Maybank Malaysian Open: A preview and best bets for this week's Euro Tour event
By Dave Tindall
Last Updated: 16/04/14 6:01pm
The European Tour returns to Asia this week for one of the longest co-sanctioned events on the rota.
The Maybank Malaysian Open enjoyed its maiden appearance on the Euro Tour schedule 15 years ago, and this week's tournament heads to Kuala Lumpur Country Club for the sixth time since 2006 - and fifth season in a row.
Undulating and with little in the way of trees, the 23-year-old venue was given a facelift, as well as toughened-up, seven years ago and is certainly no pushover.
As in 2012, the tournament is taking place directly after The Masters but several of those who took part at Augusta are making the long trip east.
They're headlined by Lee Westwood, who was seventh at Augusta and is also a former Malaysian Open winner - although that came at a different venue. The Englishman has won 12 of his 40 pro titles in Asia.
The field also includes two recent winners of this event, 2012 champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Italy's Matteo Manassero (2011).
Jet-lag is a concern to Manassero, who said after arriving from Augusta: "The 12 hour time difference is really hard to handle. We arrived on Tuesday morning and we start tomorrow, so I think the first couple of days I’ll just be trying to hang in there and try to not fall asleep or switch off on the golf course."
The course and winning scores
Opened in 1991, the course is a short 6,967-yard par 72 with a closing par five. The parkland layout has a small lake down the left hand side of the ninth while water is in play on 13 of the 18 holes. The last four winners and their scores at this venue were Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-13), Louis Oosthuizen (-17), Matteo Manassero (-16) and Noh Seung-yul (-14).
The time difference will certainly be an issue for some this week but if one man can cope it's surely Louis Oosthuizen.
We know that because he's done it before. Two years ago he shook off tiredness and the psycholocigal fatigue of a Masters play-off defeat to Bubba Watson to win this event by three shots.
The South African was a decent tied 25th at Augusta last week although he felt it should have been much better.
“It was a disappointing week. I felt that I played a lot better than finishing in 25th place. You always learn something at Augusta. My game is feeling good. I played nicely this morning. I think it will all come down to making putts here,” said the 2010 Open Championship winner after finishing a practice round in Malaysia on Tuesday morning.
He's 12/1 which isn't great but confidence is strengthened by a look at his list of seven European Tour wins twice shows repeat victories at the same course.
Thongchai Jaidee gave his confidence a big boost by making the Masters cut for the first time and is certainly worth an each-way punt in this part of the world at 28/1.
He won back-to-back Malaysian Open titles in 2004 and 2005 (at different venues) while he was also runner-up on this track in 2006 and seventh in 2010.
Before playing all four rounds at Augusta and finishing tied 37th, he was sixth in elite company at the WGC-Cadillac Championship so his form his good.
And as for tiredness, he said on Tuesday: "I don’t feel any jet lag. I slept a lot on the plane and I feel great now."
4pts win Louis Oosthuizen at 12/1
2pts e.w. Thongchai Jaidee at 28/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)