Malaysia’s Arie Irawan hopes marital bliss will translate into happiness on the golf course when he plays in the inaugural Sarawak Championship, which starts at the beachside Damai Golf & Country Club near Kuching on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Arie married sweetheart Marina Malek in May and his wife will be on his bag this week at the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament. The couple hopes to repeat the chemistry they shared on the PGA Tour China Series last month which resulted in a tied fourth finish.
“I’m a bit more relaxed (since getting married in May). Marina doesn’t know much about golf but if I make a bad score she will say ‘it is okay, it is okay’.
“She keeps me calm, relaxed and happy so I just go out there and play golf. That helps me a lot. She has always been there for me through the bad and good times” said Arie, who is part of a strong Malaysian challenge this week along with the likes of Asian Tour winners Nicholas Fung, Ben Leong and Airil Rizman
“It’s good to have the opportunity for Malaysians to play a new event on the Asian Tour. Sarawak is where I was born (in Miri). This is a little bit like home and it is always nice for the international golfers to see a different part of Malaysia. Most of our events are in Kuala Lumpur so it’s good for players to see what East Malaysia has to offer” noted Arie.
Arie played at the Damai course on the ADT last year and finished in tied eighth place. “The course suits my eye and I know how it sets up and what to expect. I know what this golf course offers and hopefully I do the best I can,” he noted.
Arie enjoyed his best season on the ADT in 2015 where he won two titles before finishing in sixth place on the Order of Merit to earn an Asian Tour card for the following season. He struggled in 2016 after getting involved in a moped accident which left him with metal plates in his shoulder and out of the game for several months, but made a strong comeback last year and won the local PGM Tour’s season-ending Maybank Players Championship.