In the early days of co-sanctioning, Asian players used to enjoy a considerable advantage here because of the extreme humidity. It would seem though that the European contingent have since learnt the art of acclimatisation. The last time the event came to Saujana in 2007, the top six places were filled by Europeans. Simon Dyson is the shortest price amongst them, understandably so given his record in the region. I’d rather look elsewhere though, seeing as Dyson has so frequently let me and other supporters down when offered winning chances over the last couple of years.
I prefer the chances of Italy’s FRANCESCO MOLINARI, another who has become rather frustrating but who is available at better odds and seems likelier to enjoy a change of luck soon. His greens in regulation stats have been outstanding for the last six months, and having made the top-10 on his last two visits to Malaysia, would appear to have ideal conditions once again. On the temperament issue, while I fully accept the jury remains out, I can vividly recall his nerveless, front-running performance to win the 2006 Italian Masters, when carrying all sorts of pressure in front of his home crowd. Still only 26, Molinari shouldn’t be written off as a bottler just yet.
None of the other classier Europeans make much appeal on this course. Johan Edfors remains a player to keep a keen eye on despite missing the cut in Dubai, but has never really seemed the type to be ideally suited by a positional course such as this. Similar comments apply to sometimes birdie machine Alex Noren. Nick Dougherty and Niclas Fasth have enough class to win this at their best, but haven’t shown it for some time.
On recent form, Louis Oosthuisen would be a banker for at least a place. The young South African’s last four European Tour finishes read 10/2/2/7, with the last three coming in much stronger fields. Once again though, I doubt this is his type of course and is making his first start in Malaysia so could be at a slight disadvantage with regard to the conditions. In contrast, Peter Hedblom has proved his liking for Malaysian conditions, winning in 2007 and finishing runner-up last year, but those results are more than factored into his odds, which are at least half of what they would be anywhere else in the world.