Maybank Championship Malaysia betting preview and predictions
By Ben Coley
Last Updated: 18/02/16 6:14am
Ben Coley casts his eye over the field for this week's inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia, where he expects Louis Oosthuizen to impress...
If you're still not sure how useful a tool Twitter can be when it comes to assessing golf tournaments, reports from those involved this week should make up your mind.
The European Tour has been heading to Malaysia for many years now and recently they've been joined by the PGA Tour, both using Kuala Lumpur G&CC as the stage for reasonably high-profile events. Peculiarly, that meant we got to see that golf course twice a year on Sky Sports.
But this year, the European Tour heads back to Royal Selangor, a course not used since Alastair Forsyth beat Stephen Leaney in a play-off some 14 years ago.
Unless you've both a particularly good memory and faith that very little has changed since - which is unlikely given that extensive renovations have taken place - there's very little to go on.
Thankfully, pretty much every player in this field kind enough to tweet over the last 48 hours has said the same thing - this old golf course is short, tight, fiddly, firm and fast. Those words are music to the years of some, particularly the more experienced, accurate professionals, but may have the likes of Thorbjorn Olesen and Danny Willett waking up in a cold sweat even in this most humid of climates.
Both those players arrive in form having enjoyed great success in the Middle East, particularly Willett who of course won the Dubai Desert Classic. But neither can be called accurate off the tee and that's why I'd prefer Louis Oosthuizen from those at the head of the betting.
Of course, Oosthuizen is plenty long enough and he would've been well suited by a softer, longer test. But he's versatile too and many of his best performances, including at St Andrews in 2010, have been under firm conditions.
Oosthuizen's record in Malaysia shows four top-10 finishes from five starts while he's been inside the first three in both starts in Singapore, so there are no concerns about conditions and he could win in this country for the second time in his career.
Granted, the South African has to bounce back from a missed cut in Dubai but he's sure to be inspired by Charl Schwartzel's romp in Pretoria last week and can follow his friend's lead with a big performance.
Gregory Bourdy's love affair with Malaysia began in the Eisenhower Trophy over a decade ago.
The Frenchman was the leading player for his country in the amateur team event and finished second in the individual standings, ahead of players of the calibre of Hunter Mahan and Ricky Barnes.
Since then, he's managed three top-six finishes here as a professional while one of his standout European Tour performances came courtesy of victory at Fanling, the firm, fast, fiddly golf course which hosts the Hong Kong Open.
Bourdy was hitting the ball well in the Middle East, hasn't missed a cut in months and should go well.
At a bigger price, Marcus Fraser could also find this to his liking. Like Bourdy, Fraser is an accurate driver suited by courses like Fanling and Royal Selangor could be right up his street.
It was in fact Fraser who won individual honours in that Eisenhower Trophy I mentioned and having since won in Korea, his record in the Far East is very good.
David Horsey's is less impressive but he was second as a rookie in the 2009 Malaysian Open and should be well suited by the challenge ahead following a good effort last week in the Tshwane Open.
Horsey has four titles to his name on the European Tour including on a firm, fast golf course in the Trophee Hassan, so he looks to have been underestimated in the betting.
Finally, Australia's Nathan Holman is a talented young player who played on the Asian Tour previously and should be at an advantage with that experience in mind.
Holman contended for the Dubai Desert Classic until a disappointing Sunday and having already won this season courtesy of the Australian PGA, he's overpriced.
Watch the Maybank Championship Malaysia throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf. Or watch from £6.99 without a contract, on NOW TV