Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 08:32 03/02/2015
The next stop on the European Tour, is the co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open, which returns again to the Kuala Lumpur Golf And Country Club. This venue has played host to this event since 2010, (also previously hosted the 2006 renewal), as well as hosting the CIMB Classic on the PGA Tour for the last two years. The 6,967yd Par 72 layout is a parkland style layout, set in stunning scenery, and water comes into play on 13 of the holes, so big numbers can be made. The finishing stretch features some exciting short Par 4s, so expect plenty of thrills and spills this week. Although short accurate ball strikers like Charlie Wi and Matteo Mannasero have previously won here, I still think this is a power hitters type of track, particularly if the course softens up. Very hot and sultry conditions, with the usual threat of possible thunderstorms are forecast for the tournament.
The market is headed by defending champion Lee Westwood, who won last years renewal by seven shots. He made his 2015 debut last week in Dubai, where after mixing it for a while with Rory Mcilroy on the front nine in the final round, he finished rather weakly to finish Tied 9th. Despite his obvious love for this layout, and the fact he plays and putts particularly well in Asia (his only other 2014 win was gained in the Thailand Golf Championship), he is a player who I could not support at such a prohibitive price.
Hopefully I can pinpoint some better value selections to back up our 7-2 winning nap on Rory Mcillroy, who duly trotted up with relative ease for us last week in Dubai. The column also narrowly missed out with our Ryan Palmer 35-1 fancy in the Waste Management Open on the PGA Tour, but still netted a tidy each-way return on the bet.
My nap this week, goes to the very much in form Bernd Wiesberger, who has contended in all three of the recent high quality Desert Swing events. His form stats of Tied 6th, 3rd, and Tied 4th over this stretch; where his tee to green play was of the highest quality, shows the big hitting Austrian is close to returning to the winners circle. He also boasts course form at this track, having finished Tied 2nd here last year and has shown in the past that he is very comfortable playing in Asia, having lost his maiden tag in the 2012 Ballantines Championship in Korea and also winning the 2013 Indonesian Masters. If his sometimes wayward putter behaves, he must have every chance of his third Tour win.
Another fancy is the smooth swinging Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, who has shown a welcome return to form in his last two outings. He finished Tied 5th in Qatar, and Tied 13th in Dubai last week, and has decent form at this track, having finished Tied 11th and Tied 18th in his last two starts here. He putts these grainy greens particularly well, so expect another prominent show from the likeable Frenchman this week.
At a bigger price, I fancy the unpredictable Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal to go well this week. He has shown gradual improvement in his three starts this year, but posted a more promising Tied 20th place finish in Dubai. He likes this venue, having finished Tied 6th here in 2013, and Tied 8th last year, so on a course that obviously suits his eye, he could well continue his progress,and contend this week.
Bernd Wiesberger 12/1 E/W Ladbrokes
Gregory Bourdy 33/1 E/W Coral
Pablo Larrazabal 40-1 E/W Bet365