Self-talker Mardan gets better with age

Sentosa, June 1: The next time you see Mardan Mamat talking to himself, don’t worry as he’s not going mad. He’s only motivating himself to get better in a game which is becoming younger by the day.

The Singaporean veteran, who is 47 years young, claimed a fifth Asian Tour victory at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open over the weekend, which was his third triumph in his 40s and second within the space of six months.

“I’ve improved a lot on my mental game. I talk a lot to myself to motivate myself to play well.” – MardanHis terrific success in recent times, which is ironic as he had contemplated quitting the game last season owing to a lack of success, shows the old brigade are still very much capable of going toe-to-toe with the young guns.

Thai star Thaworn Wiratchant has led by example by winning 10 times in his 40s and currently holds the most victories on the Asian Tour with 18 wins under his belt while countryman Thongchai Jaidee is another living legend where at 45, he ranks in the world’s top-40.

Khalin Joshi of India

Khalin Joshi of India

And now, there is also Mardan, who is becoming like vintage wine as he gets better with age.

“I’ve improved a lot on my mental game. I talk a lot to myself to motivate myself to play well,” revealed Mardan, who held off Khalin Joshi of India and Soomin Lee of Korea, whose combined ages of 23 and 21 respectively falls short of Mardan’s age.

Wearing his trademark final day lucky yellow shirt, Mardan was rock steady as he maintained his reputation as a solid frontrunner and has now won four times while leading into the final day.

He is quick to acknowledge the inspirational support of his wife, Naz who literally scolded him when he mulled quitting life on Tour last year before an emotional victory at the Resorts World Manila Masters in November.

“I’ve proven myself wrong for wanting to quit before my win in the Philippines. I have to credit my wife who told me that I love this game so much that I mustn’t walk away from it,” said Mardan.

“She always inspires me and feeds me with positive thoughts. I talked to her (before the final round) and she sent me a message, saying ‘You are the champion, you are the winner and you are the man’,” he added.

A winner’s cheque of US$54,000 has propelled Mardan up to eighth place on the latest Asian Tour’s Order of Merit with a season’s haul of US$138,269. His immediate goal is to finish inside the top-five by the end of 2015 while his longer aim is to maintain his fitness and game for attempt at the US Champions Tour when he turns 50.

“I’m going to be 50 in two years’ time so I want to keep myself fit and play competitively on the Asian Tour. When I turn 50 I hope to compete on the Seniors Tour,” he said.

“Now I’m not thinking about ending my career. I want to stay fit and win as many titles as I can. This is a game which I love a lot. This win is extra special because Singapore celebrates 50 years (of independence) this year and I hope it will inspire the youngsters in Singapore.”

Joshi, rated amongst India’s next wave of young talents, was disappointed he did not push Mardan all the way before finishing two shots behind the champion.

“I’m disappointed with my result but not my game. To be honest, I expected to win. My putter let me down,” he said.

“I don’t have an Asian Tour card yet so hopefully this result will give me a boost. It gets me into the next Asian Tour event so I hope to do well there,” added the Indian, whose joint runner-up cheque of US$25,950 has pushed him up to 35th place on the latest rankings.

“This first runner-up finish is a huge confidence booster. Hopefully I will get a win under my belt. I’m working on my game and I’m seeing the results. I like how I’m progressing.”

Asian Tour Order of Merit (Top-20)

Pos Player Earnings (US$)

1. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) $772,300

2. Andrew DODT (AUS) $366,319

3. Scott HEND (AUS) $258,781

4. S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) $229,639

5. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) $207,670

6. Richard T. LEE (CAN) $205,019

7. Paul PETERSON (USA) $154,055

8. Mardan MAMAT (SIN) $138,269

9. Marcus FRASER (AUS) $115,771

10. Carlos PIGEM (ESP) $114,432

11. Wade ORMSBY (AUS) $109,700

12. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) $109,605

13. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) $106,800

14.  Jason KNUTZON (USA) $96,723

15. Nathan HOLMAN (AUS) $90,189

16. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $84,933

17. Mithun PERERA (SRI) $83,218

18. Jeunghun WANG (KOR) $83,124

19. Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) $71,785

20. Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) $64,155

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.