Rory McIlroy will start the UBS Hong Kong Open as tournament favourite with Ladbrokes when the players tee off at the Hong Kong Golf Club on Thursday.

The Irishman has an excellent record in the tournament having finished runner-up twice in his first two visits and came in sixth place last year.

Ladbrokes have priced him at 5/1 going into the tournament, which he has to win to have any chance of overtaking Luke Donald in the Race to Dubai standings.

It seems McIlroy goes into every tournament he now plays as the favourite but I would be wary of backing him at such short odds.

Defending champion Ian Poulter is at 12/1, while his partner in last week’s Omega Mission Hills World Cup, Justin Rose, is at 10/1.

Italian prodigy Matteo Manassero is at 25/1. The youngster wowed the crowds here last year as he finished runner-up to Ian Poulter, after a final round 62.

As it has the biggest field of the weekend I would be tempted to go for a few longer odds each-way bets as Ladbrokes are paying out to sixth place.

This week I’m tempted to pick a couple of previous winners of the tournament who look to be finding some sort of form again.

Padraig Harrington hasn’t had the greatest of years but he did well in the Iskandor Johor Open a few weeks back and could have won had it gone the full 72 holes. Ladbrokes have him at 20/1 and if he has his game with him this week, you could be looking at a decent return on your money.

Miguel Angel Jiminez has taken the title here twice and you can never underestimate how valuable the kind of experience winning at a course can bring. He is at 25/1 with Ladbrokes and can’t be overlooked this week.

Two players who will be doing their utmost to make sure they qualify for the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World are Peter Lawrie and Christian Nilsson.

Both players are priced at 50/1 with Ladbrokes and of the two I’m tempted to go for Peter Lawrie, who has a decent track record here with a top ten finish in 2009.

UBS Hong Kong Open betting guide:

2pts each-way on Miguel Angel Jiminez @ 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each-way on Peter Lawrie @ 50/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each-way on Padraig Harrington @ 20/1 with Ladbrokes