Singapore: Best bets
Dave Tindall looks at the leading contenders and top wagers for this week's Barclays Singapore Open.
By Dave Tindall
Last Updated: 06/11/12 2:26pm
A hefty purse has attracted some big names for the 49th running of the Singapore Open.
World number one Rory McIlroy headlines a field of champions in Asia's richest national Open and, with the event being co-sanctioned by the European Tour, he has a golden chance to wrap up victory in the Race To Dubai.
The Serapong course at Sentosa Golf Club, which is located in front of Singapore Harbour, stages the tournament again.
A flat, parkland track designed by Ron Fream, the 7,372 yard par 71 was remodelled in 2007 by Andrew Johnston.
The Tanjong course was also used in the 2010 and 2011 runnings of the tournament but, as in 2009 (the first year the event was co-sanctioned by the European Tour), only the Serapong will be used this year.
Ian Poulter, who isn't playing this week, won that 2009 event with a winning score of 10-under.
The market leaders (Sky Bet odds):
Rory McIlroy (9/2): A top 10 finish will see McIlroy win the Race To Dubai and match Luke Donald's 2011 feat of winning both US and European Money Lists in the same season. McIlroy has won three of his last six strokeplay events and only just missed out on making that four when being edged out by Peter Hanson in the BMW Masters in China two weeks ago. The two-time major champion hasn't played this event in the co-sanctioned era but did take part in the 2008 event here and finished fourth so he knows the course.
Latest strokeplay form: 2-10-1-1
Course form: 4th (2008)
World ranking: 1
Adam Scott (7/1): If Scott's price seems on the skinny side it's for good reason. The Aussie is a three-time winner of this event at Sentosa (2005, 2006 and 2010) and has also finished third a couple of times. "I guess it is just a golf course that suits my style of play and so I am always playing shots that feel natural to me," he says. Scott shook off the rust with an eighth place in China last week - his first event after a five-week break - and is desperate for a first win of 2012 after a season of near misses.
Latest strokeplay form: 8-19-6-7
Course form: 1-3-MC-3-1-1
World ranking: 6
Louis Oosthuizen (8/1): Five shots clear at halfway in last week's HSBC Champions after opening 65-63, the South African will have been hugely disappointed to have shot 70-72 on the weekend to drop back to sixth. However, he will have high hopes here after only just missing out on a play-off last year. The in-form 2010 Open champion hit a majestic second to the par five 18th hole but missed his 10 foot eagle putt to tie the lead.
Latest strokeplay form: 6-6-4-MC
Course form: 3 (2011)
World ranking: 10
Phil Mickelson (10/1): After losing his way over the summer, Mickelson has found his mojo again during the final part of the campaign. He posted a second and a fourth in the play-offs, played some fine golf in the Ryder Cup and was joint second in the HSBC in China last week. The left-hander has been a regular in this event but has struggled on the greens, thus explaining a record which shows nothing better than a ninth place in 2008.
Latest strokeplay form: 2-15-2-4
Course form: 33-37-14-9-23
World ranking: 13
Padraig Harrington (20/1): After a patchy season, the Dubliner should have plenty of confidence following his win at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf last month even though he only had to beat three rivals to take that crown. He's missed the last two cuts at Sentosa but should have won at this venue in 2008. "It was probably my most bitter loss ever on a golf course. I was two shots ahead with three holes to play and I played them in two-over par.
Latest strokeplay form: 16-29-16-59
Course form: MC-MC-2-2
World ranking: 61
Paul Casey (30/1): Casey didn't qualify for last week's HSBC but there must be an excellent chance that he continues his recent renaissance here. Prior to the HSBC, the Englishman had emerged from the golfing doldrums with a fifth in the Perth International and a sixth in the BMW Masters so he's playing much more like the world number three he used to be. A lack of a previous visit shouldn't hurt him too much given his general record in Asia.
Latest strokeplay form: 6-5-MC-46
Course form: n/a
World ranking: 118
Francesco Molinari (33/1): The Italian, whose half point against Tiger Woods gave Europe outright victory in the Ryder Cup, hasn't been able to ride the wave of euphoria from Medinah. While teammates Peter Hanson and Ian Poulter have won the last two events, Molinari has finished outside the top 30 and a failure to break the top 20 here in two past visits also suggests there are more likely candidates for victory.
Latest strokeplay form: 39-35-16-46
Course form: 33-21
World ranking: 30
Best of the rest:
Thorbjorn Olesen (40/1): The Dane is widely tipped to be a potential superstar over the next few years and impressed again in last week's HSBC when tied 11th. A runner-up in the Dunhill Links last month, his 2012 highlights also include a win in April's Sicilian Open and a fifth place in The Open at Royal Lytham.
Shane Lowry (40/1): The Irishman is one of the form horses on the European Tour after October brought a win in Portugal and a top five in the BMW Masters in Shanghai. He also started last week's HSBC in promising fashion before fading. Lowry has played this event for the last three years and was a pretty decent tied 13th last year so is fancied to go well again.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (80/1): Boosted by two recent Asian Tour wins, the Indian has held his own in elite company in the last events. First he was the only Asian player to finish in the top 10 of the CIMB Classic in Malaysia while last week he shot a third round 63 en route to a tied 18th in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
A top 10 will wrap up the Race To Dubai for Rory McIlroy this week but it would be no surprise at all to see him do it in style with a win.
Although another runaway major victory was hugely impressive, the biggest strides McIlroy has made in 2012 has been turning himself into a prolific winner.
And the trick, which Tiger Woods made an art of, is doing it without necessarily having his 'A' game.
Three wins in his last six starts means Rory is at Tiger-in-his-pomp levels right now so the 9/2 in a field without a great deal of depth is worth taking - especially as he has some strong course form too.
Paul Casey is on a sharp upward curve after a rotten campaign so will be chomping at the bit to get going again after not qualifying for last week's HSBC.
If you add in a OneAsia Tour event, the Englishman's current form is 3-5-6 and he's bubbling with confidence again.
In Australia, Casey said: "With the form I'm starting to show, it's a case of wanting to be out there, play as much as I can and I feel it's not going to be long before I'm back in the winner's circle."
Could it be this week for a player who is a proven winner? It's worth taking the 30/1 to find out.
Finally, Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen continues to take the eye and this could be a good chance for him to grab a second win of the season.
He struggled with jet-lag in China last week so should be able to build on his still promising tied 11th now his body clock is sorted out.
He'll enjoy going up against some elite names such as McIlroy, Mickelson and Scott and has the ability to beat them all.
Rory McIlroy win at 9/2
Paul Casey each-way at 30/1
Thorbjorn Olesen each-way at 40/1