Malaysia’s Arie Irawan hopes to turn the corner and launch a title assault at the PGM MNRB Sarawak Championship which starts on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old enjoyed a stellar season in 2015 where he won twice on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) but has endured a dip in form where he has yet to make a cut in four appearances on the secondary circuit of the Asian Tour this season.
Arie was also side-lined for four months after breaking his collarbone but during his recovery, he reflected on how to improve and remain consistent.
“I won two ADT events last year but I felt my game wasn’t ready for the Asian Tour. I felt like I needed to work on a few things. Honestly, I was struggling to repeat my winning form,” said Arie.
“When I broke my collarbone, it was a blessing in disguise because I had time to reflect on what I have been doing in terms of my swing and my mental game. Now, I’m on the right track but I need to polish my game,” he added.
Arie will be among a talented cast vying for honours at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) ADT event which includes Suradit Yongcharoenchai of Thailand as well as American duo Johannes Veerman and John Michael O’Toole.
On the local front, Arie will be joined by fellow compatriots Rizal Amin, Wilson Choo, Airil Rizman and Sukree Othman at the Kelab Golf Sarawak.
“The competition is stronger now but it drives me to do well. Everybody is playing at the highest level. I have to put myself in that position again and play at the highest level week in and week out,” said the Malaysian.
Arie was disappointed he did not qualify for the prestigious Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last week after being in contention to represent Malaysia with two ADT victories last year. He hopes to learn from his mistakes and become a better player.
“Not making the Olympics is a disappointment but it is also a learning experience. I know there are ups and downs. A lot of golfers go through anxiety and stress because they felt like they had something to prove.
“It is good that I went through that stage and I know what to do now. The 2020 Olympics will be my next goal. I look forward to that,” said Arie.
The ADT will reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2017.
Like all other ADT events, the PGM MNRB Sarawak Championship will offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points to the top six players and ties based on a sliding scale.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com