Pressure off Levy after maiden win

Simon Thornton, Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin and Peter Lawrie lead Irish challenge

Alexander Levy celebrates after winning the 2014 Volvo China Open. The Frenchman says the pressure is off now, ahead of  The Championship at Laguna National in Singapore. Photograph:  Ian Walton/Getty Images

Alexander Levy celebrates after winning the 2014 Volvo China Open. The Frenchman says the pressure is off now, ahead of The Championship at Laguna National in Singapore. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 16:43

The European Tour’s latest winner believes the pressure is now off as he seeks back-to-back victories at The Championship at Laguna National.

Frenchman Alexander Levy won the Volvo China Open on Sunday to claim his first Tour title and is hoping he can get over that exertion as the competition moves to Singapore.

“I lost a lot of energy in the last tournament because it was tough with the pressure,” he told the European Tour website. “But it’s nice because I played well and I want to continue to play well.

“You want to carry it on into the next few weeks. I want to get straight back on to the course and try to do the same job.”

He added: “This week I don’t have the same pressure as I have had over the last few months. It’s a new thing for me to be a winner on the Tour, but my game doesn’t change.

“My position in the rankings has changed, and maybe the tournaments I can play, but not my game. I need to continue to progress and do the same job I did last week again.”

The Irish interest will be in Simon Thornton, Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin and Peter Lawrie, but the man Levy will be looking to dethrone as champion is Australian Brett Rumford, the same person he took the title off in China last week. Rumford won the tournaments back-to-back last season, although they were played the other way round with this week’s tournament also taking place in South Korea.

That means Rumford will be defending his title not only on a different course but in a different country to the one in which he won it last term.

“No matter where it is — the China Open was also held in a different location - it is nice to defend,” he said. “Obviously it is a shame that it’s not back at a course where I won, but I’ve played well around here before and I’m looking forward to it.

“The course in Korea really suited my game and I really enjoyed it. There were plenty of birdies to be made and it was a wedges golf course. The emphasis wasn’t on driving in Korea. This is a different course, but it is my second week back before the run heading into Europe.

“I’ve not played that much this year, so this is a stepping stone. It’s great to defend, but this is probably more a case of warming up and getting match practice in.”

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger won this title in 2012 and comes into the tournament on the back of a joint second-placed finish at the Maybank Malaysian Open in his last Tour event.

“I’ve been looking forward to the Asian swing,” he said. “I’ve always played well over here and that is what I’ve done that last two weeks, finishing second in KL and 10th last week in Indonesia (on the Asian Tour).

“So the form is alright, I’ve been making some birdies, and let’s hope I can continue doing that this week.”

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