While nobody could dispute either Rory’s ability or course credentials, having finished runner-up in the last two renewals, bookies are giving nothing away. It is impossible to make a case on value grounds for taking 9/1 about a player with just two pro wins to his name, especially when facing such stiff competition at the head of the market.
After feeling so confident about Martin Kaymer winning the Race to Dubai, I must confess G-Mac has me scared. He has improved massively this season, playing as well as anyone since May, and has no worries about this course having made the last three top-20s here. The only thing deterring me from a bet is the first single-figure quote of his top-level career.
Watching his strong finish at Sentosa, Jimenez struck me as a likely pick for this event, which he’s already won twice before. I was expecting to get at least six points higher than his 14/1 quote though, so am reluctantly looking elsewhere.
Despite a disappointing missed cut last week, Schwartzel remains on my winter shortlist. He’s finished 11th and eighth in the last two Hong Kong renewals and has improved since.
Typically for these co-sanctioned affairs, Jaidee’s tournament record is exemplary. He’s made the top 20 in each of the last five years, thrice inside the top seven. He’s bound to be there or thereabouts again.
Bourdy has been relentlessly consistent since winning this title last year, making his last 22 cuts and registering ten top 25s. Surprisingly though, all of that good work has occured away from the front page of the leaderboard, so the Frenchman could be overdue a place payout back at a course that obviously suits.
I was expecting more from Noh during this recent ‘Asian Swing’ than he’s produced, but he remains a serious contender on any Asian layout. This will be his course debut.
Had he not surprisingly missed the cut when carrying our cash at Sentosa, Dyson would have made the shortlist. He’s registered four top 15s at Fanling, including eighth last year.
Kjeldsen ticks several boxes. He’s in good form with top 25s on four of his last six starts, including a pair of top threes, and has twice made the top six here. The emphasis on accurate iron play and good putting is ideal.
Lawrie is another shortish hitter with ideal conditions. The Irishman is bang in form, contending strongly in Europe twice last month, and finished seventh and 25th in the last two Hong Kong renewals.
Y E YANG
Top 25s on two of his last three starts suggest Yang is on the way back after an awful summer. He didn’t show enough on any of three previous Hong Kong visits to warrant support, though.
JEEV MILKHA SINGH
Singh has spent recent weeks involved in money-list skirmishes, either on the PGA Tour or the Race to Dubai. Unless a very big week earns him a ticket to Dubai, he may regret not restricting his ambitions to one continent. Nevertheless, he’s in fair form with consecutive top 20s, and did finish third here in 2006.
Wood confirmed he retains his best summer form with a good bookend performance to make the top ten at Sentosa, and bookies have responded by halving his odds for this course debut. The value may have gone.
The only previous Asian winner of this title is not without a shout at 100/1, after finishing third to Padraig Harrington on his penultimate start in the fairly well-contested Johor Open.
Monty may not be quite the no-hoper implied by odds of 110/1. Placed 25th last week and 11th at the Johor Open were both respectable results, and suggest he’s recapturing some form after all the distractions of Ryder Cup captaincy. He lacks the power to contend on many courses nowadays, but shouldn’t have any problem at Fanling, where he won in 2005 and has never missed the top 30.
2010 STATS: +15pts
LONG-TERM ALREADY ADVISED
5pts MARTIN KAYMER TO WIN THE RACE TO DUBAI @ 9/1