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Rumford relaxed ahead of title defence

Brett Rumford of Australia speaks to the media on the 13th tee ahead of the 2018 ISPS HANDA World Super 6 at Lake Karrinyup Country Club on February 6, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Brett Rumford of Australia speaks to the media on the 13th tee ahead of the 2018 ISPS HANDA World Super 6 at Lake Karrinyup Country Club on February 6, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Home favourite Brett Rumford is delighted to be defending a European Tour title again as he prepares to tee it up at this week’s ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth.

The Perth native created one of the stories of the season in 2017 when, after losing his playing privileges the previous campaign, he produced an emphatic performance to lead after all three days of stroke play and then take the title on a history-making Sunday.

That was his sixth European Tour title but first since the 2013 season when he won twice en route to a career-high finish of 17th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex. The innovative final day with its five-rounds of match play returns at Lake Karrinyup Country Club and with Rumford clearly comfortable with both the format and his surroundings, he is enjoying the trappings of being a home champion.

Englishman Lee Westwood is breaking new ground this week in Perth as he prepares to tee it up for the first time at the innovative event, with the PGA of Australia today announcing the introduction of PGA Open Mic, an initiative that will see Australasia players interact live with the commentary team as they play their round.

Westwood is playing in his 25th season on Tour with 23 wins from 515 appearances helping make him World Number One, Europe’s top player twice and bringing him seven Ryder Cup wins from ten times representing his continent.

With Westwood’s prowess in both formats of the game unquestionable, he arrives in Western Australia as one of the favourites and is raring to get a new challenge under way. He narrowly missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and Dubai but finished in a tie for 11th at last week’s Maybank Championship, with a sensational 62 on Friday putting him right in contention for European Tour win number 24.

Player Quotes

Brett Rumford: “After missing my card last year there was definitely a greater incentive to win this week but there’s winning and there’s also winning in front of your home state as well.

“That put greater pressure on me as well, so there’s a lot of factors that I was really proud of for winning last year. This year I feel as though there’s definitely a bit more pressure off the shoulders and I can just go out and just play. Hopefully my best golf can prevail again.

“You’ve just got to get your foot in the door. Once the match play rounds begin, it’s a bit like tennis; you’re not playing 154 other players all of a sudden, you’re just playing five rounds and you’ve got a championship.

“I’m not taking anything from last year. I played great golf and if I can replicate what I did last year in terms of my form coming into this event, then I’ll give myself another good chance of winning.

“Every player in this event, once the match play begins, is a threat. Six holes match play, if you get off to a slow start or someone gets off to a fast start – which every single player in this field is capable of doing – then you’re on the back foot.”

Lee Westwood: “I heard a lot about the format as well, sounds like an interesting format. I do well at stroke play and match play, so it’s nice to see somebody use their initiative and combine the two. I watched a little bit on TV last year and it looks like an exciting format.

“Lake Karrinyup’s a great golf course. I like the old traditional-style golf courses, tree-lined and great bunkering and lovely greens. Just seems a perfect fit.

“It seems like quite a fast format this week, I think it’s a format where you’ve got to adopt a more aggressive approach. It’s no good edging your way in. I think you’ve got to come out as fast as you can and obviously make the cut on Friday night, but then getting in that top 24, so you might as well be aggressive and go for everything.

“It’s just so fast and furious, six holes, that you probably won’t have that much time to think. So it’s just a case of coming out and hitting good shots early on and making putts and getting up and getting the momentum more than anything.”