Rowe seeks ticket to Europe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 February, 1999, 12:00am

Hong Kong's Scott Rowe is hoping a new putting technique, which guided him to fourth place in last week's London Burma Open, will help clinch a three-year ticket to the PGA European Tour with victory in this week's Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open.

The 23-year-old Rowe, tipped for stardom after a great amateur career, underlined his potential with a final-round 68 in the Burma Open, which opened this season's Asian PGA Tour.

Rowe, the winner of the Maekyung Korean Open during his rookie year in 1998, credited the great start to the season to his new cross-handed putting stroke. 'The new putting stroke came about by accident,' said Rowe. 'I was on a flight in the United States over Christmas when I read in a golf magazine how putting cross handed helped Vijay Singh last year [to win the the PGA Championship].

'I thought I would try it out for a few tournaments and it certainly helped. It felt strange at first but the putts roll a lot better - if I miss now I miss well.' Rowe, who has confidence in all aspects of his game at the moment, said that winning this week in a field that includes world number eight Lee Westwood, European number two Darren Clarke and Asian stars Frankie Minoza and Jeev Milkha Singh would be a shortcut to the top.

'If I win I can play in Europe for the next three years - I would take a couple of weeks off to celebrate,' he said. 'It's a really big week and I am up for it.' Hong Kong's Dominique Boulet, who will be in the same flight as Rowe, is also on form and looking for a good finish in the first co-sanctioned event between the Asian PGA and the PGA European Tour.

'I came on to a game in the final two rounds last week [in Burma] with scores of 67 and 70,' said Boulet, who finished joint 24th. 'I am looking forward to playing - it will be really challenging.'