The UBS Hong Kong Open is one of two tournaments being staged in the penultimate week of the 2012 European Tour season.
Rory McIlroy – who wrapped up the Race to Dubai title with a third-place finish in Singapore last week – will defend, but the emphasis will be on tour survival.
Only the top 115 and ties on the money list earn their full card for the 2013 season, with a number of big names, including Rhys Davies and Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson, currently outside the mark.
They will need to keep the ball in play at the Hong Kong Golf Club to have any chance of moving up the standings. The course, at 6,734 yards, isn’t the longest, but course management, accuracy and a tidy short game will all be demonstrated in abundance by the eventual winner.
McIlroy, unsurprisingly, is the overwhelming favourite this week at 5/2 with Ladbrokes, but his short odds mean others are well priced.
Paul Casey, at 20/1 with Ladbrokes, is one of the form players in the field. He hasn’t finished outside the top ten in his last four starts, including a tie for fifth at the ISPS Handa Perth International and a tie for sixth the following week at the BMW Masters. He will be determined to move up 14 places in the Race to Dubai standings, breach the top 60 and earn a ticket to the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
Simon Dyson, at 33/1 with Ladbrokes, is worth keeping an eye on this week. The Englishman has enjoyed a solid if unspectacular season, and will be looking to finish with aplomb. He played some good golf last week en route to a top-25 finish at the Barclays Singapore Open, and his game is perfectly suited to this golf course. Indeed, he finished second at Fanling in 2010, eighth in 2009 and 15th in 2008.
David Howell is well priced this week at 66/1 with Ladbrokes. The former European Ryder Cup player is currently 61st in the Race to Dubai standings, just €15,000 away from a starting berth at next week’s season finale. He is in decent form, as he showed with a top-five finish at the ISPS Handa Perth International, and his relative lack of distance off the tee won’t be an issue at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Soren Kjeldsen, at 80/1 with Ladbrokes, also looks good value this week. The Dane has quietly amassed €653,436 this season, and is comfortably inside the top 60 in the Race to Dubai. He has made seven consecutive cuts, including a top-20 at the BMW Masters, and his Driving Accuracy, Greens in Regulation and Putts Per G.I.R. stats point to someone who is a good match for the golf course.
Gary Boyd, at 150/1 with Ladbrokes, is worth an each way bet this week. The young Englishman has taken two weeks off in preparation for the most significant tournament of his season. He is currently 125th in the Race to Dubai, and will know nothing short of a top-10 finish will be good enough to retain his playing privileges for 2013.
UBS Hong Kong Open advised bets:
2pts each way on Paul Casey at 20/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Simon Dyson at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on David Howell at 66/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Soren Kjeldsen at 80/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Gary Boyd at 150/1 with Ladbrokes