Niall very nearly landed a 4pt each-way winner last week and is back for more with three picks this time around
The Maybank returns to Saujana G&CC this week for the second year running as the European tour begins a four or five week lull in prestigious events. Nevertheless Henrik Stenson turns up this week to add a bit of glamour to an otherwise disappointing turn out. The course was used for the Malaysian Open for a number of years between 2004 and 2009 so we have enough evidence to go on about how the course plays. It's a narrow track where accuracy certainly pays dividends and a sharp short game is needed. Jaidee has won here a few times and Zanotti last year captured the title with exactly those attributes.
Stenson is understandably favourite but has failed to reach many heights in the past 12 months. All aspects of his game just don't seem there and despite some respectable finishes of late he doesn't look like winning. He is probably best passed up on a week like this when humidity will play an issue. Alex Levy turns up in fine form but for me is short for someone who doesn't exactly marry to tight tracks. Wiesberger holds more aces and of those at the top of the market he would tempt me the most with plenty of good finishes around fiddly tracks. Nevertheless, I see a bit more value elsewhere that I'd rather take.
There's no doubting that a sparkling short game will give you an advantage around here and right now on the European Tour there is none better than Dylan Frittelli (best price 25/1). He has not disappointed since winning the Rolex Trophy on the Challenge Tour and his ascent in the game is staggering. He has climbed over 150 places in just over a year and nwo finds himself inside the top 50 in the world. This lad has all the game and this track in Malaysia should be right up his alley. His short game is one of the finest about and if he can keep it in play off the tee to a reasonable standard I expect the South African to go close. His price is about right and I wouldn't expect to get much bigger, nor would I want to back at much lower, but it is only a matter of time before he notches another win and in a weakened field on a course that suits this is a decent opportunity. Finished tied 6th in Dubai last week.
Alex Bjork (best price 50/1) finished alongside Frittelli tied 6th last week in Dubai and is another who is known for a solid short game. The Swede is another who has climbed the rankings in the past year to a new high of 105. Bjork has had many good finishes on the tour but has yet to put together that special final round that could get him over the line.
A tied 2nd effort in Hong Kong before Christmas was one of his best events to date and he certainly looks to have the talent to win one of these soon enough. Hong Kong is not too dissimilar to this and with a top 20 in Crans, and a top 5 at the Albatross course in Paris he has the game to contend on these venues. Certainly one to keep an eye on this season and this is a weak enough field where he could take the opportunity.
Jeung-Hun Wang (best price 33/1) missed the cut here on debut last year but he may be better equipped to better this term. Two weeks previous to last years renewal he had won in Qatar and those exertions clearly took their toll as he missed the next few cuts. This year he comes in with better vibes having finished in a tie for 6th last week. Wang is a very talented golfer and with Li winning last week represents a very strong crop coming from the Far East. Wang has already won a few times on tour but most notably at the Trophee Hassan where driving accuracy and a good short game are needed to excel. Having played well last week and being used to the conditions of these countries he must be included in our staking plan.