Paul Williams' tips for the 2010 Maybank Malaysian Open:
Off to Malaysia this week for the 11th outing for this event on the European Tour, although the tournament has been running for nearly 50 years altogether across other Tours. As with many of these lower-profile events, the depth of quality in the field is quite low and there will be some unknown locals taking part. In terms of a betting opportunity, the cream tends to rise to the top and the bookies have priced this up accordingly.
Last year's winner Anthony Kang (albeit at a different course) is a massive 150-1 to retain his title with Totesport (up to £60 free bets via this link); we also have 2 players bidding for a hat-trick of Malaysian Open wins: Thongchai Jaidee (10-1 with Expekt.com, open an account via this link) and Arjun Atwal (80-1 with Ladbrokes, click here for a £10 free bet). The final previous winner taking part is Scotland's Alastair Forsyth who won back in 2002 - if you fancy him to repeat that feat then snap up the 225-1 on offer from Stan James (£25 free bet via this link).
This tournament hops around a bit in terms of venue - this year we're at the Kuala Lumpur G&CC, worth noting that this isn't the same course as last year. The last time we played at this venue was the rain-reduced 2006 tournament won by Charlie Wi at 19 under par; the results from the 2006 tournament have been added to the predictor as a variable which you may wish to consider.
The course has been renovated somewhat in the meantime, however one thing's for sure - you'll need to have your scoring shoes on to compete here! Putting and birdie making are critical as a score of circa 22-under is likely to be required to win. Water is the main hazard here with 13 holes carrying a threat; other than that it's pretty straightforward. Hot and humid conditions with brief (thundery) showers and low winds expected. The course isn't long at exactly 7,000 yards par 72, featuring 2 eminently reachable par 5s plus another 4 par 4s under 400 yards.
I've up-weighted history in this tournament, putting, scoring average and a bit of form to get to my final predictor output. Here's my tips:
Thongchai Jaidee 4pts Win 10/1 @ Expekt.com. RESULT: T7
If you fancy Jaidee to win this then grab the 10/1 on offer now - I suspect this will be 8/1 or thereabouts if the Post or Dave Tindall tips him. Jaidee has won this tournament twice, plus was runner-up behind Charlie Wi on this course in 2006 - he'll be very keen to get his hat-trick this week. Lost out to eventual winner Ian Poulter at the WGC Match Play, taking Poults to his closest finish that week. On top of this, Jaidee ranks 6th on Tour this season for putts per round at 27.7 The predictor has Jaidee head and shoulders above the field, suggesting a 3-4 shot victory.
David Horsey 1pt EW 33/1@ Bet Fred. RESULT: T60
If Jaidee doesn't win then Englishman Horsey could be there to jump in and save the day. Another who ranks very well for putting, averaging 27.3 putts per round this season (2nd) and in good form with 4 top 20s in his last 5 starts, including tip 10s in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Came second in this tournament last year and twice a winner on Tour already, Horsey will be going for a hat-trick of his own this week. Bet Fred also offer a free bet to the value of your losing bet if your player loses in a play-off - so there's a bit of an insurance policy to boot!
Rick Kulacz 1pt EW 50/1@ Totesport. RESULT: Missed Cut
Big things are expected of Aussie Kulacz. Another who bases his game on the flat stick and sits in the top 10 for the season on both putting stats. Current form is solid too - a 4th at the Africa Open (shooting -17) backed up by a T21 and a T14 in his last 2 outings suggests further improvement.
Alejandro Canizares 2pts 10/1 Top 10 Finish @ Stan James. RESULT: T14
Canizares has been out of action for the last month or so, however was in decent enough form before that with 3 top-25 finishes in 5 starts, including a top 10 at the JBWere Masters. Canizares has been putting well this season to date and currently sits in 4th place for putts per GIR and averages 28 putts per round, albeit over a relatively small number of rounds. Has the pedigree and the ability to compete here for a top 10 finish in my view.
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at time of publishing (11.30GMT 2.3.10) but subject to fluctuation.