This week, the European Tour heads to Asia for the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The tournament carries a greater prize pool this year, and the strength of the field reflects this increase.
Among those making the trip to Malaysia are world number three Luke Donald and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
Schwartzel’s compatriot Louis Oosthuizen won the tournament last year, but he’s opted to take a week off instead of coming back to defend.
At 6,967, the golf course isn’t long, and if players can avoid the numerous water hazards, low scoring will be prevalent.
Unsurprisingly, Donald is 4/1 favourite with Labrokes, closely followed by Schwartzel at 5/1, but there is plenty of value on offer this week.
Matteo Manassero, at 14/1 with Ladbrokes, is rightfully one of the favourites this week. The 19-year-old is proficient in humid Asian conditions and he’ll have great memories of this event, winning his second professional title here in 2011 and following it up with a top ten a year later. He comes into the tournament off the back of four top 25s in his last five starts, and the Italian will be looking to push on again this week.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, can’t be ignored in Malaysia. He finished fourth in Kuala Lumpur in 2011 and third last year, ranking inside the top three in Stroke Average, Driving Accuracy and Putts Per G.I.R. The Spaniard struggled at the WGC-Cadillac, but he’s recorded four top-25 finishes in six starts this season.
David Howell, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes, is one to keep an eye on this week. The popular Englishman has made a fine start to the season, notching two top 10s and two top 25s in just five starts. He tends to play good golf outside of Europe and his confidence will be extremely high after his recent resurgence. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Howell ended his six-year winning hiatus this week.
Little-known Kiradech Aphibarnrat, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good option this week. The Thai golfer has enjoyed a stellar start to 2012, finishing third at the Asian Tour’s Myanmar Open, winning Asian International Open Qualifying and recording his best European Tour finish, a tie for 4th, at last week’s Avantha Masters. He also came fourth at the Maybank Malaysian Open in 2010.
Soren Kjeldsen, at 100/1 with Ladbrokes, is decent each way bet this week. The Dane’s game is perfectly suited to this golf course, and he’ll be looking forward to returning after posting two top-13 finishes in the last two years. Kjeldsen is also playing some solid golf at the moment, and he’s broken par in seven of his last eight rounds.
Maybank Malaysian Open advised bets:
2pts each way on Matteo Manassero at 14/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Rafa Cabrera-Bello at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on David Howell at 50/1 with Labrokes
2pts each way on Kiradech Aphibarnrat at 50/1 Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Soren Kjeldsen at 100/1 with Ladbrokes