As we approach the final stages of the European Tour season, we remain in the East once again. Ian Poulter defends his trophy this week, however the format of the tournament has changed since its inaugural appearance on the European Tour last November - we've increased from 156 to 204 entrants and we're playing over 2 courses on Thursday and Friday as opposed to just the one course as we did last year.
The 2 courses are separated by a large wooded hill and sit to the south of Singapore, just inland from the sea, and are best described as parkland courses. Tree-lined and with ponds, creeks and lakes in abundance, the wayward will be punished here and some of the landing areas are really quite tight, however with large greens to find this should suit longer, more accurate types from the tee who can handle the slick Bermuda greens.
With over 200 players in the field there are some unknown quantities from the Asian Tour to contend with, plus a number of top class entrants including Major winners Kaymer, Mickelson, Harrington & McDowell...picking a winner out of this is going to be a challenge, however with such a large field comes some juicy prices! Handling Bermuda greens isn't everyone's cup of tea so I've taken inspiration from the Bermuda green-based tournaments in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai and India from the last few seasons to get down to a shortlist given the lack of relevant course form for the likely contenders. My tips for the week then are as follows:
The World number 3 starts this event as favourite largely due to his 3 successive wins before 2 disappointing results in Spain and China when the pressure of potentially hitting the top spot finally took its toll. With no Westwood this week to content with, Mickelson off the boil somewhat and Tiger playing in Australia, perhaps this is the opportunity that the German needs to get back to winning ways.
If you look past his 3 wins at Whistling Straits, St Andrews and in Holland then you'll see some solid form earlier in the season which also bodes well for this event - his win in Abu Dhabi was on a similar green type as was his 4th place finish in Dubai; in fact his last 6 attempts at those tournaments boasts finishes of 1/2/1/4/4/2 - this boy can play on this type of surface! With the pressures of the last few weeks now dissipating I feel this could be Kaymer's week to shine once again and, by placing the bet with 888 Sport if you're a new customer, you'll get your stake refunded up to £20 if he doesn't win. RESULT: T10
Robert Karlsson 1.5pts EW 40/1 with £25 free bet - click here to claim now.
I'm going to stick with Karlsson again this week after he disappointed in China - I think he's still got a win left in him this season and he's playing some cracking golf without getting the results it deserves. His win in Qatar was on a similar surface and his 4th place in Dubai in 2009 is also a positive; 3 weeks off following his runners-up finish in Portugal may have meant he was missing a little bit of sharpness in China, however I'm expecting him to push on this week and grab a top-5 finish at least. RESULT: M/C
Miguel Angel Jimenez 1.5pts EW 40/1 with Up to £200 in free bets via this link: Bet 365 £215 Free Bets
The Spaniard has had his most successful season in terms of wins since 2004 with 3 successes to date - one more would send his season into orbit! He's playing with the nonchalant ease and comfort that comes with such success and it would not surprise me at all to see him back in the mix once again this week. Understandably tired after 4 gruelling days at Valderrama, Jimenez limped to a 41st place finish in China breaking par only once in 4 days, however this should suit his accurate game much more than last week and his putting is well proven on Bermuda with multiple victories on the surface, including in Dubai earlier this term. RESULT: T8
Singh has some strong finishes on this type of track in his locker, plus has shown some interesting positive form in the last few weeks with a couple of top 20s in the US plus a tie for 14th at Valderrama on his last start. I can't see him winning this, however a top 10 or ties would be good enough to guarantee us a profit overall for our 10 points. RESULT: T16
If you like this kind of bet then you must check out my top 20 tips (183% profit last week!) here: Top 20 Tips
Spread betting tips
I've also been looking at some of the spread betting markets available for this week and I think there's some cracking opportunities out there:
If you're new to spread betting the essentially this bet is predicting that Hansen will finish better than 51st position - for every place he finishes better than 51st you get your unit stake multiplied by the number of places; if you're wrong then the maximum payout is 19 points as the maximum make-up is 70. The rationale for Hansen is strong - in his last 9 attempts in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai he's finished outside of the top 42 only once; he's finished inside the top 40 in 4 of his last 5 events and is showing some good, progressive form. Currently sits 59th on the Race to Dubai he'll also be motivated to give his all for 4 days. RESULT: M/C
Similar to Hansen, Jaidee has only finished outside the top 34 twice in the 9 events mentioned above, plus he finished 14th here last year. His 9th place finish in Portugal is positive recent form and I suspect he'll be well inside the top 40 here for a good return. RESULT: T25
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 20:15GMT 9.11.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.