Fitness regime allows Westwood to remain confident on return to scene of title victory

Lee Westwood.
Lee Westwood.
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Lee Westwood fully intends to be in contention to defend his Maybank Malaysian Open title.

The former world No 1 claimed an emphatic seven-shot victory at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club last April, ending a run of almost two years without a trophy to clinch the 41st of his career.

Westwood, 41, is in excellent physical condition having undertaken an intensive fitness regime in the build-up to Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup campaign, and he is suitably optimistic heading to Malaysia, spurred by memories of his triumph 10 months ago.

“You have to play really well to win any tournament by seven shots,” he said. “I played really nicely that week and didn’t make many mistakes, which was key to my victory. If I can stay solid from tee to green, I don’t see why I can’t be in contention again.”

The Englishman’s Ryder Cup team-mates Graeme McDowell, Stephen Gallacher and Victor Dubuisson, together with captain Paul McGinley, are also in the field along with Yorkshire trio Danny Willett, Matt Fitzpatrick and Simon Dyson.

France’s Dubuisson followed up his success at Gleneagles with a string of top-five finishes, including a joint-second place alongside Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald at the DP World Tour Championship.

Three-time Asian Tour No 1 Thongchai Jaidee is also a two-time champion at this tournament.