Willett heads strong field in Malaysia


Danny Willett will attempt to follow up the biggest win of his career by being crowned champion in the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia this week.

Victory in the Dubai Desert Classic this month ensured Willett earned prize money of EUR402,669 and a rise to third in the Race to Dubai.

The Englishman is eyeing a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team and the Olympic Games this year, but his immediate aim will be to land the fifth European Tour title of his career.

Willett will have increased expectation on his shoulders when he tees off at the Royal Selangor Golf Club on Thursday in a tournament co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, with a prize fund of $3 million.

The 28-year-old faces strong competition from the likes of Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer.

Oosthuizen, who missed the cut in Dubai last time out, won the Malaysian Open four years ago and the South African is hoping a journey of over 36 hours is rewarded with another success in Kuala Lumpar on Sunday.

He said: "I'm struggling to stay awake to be honest with you. I left my house at 4.50am on Sunday morning, but only arrived here at 9am [on Tuesday) because I was delayed in New York and then again in Dubai.

"It's just one of those things, with the amount of travelling we do it's bound to happen at some time.

"Hopefully it's a good omen after what happened four years ago, when we couldn't get out of Augusta on the Sunday night because the play-off [with Bubba Watson] finished late, and I didn't end up arriving here until the Wednesday. So at least this time I've given myself an extra 24 hours to prepare!"

Kaymer also missed the cut in Dubai and has not won a title since his US Open victory in 2014, but the two-time major winner is hoping a break will lead to a change of fortunes.

He said: "The last few years, I've managed to get off to a fast start, especially in Abu Dhabi, but this time I've struggled to find my rhythm.

"So I took time off last week and went on holiday, and it really helped to clear my head."

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the 2013 Malaysian Open champion, delayed his honeymoon to take his place in the field just four days after getting married on Valentine's Day.