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Friday, 19 March 2010
Johnnie Walker Championship - Round Three  (Getty Images)
Johnnie Walker Championship - Round Three (Getty Images)

Consistency is certainly a word which is associated with Søren Hansen and the Dane hopes an encouraging start to the year will lead to a return to the winners' circle at this week's Maybank Malaysian Open.

The 35 year old has finished inside the top 20 in all five events this season to extend his run of consecutive cuts made to 23 with his last failure to make the weekend at the Masters Tournament last year.

Hansen did lose in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship to Retief Goosen on his last outing, although that allowed him to head to the newly refurbished Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club looking to post a first win since the 2007 Mercedes-Benz Championship.

“I only decided to come at the last minute and I am really pleased that I have done that because I see a very good course that is in great condition and gives you all sorts of opportunities – you can take it on, leave it back and so on,” said the World Number 50, who has missed the cut just five times in over 50 events in the last two seasons.

“My game is not bad at the minute – it is coming good so I just wanted to play golf. I got knocked out of the Match Play in the first round by Retief who is always a tough opponent and I decided to keep playing and I am really pleased that I have done that.

“It is one of those weeks where you don’t know if it will be a long or short hitter winning this week, if we will have a European or Asian winner – it is wide open and that is what you want at the start of every week.

“I think the course here and the changes they have implemented are indicative of golf in this part of the world. Over the last ten years or so we have seen huge moves made in Asia to improve the courses and facilities and make them really world class and it is all credit to the people here at the KLGCC because they have clearly invested a lot of money here and they deserve all the praise they are getting this week.

“I hope this is a venue that stays on Tour for many years to come because this is as good a course as you will find anywhere in Asia. We just have to hope that the sponsors stay with us here and that the Members here are happy to have us because it is a fantastic course.

Hansen enjoyed a superb 2009 with top ten finishes at the US Open Championship and The Open Championship meaning the Dane has already qualified for all four Majors this season.

And he is hoping to continue that trend this year with a second Ryder Cup appearance certainly on his mind after making an impressive debut in the defeat at Valhalla.

“I think every player dreams of winning Majors and I am in all of these tournaments this year and have a chance to do it,” he added.

“I got pretty close at The Open and the US Open last year so why can’t I win one? I will certainly be hoping to contend and if I can do that then I will move up the list for that event in Wales at the end of the year.”

Darren Clarke, also in confident mood with two top ten finishes to his name already this year, in-form Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee and K J Choi are also in the field teeing off in the unusually high humidity over the heavily bunkered new layout.

Choi won the Johor Open in Malaysia last October and heads to Kuala Lumpur after a steady start to the new season on the US PGA Tour for the Korean.

The 39 year old World Number 96 has finished inside the top 30 in his last four events with the best a 15th place at the Farmers Insurance Open at the end of January before claiming 20th at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at the end of last month.

“I feel my fitness is coming back and my shots technically have improved,” he said. “It has been a slower start that what I expected, but it is progressing tremendously on a week-to-week basis and I have big expectations this week.”

Defending champion this week is American Anthony Kang. The Korea-born 37 year old has not had a top ten finish since, but feels he is close to returning to his best form.

“It's been hit and miss in terms of performance but the most gratifying aspect of winning the tournament last year was that it opened up a lot of doors for me,” he said.

“I got a big exemption on The European Tour which is a big door for me and it also enabled me to play in a couple of World Golf Championships events. It felt like the gift that kept on giving so I was very grateful to have won a tournament of this stature last year.

“I haven't been scoring as well as I would like but see a lot of positive signs in my game and i am really excited about this year, including this tournament this week.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1NOH, Seung-yulKOR18-14
2CHOI, K JKOR18-13
T3HANSEN, SorenDEN18-12
T3APHIBARNRAT, KiradechTHA18-12
T3DAVIES, RhysWAL18-12
6WILLETT, DannyENG18-11
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