Leong set for comeback at Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters after back injury

Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: Malaysia’s Ben Leong will make a long-awaited comeback from injury at the Asian Tour’s Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters next month, the tournament which catapulted him to fame five years ago.

The 26-year-old recently started hitting golf balls in his hometown of Kota Kinabalu after nearly a year on the sidelines to recuperate from a back problem. He will line-up alongside the stars from the region for the RM1.2 million (approximately US$400,000) tournament at Seri Selangor Golf Club from June 20-23, 2013.

“The back is good. It’s getting better and stronger. I didn’t hit a golf ball for over 10 months and I have just started hitting balls again last week. So far, so good. The swing and the way I’m hitting it is still okay,” said Leong.

The talented Malaysian claimed his lone Asian Tour victory at Seri Selangor in 2008 when he defeated Thai great Thongchai Jaidee in a head-to-head duel. However, he struggled to reproduce his winning form in subsequent seasons before being hampered by his back problem.

“I basically suffered a prolapsed disc, or what they commonly call a bulging disc between my L4 and L5. I spent some time in Perth seeing a physiotherapist to work on various exercises to strengthen my back.

“This injury isn’t common for golfers my age, but thankfully I didn’t have to go through an operation.

“Before I knew what the problem was, the back would get really stiff and tight when I was playing. I always got really tired and fatigued. It was only later that I checked it out and found out about the bulging discs,” said Leong.

He plans to compete in a local PGM Tour tournament in the week leading up to the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters as a warm-up.

“I kind of feel nervous but excited at the same time. Not playing golf for so long made me realise how much I miss playing the game and how much I love playing. I realised that if I don’t play, what else am I going to do? I don’t see myself getting a job! Playing golf is something that I love doing,” he said.

“During my layoff, I was hanging out with friends and going through my physio and fitness work to stay fit. I was watching all the golf on TV and seeing the guys win on the Asian Tour. I have missed competing and hanging out with the guys.

“You don’t feel good when you can’t play … it’s tough to not play.”
Leong knows his road back to the winner’s enclosure will be long and winding.

“I don’t have a good status on Tour so I’ll be looking to play in the PGM Tour events and trying to get into the Asian Development Tour events as well to work my way back into the game. I think it will take a while to find my game.”

Leong said his family, especially his father NC, has been fully supportive during his layoff. “He’s been very optimistic about the future. Even when things are not going well, he is always thinking positively.”

Worldwide Holdings, a 100 per cent subsidiary of PKNS – the development arm of the state of Selangor – will title sponsor the Selangor Masters for the sixth successive year. The state-linked company has an impressive portfolio of businesses which include property development and investment, environmental management services and investment holding in Selangor. 

The weekend rounds of the tournament will be telecast live on the Asian Tour’s global platform which reaches over 200 countries and 650 million homes.