All Nicholas Fung is aiming to achieve at the cash-rich CIMB Classic this week is to produce some “good golf.”
The 24-year-old Malaysian tees up in his second appearance at the US$7 million tournament sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and Asian Tour on Thursday with every intention to show that he can compete on the big stage after a solid past 12 months on the region’s premier tour.
Fung will be joined by countryman Danny Chia in the elite field which includes FedExCup champion Billy Horschel, title holder Ryan Moore, Europe’s Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood and Japanese stars Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa.
The leading 10 available players from the Asian Tour, led by current number one David Lipsky and last week’s Venetian Macau Open winner Anirban Lahiri, will be shooting for glory as well at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s West course.
“Playing good golf, that’s my goal,” said Fung today. “I never think about winning because if you play good golf, winning just comes to you. That’s what I want to try this week.”
The slightly built Malaysian has risen in stature since winning the Asian Development Tour’s Order of Merit last season and also posted two top-five finishes on the Asian Tour to finish 36th on the final Order of Merit.
Fung was a captain’s pick for Team Asia, which clawed back to force a 10-10 draw with Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in March and although he did not win a single point, he earned praise for his gutsy showing against Europe captain Miguel Angel Jimenez in the singles.
“I’m not scared,” said Fung. “It’s good to play with good players so that I can learn and see them, how they play. This is a good experience for me. I’m happy this is my second time playing in the CIMB Classic and I’ve got a lot of experience playing this golf course, so I think this is much better. I think I can perform well this year.
“I’ve learned to be patient on the course … when I hit a bad shot, I try to not be too angry and try to forget about the bad shot and think about hitting a great shot next.”
He made his first cut in seven attempts at the West course earlier this year at the Malaysian Open and believes the extra work put in to gain more distance from off the tee has benefited his game.
“The traps here are always getting me here, so I’ve tried to gain five to 10 yards since last year. I’m hitting it longer these days so I feel it’s slightly easier for me to play on this course,” said Fung.
Currently ranked 45th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, Fung hopes to strike the putter hot to improve on last year’s 63rd place finish at the CIMB Classic, which is the first PGA TOUR-sanctioned event in Southeast Asia.
“I know I don’t have a top-five or top-10 this season (on the Asian Tour). I’m doing some changes in my putting and that’s why sometimes I putt good and sometimes I putt bad,” he said.