Donald Striving For Win In Asia At Malaysian Open

World Number Three Luke Donald will headline an all-star cast when he makes his debut in this week’s Maybank Malaysian Open, which carries an increased prize fund of US$2.75million.

Donald, who finished in fourth place in last week’s Tampa Bay, will be bidding to secure his eighth victory on The European Tour in Kuala Lumpur, and his first since he successfully defended his BMW PGA Championship title last year.

Since then Donald has relinquishing his world number one spot and falling down to third behind Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods but arrives in Malaysia in confident mood.

"The results in my first couple of events weren't as I'd have liked, but last week there was a lot of improvement," Donald said Wednesday. "I've felt a lot more comfortable with my game in the last couple of weeks and a lot more in control of the golf ball. I had a lot more chances and had a decent chance to defend my title.

"I came up a little short in the end, but the game feels like it's trending in the right direction," he added. "We've got the Masters in a few weeks' time and I'm excited about that."

The event has attracted a field of top golfers, including Major champions Charl Schwartzel, Padraig Harrington and previous Malaysian Open winner Manassero.

Manassero, already the youngest winner in European Tour history, was just 17 years and 363 days old when he captured his second title at the 2011 Maybank Malaysian Open.

Another man going into the event looking to surprise the well-known stars is Thomas Aiken, who picked up the Avantha Masters in New Delhi last weekend. He became the sixth South African to claim a European Tour victory so far in 2013.

This year is the 15th staging of the Maybank Malaysian Open, which was the first tournament to be co-sanctioned by The European and Asian Tours in 1999.