Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Maybank Malaysian Open 2014

Well, that's Augusta all done for another twelve months and yet another Masters where I've come up short in backing a winner. Yes, I did back Kuchar & Westwood, two players proven to fall short time and time again on Sunday and after yet another disappointing final round from both players, I think its time to leave them be. That said, Lee Westwood e/w at those odds couldn't be ignored and he did come up just short for the place money. Augusta though, did show once again its very much one of those "horses for courses" venue, where Freddie Couples once again along with Bubba, Westwood, even Jim Furyk, and Olazabal showed they can still compete on this course. Noted for TOP10 picks next year- never write off the 'aul fellas ! But a word on Bubba....what a win, he was well ssured on Sunday and those two matching birdies on 4 &6 to Spieth's proved to be the settling scores as he played a magnficent driving game thereafter and provided the most anti-climatic Masters for quite awhile. he was bundle of nerves on Saturday and I genuinely thought he would implode again on Sunday especially alongside Spieth, but I suppose in hindsight, the fact that it was Spieth who he has a good rapport win proved pivotal. Well done Bubba Watson.

So, with the PGA off to Hilton Head on Thursday, the Europeantour heads to Asia for the Malaysian Open where Aphibarnrat defends the title he won in a storm affected 54 hole tournament last March. Kiradech has fantastic form on this course and is a player to consider again but I've looked beyond him this week and taken players paying decent prices. I wouldn't put anyone off backing Messrs Westwood and Oosthuizen who have arrived via Augusta as Oosty managed to win here having lost to a playoff at Augusta to Bubba two years ago and Matteo Manassero edged out Rory McIlroy in 2010, the Northern Irishman arriving having "blown" the Masters the previous week. If any sort of conclusion can be made from the performances of those competing having played a tough Masters the week before, is that, possibly the cream truly are too strong for the field here. However, I think the quality of field from the European Tour contingent is stronger this year and its the regular tour players I'm looking at to do better than their Asian counterparts.

I'm backing 3 players to win this week, of which one has won here in Kuala Lumpur before. Matteo Manassero is a young golfer who has multiple wins under his belt already and he saw off Rory McIlroy here in 2010 in winning this title and he can repeat again. Recent ventures on the PGA Tour should stand him well despite missed cuts on the last two events(Augusta really doesn't suit). The course this week, where he obviously has form on, is a course that suits greatly. Not a long course, but a course that does reward accuracy from tee to green and the Italian can on his 4th visit here add to that win, a 7th and 17th finish. At 25/1 he is a bet for me.

I've kept Tommy Fleetwood onside this week for four main reasons. 1. His accurate tee to green game 2. The wind factor 3. Course form. 4. Price ! The first 2 reasons should tick the boxes fairly ok , whilst his course form is based purely on last years effort of 11th (over 54 holes). He MC the year previously. Tommy went off the boil a bit back in February but he's well rested now and will be anxious to get going again. He excels on par-5 scoring and his win at Gleneagles shows he's well up for competing in weather conditions and against a quality field. He's simply over-priced for me again at 70/1 and I cannot leave him out at that price any week on courses where he can go well.

My third pick is Frenchman, Gregory Bourdy. He too was T11th alongside Fleetwood 12 months ago and is also visiting here for the 4th successive year having finished 44th & 2nd(2011). Clearly, he too likes the course and having produced three TOP20s in his last 5 starts, Bourdy, no stranger to winning either, could be a real prospect @ 50/1


Staking Plan ( 6 units)

1 pt e/w M.Manassero @ 25/1
1 pt e/w T.Fleetwood @ 70/1
1 pt e/w G.Bourdy @ 50/1