Dunlop Phoenix betting preview

Edoardo Molinari can continue his tremendous form in 2009 with victory at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, says tipster Dave John.

The Dunlop Phoenix in Japan has attracted some star names in the past with Tiger Woods a dual winner in 2004 and 2005.

The big guns from abroad have also invariably taken the top prize too and you have to go back to 2002 for the last Japanese winner when Kaname Yokoo landed the spoils.

Hopes must be high that the home contingent can regain the winning thread with a slightly less stellar challenge from overseas and superstar Ryo Ishikawa in top form and at the head of the betting.

Vijay Singh is the biggest name in the field but looks out of form while Robert Karlsson is trying to salvage something from an illness-hit second half of 2009.

American Jason Dufner jets in after a fine effort in the JBWere Masters in Australia but all of them could be trumped by up-and-coming Italian Edoardo Molinari, who is riding on the crest of a wave.

This might be his first trip to Japan but he looks worth a chance at 45/1 considering he has been the outstanding player on the Challenge Tour in 2009.

He topped the rankings on Europe’s second tier by almost 100,000 euros this season, picking up three trophies along the way backed up by four other runner-up finishes.

He has certainly managed to match his younger brother Francesco this season in terms of achievement and they look sure to be a potent force when they go head-to-head in 2010 on the European Tour.

Molinari senior is certainly used to setting new trends having become the first European to win the US Amateur Championship in 2005 – so why not be big in Japan on this occasion?

Bookmakers are at odds over what price Dufner should be and the 25/1 chalked up by Sky Bet makes some appeal.

He may not be in the same league as Tiger or David Duval but he can keep up the tradition of strong showings from American golfers.

He has pocketed over $2 million on the PGA Tour this season but his three-week trip abroad has already paid dividends and he seems to have a very open mind to broadening his horizons.

He said: “I could have stayed home and played in the States, but that’s kind of, you know, same old thing. I play enough events over there.”

There seems no obvious reason why he won’t perform once again and launch a decent challenge for the title.

It would be silly not to put Ishikawa in as his form is red-hot at the moment and includes two wins in Japan since the start of September.

The 18 year old is the biggest draw in the game in his homeland and a victory from him would certainly send the galleries beserk.

He chased home last year’s winner Prayad Marksaeng and he has a favourite’s chance of going one better.

A bit more of a sporting price is Daisuke Maruyama, who regained the winning thread this season in the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open and is a 28/1 chance here.

He has three top-14 finishes at the course and a best of second spot behind Thomas Bjorn in 2003 where he had Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia among others in arrears.

His T10 at the recent HSBC Champions, where he closed with a 63, highlights just what he is capable of while he made almost £1 million on the PGA Tour in 2006.

He is a useful competitor and has the ability to get himself into the mix come Sunday.

1pt e.w. Edoardo Molinari at 45/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Sky Bet). Outstanding 2009 on the Challenge Tour and could well add another title.
1pt e.w. Jason Dufner at 25/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Sky Bet). High finish last week in Australia and enjoying his world trip.
2pts win Ryo Ishikawa at 8/1 (Boylesports). Japanese superstar who continues in tremendous form.
1pt e.w. Daisuke Maruyama at 28/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Boylesports, Sky Bet, bet365). Winner in 2009 in Japan and form in the HSBC makes him a contender.

  • Preview posted at 0830GMT on 17/11/2009
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