Zhang Lianwei believes home advantage will be a key factor for Asian players when the Maybank Malaysian Open tees off today. He cites the heat, course conditions and even food as the key factors that point towards another Asian success. Only one European Tour player - Scotland's Alistair Forsyth in 2002 - has won the event since it became co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours in 1999. 'More Asians are playing better in co-sanctioned events,' said Zhang, 40. 'As for Malaysia, the spectators, weather and food are the main reasons why Asians always play well here. 'The heat is a factor and Asian players are used to it. Asians are more determined to play well in these events and we adapt better to the heat.' This week's US$1.25 million Malaysian Open - once gain promoted by Parallel Media Asia - is being played for the first time at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Zhang believes the club's lush par-72 West Course will also suit the Asian Tour regulars. 'Malaysia is a special place and this is a special course,' he said. 'There are a lot of water hazards out there and the rough is also going to be very challenging. 'The key factor is the putting. The greens here are a lot different from those in Europe and the US. This could well benefit the Asian players.' Zhang's views were echoed by Asian number one Thaworn Wiratchant. 'This course suits Asian players and I think Asians will be among the top contenders,' said the Thai star, winner of last year's Asian Tour Order of Merit. 'The overall scores will be relatively low on this course and I predict the winning score will be around 18 under.' Zhang, Thaworn and two-time defending champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand face a stiff challenge to keep the title in Asia. Ireland's Padraig Harrington - winner of two US PGA Tour events last year - leads a strong European contingent that also includes Ryder Cup star Miguel Angel Jimenez and Welshman Stephen Dodd.