Frazzled previews the 2016 Maybank Championship Malaysia and Alejandro Canizares is his main bet, with a few bets also on some bigger priced players in some of the side markets.
The Malaysian Open is no longer, after losing the sponsorship of Maybank. However, bizarrely, we now have the Maybank Championship Malaysia, based in Kuala Lumpar, but at a different venue. The Royal Selangor Golf Club hosts this new event and this is its first major event since the 2002 Malaysian Open, which was one by Alastair Forsyth.
The field this week consists of some of the top players on the European Tour, but it does not have a great deal of depth after that and we can only assume that appearance fees have attracted some of the Top tier stars, many of whom have been attracted to the Malaysian events in the past number of years and have very solid records in these events.
The course is difficult to accurately assess, given that it has undergone extensive renovations by Nelson & Haworth since the 2002 Malaysian Open. However the course guide and comments from the players point to a tight, tree lined venue, with plenty of bunkering and a track that is likely to place a premium on accuracy. The fairways are paspalum grass and the greens are tifeagle bermuda, which have been described by Danny Willet as firm, so might be difficult to find with approach shots, particularly from off the fairway.
Events in Kuala Lumpar are usually at risk from thunderstorms and heavy rainfall and it looks like the rain will play a part in this event. This could result in the course playing softer, placing a little more emphasis on driving distance, although it measures only 7,109 yards, has 3 relatively short Par 5 holes and only has two Par 4 holes that exceed 450 yards in length. The main issue with the weather could be interrupted play however and given that the worst of the weather usually arrives in the afternoon, the early starters on Thursday could post low scores, sit in the clubhouse and watch the later players having to finish their rounds on Friday morning, before going back out again straight away to commence round 2. This would certainly provide an advantage to those with an early Thursday tee time and so of these feature in our picks.
Picking between the players at the front of the market this week is not easy and while Danny Willet has excellent form here and was brilliant last time, he looks short enough at single figures with the likes of Oosthuizen, Kaymer and Luiten all making some degree of appeal. Instead we will go a little further down the market and we like the look of 45/1 Alejandro Canizares this week.
The Spaniard has been in very solid form so far this year, with very solid displays on the Desert Swing. He was 27th in the Qatar Masters and was excellent on the faster bermuda greens in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with finishes of 5th in the latter and 8th last time out in the Desert Classic.
Canizares is very solid from tee to green and ranks 14th for accuracy based on a small sample size this year, but is also 69th in GIR and 38th in Scrambling (ranked 2nd last year). He also has a very solid record in Malaysia, with finishes of 14th in 2010. 9th in 2011 and 3rd last year in the Malaysian Open. His record at tree lined venues is also very solid and includes a comprehensive win in the 2014 Trophee Hassan (although that course also has a links feel in parts). He also has a 4th in the 2013 BMW PGA Championship, 3rd in the Perth International and 4th in the 2013 European Masters.
He has an early start time tomorrow and could get off to a flyer. Even if he disappoints to some degree this week, the positive could be a better price for Perth next week, if he lines up, but there are too many positives for the next 4 days to let him go unbacked at 45/1.
1.5 points each way Alejandro Canizares at 45/1 with Bet365
SSP Chawrasia is an extremely short hitter and many venues are simply too long for him. However when he gets a shorter, tighter venue he can be very effective, even in stronger company, and he might be worth an interest this week in both the first round leader market and in some other markets.
He is a former winner of the Avantha Masters and has also posted some excellent finishes in stronger events at tree lined venues, such as 15th in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and 9th in the 2010 Andalucia Masters at the difficult Valderrama venue. More recently and with relevance to this event, he was 10th in the Malaysian Open last year, despite opening with a 76 and he was 2nd in the Indian Open and the possibly similar, tight tree lined Delhi Golf Club venue, where he closed with a 76 this time. He was also 5th in the 2014 Hong Kong Open, at the short tight Fanling venue and he has been in solid recent form, with a 7th in the Thailand Golf Championship towards the end of 2015 and a recent 5th in the Myanmar Open.
This venue could nearly be described as too long for him, but it provides him with one of his best chances of a big finish this year and he has an early 7:50am slot on Thursday, so he could get off to a fast start and set himself up for the week. He is of interest at 100/1 in the First Round Leader Market and appeals at 9/2 in the Top 20 market as well and the Top Rest of the World market at 33/1. This market is weaker with most of the South Africans playing in the Dimension Data event. We have will have small interests in each.
0.5 points each way SSP Chawrasia at 100/1 FRL with Paddy Power, Betfred and BetVictor
1 point win SSP Chawrasia - Top 20 Finish at 9/2 with Betfred
0.5 points each way SSP Chawrasia - Top Rest of World Player at 33/1 with Bet365
The 24 year old Lagergren is interesting this week as this venue looks like it should very much suit his game and give him his best finish of 2016 to date. He has shown some glimpses of excellent play with efforts on the Desert Swing including 41st in the Qatar Masters and 22nd in Abu Dhabi, where he closed with a 65.
Some of his best results on the European Tour to date have been achieved on tree lined venues that place a premium on accuracy from the tee and with approaches and he was 4th in the Open D'Italia last year at this time of course, when he closed with a brilliant 63. He was also 13th in the Africa Open at the short, tricky East London venue and was 3rd in the Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club, where he opened with a 65. He also proved that he can contend in better quality fields on different tracks, with his 4th in the Alfred Dunhill Links last year and he has tasted victory in the past, with a win in the 2014 Northern Ireland Open.
These are the events that will be important in order to retain his card and he has an early 7:50am tee time on Thursday. Like Chawrasia, we will chance him in the First Round Leader market at 175/1 with Skybet. He also appeals at 9/1 in the Top 20 market, while we would not put anyone off chancing him in the outright markets, although the quality at the top end of the market makes this bet less appealing.
0.5 points each way Joakim Lagergren - FRL at 175/1 with Skybet
1 point win Joakim Lagergren - Top 20 Finish at 9/1 with Skybet and BetVictor