Malaysia betting preview

Features

David John previews this week’s Maybank Malaysian Open, where Johan Edfors emerges as a solid contender.

It is decision time for punters this week as they try and weigh up how some stellar names will perform at the 50th Maybank Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

First and foremost is new Masters champion Charl Schwartzel who looked pretty dazed – in a nice way – after his two-shot triumph at Augusta National.

I would bet there won’t be many more emotional rounds of golf this season by any player as the South African started with a chip-in, then holed out from the fairway for an eagle on the third before digging deep into his reserves to finish with four brilliant birdies to take the title.

To cut a long story short, it would be unnatural if he were not drained both physically and mentally and a tough week in the heat of the Malaysian capital will be a major ask even for the ultra-fit 26-year-old.

So on to Rory McIlroy.

While Schwartzel will be surrounded by the glow of the knowledge he has landed a first major, McIlroy looked a broken man for the time being after blowing his four-shot lead after three rounds.

The way he capitulated on the back nine was too painful to watch at times but to his credit, he spoke with great dignity to the press afterwards and you would hope the experience will be of help to him down the line.

But he also admitted that it is going to take some time to get over so whether a quick return to the saddle is a benefit has to be debatable.

I would look elsewhere to be honest at the prices considering he has also played this event just once and missed the cut in 2008.

World number one Martin Kaymer is a fascinating contender.

He is now four from four in terms of missed cuts at The Masters and I remember watching an interview with him at the start of the year where he admitted that Augusta might just not be his course.

It meant a weekend off for the German and he should certainly be the freshest of the trio but like McIlroy, his event form is inconclusive with one missed cut at a different venue back in 2007.

His strokeplay form has been patchy since romping away with the Abu Dhabi Championship in January but I am sure he will be keen to reassert in that department against a pretty run-of-the-mill field.

That said, there should be some reasonable each-way alternatives amongst the rank and file and first pick this week goes to Swedish nutter Johan Edfors.

You have to go back to 2006 for his last wins on the European Tour – three of them including the prestigious Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

He came close to ending that drought a few weeks ago in Andalucia but a three-putt bogey on the 15th hole scuppered his chance as he went down by a shot to Paul Lawrie.

That was a hugely encouraging effort and another positive for Edfors is he does play very well in this part of the world.

Five outings in Malaysia have yielded no worse than a T37 while three of those saw him finish inside the top 11.

Despite not winning on the European Tour in five years, he did come out on top on the Asian Tour at the Black Mountain Masters in neighbouring Thailand – where he has a villa – which suggest he has no problems with the grainy greens and the excessive heat and humidity.

The downside with Edfors is how erratic he can be. He has already in 2011 chucked in rounds of 80 and 78 from nowhere while also firing a 64 and two 65s.

But his price looks acceptable taking that into account and a repeat of his effort in Spain should get him in the shake-up.

At an even bigger price, Marcus Fraser should also put up a good display.

It was about this time 12 months ago that a tremendously consistent run of form was finally rewarded with victory in the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea and like a lot of Australian golfers, has done well in events staged in Asia.

He has four top-25s in Malaysia and that incudes a T18 at the Kualu Lumpur Golf and Country Club which hosts this year’s event.

Just one outing in 2011 on the European Tour saw Fraser finish down the field at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral but you can bet he will take a huge amount of inspiration from the efforts of compartiots Jason Day, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy, who played so magnificently at The Masters.

His is better than his three-figure quote.

We don’t need to go over again what a hero Thongchai Jaidee is in these parts and he should be raring to go as he bids to take this title for a record-breaking third time.

Triumphant at Saujana in 2005 and 2006, his hat-trick bid the following year was thwarted by Charlie Wi in an event shortened to three rounds by the weather.

That second was at this venue and although his form in Malaysia slumped a little after, he was back in the groove to a certain extent 12 months ago when tied for seventh.

He has not really hit top gear so far in 2011 with just one top 20 in Qatar but a little break since the Avantha Masters in India should be in his favour on his return to a tournament that has such positive memories for him.

Final pick this week is England’s Simon Dyson, who has as much experience of campaigning in Asia as any of the European-based players.

The Yorkshireman was plying his trade over there a decade ago and won the Asian Order Of Merit in 2000 as a rookie after notching up three victories along the way.

He was a winner in Indonesia as well in 2006 while his record in Malaysia stands up to plenty of scrutiny with six top 20s from his last seven starts, including successive ties for third place in 2007 and 2008.

A recent T5 in Sicily catches the eye and suggests he won’t be far away.

TIPS

1pt e.w. Johan Edfors at 40/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Stan James). Can be erratic but good record in this event and playing well currently.
1pt e.w. Marcus Fraser at 100/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Stan James). Hit winning form this time last year and should be inspired by Aussie efforts at Augusta.
1pt e.w. Thongchai Jaidee at 20/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Stan James). Thai legend he should be raring to go in one of his favourite events.
1pt e.w. Simon Dyson at 33/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Paddy Power). Caught the eye in Spain recently and bags of experience in the Far East.

Preview posted at 1420 BST on 13/04/2011

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