country Club on numerous conditions and I guess one big advantage is we are used to this really hot weather. I don’t want to set any goals yet but I certainly wish to do better than my best result in 2016. I just want to go out and enjoy myself this week.