The European Tour heads for Kuala Lumpur this week for the 2016 Maybank Championship, with Danny Willett favourite to seal another tournament victory in Malaysia.
The world No. 13 arrives at the event on the back of claiming the Dubai Desert Classic title last week, but he faces serious competition from a strong field.
Here's a look at the odds for the top finishers at this week’s tournament, as well as a couple of recommended bets.
All odds are courtesy of Oddschecker (accurate as of 11.30am GMT on Wednesday):
|Maybank Championship Odds: Tournament Winner|
|Rafael Cabrera Bello||23/1|
Willett to go back to back - 11/1
Per Golf Monthly’s Fergus Bisset, Willett will be challenging for a prize fund of $3,000,000, but he must overcome the likely challenges of Major champions Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer.
The Englishman is hoping to repeat last week’s Dubai success and seal his second consecutive tournament victory. Per the Guardian’s Ewan Murray, the 28-year-old swatted aside any nerves to claim the biggest win of his professional career.
The 12-foot putt on the final hole to seal victory added the finishing touches to a supreme 72 holes of golf and further endorsed his Ryder Cup prospects. A second consecutive tournament title would do his chances no harm.
Willett took to Twitter ahead of this week's action and sounded pleased with his surroundings:
Danny Willett @Danny_Willett
Great first look at the course here @maybankchampio1 old school golf course. Tree lined with firm greens. Gonna be a fun week. @EuropeanTour2/16/2016, 9:37:09 AM
A closing 69 for a 19-under total secured his fourth professional victory, per Kevin Garside of the Independent. Willett has a strong history at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club and is expected to challenge the leading pack once again this weekend, according to Sporting Life’s Ben Coley.
Wood to go top early - 41/1
Another Englishman in strong form is Chris Wood, per Iain Carter of the BBC, who suggests the 28-year-old’s progress alongside Willett is forming a bright future for British golf. As noted on the European Tour website, Wood secured a top-10 finish last time out in Dubai, finishing level-eighth and five strokes behind the eventual winner.
The consistency Wood was displaying in late 2015 has returned in the early months of 2016, per Coley, with his straight-line ball-striking ability a real bonus as he prepares to take on a course known for its uniform fairway tree positioning.
Similarly to tournament favourite Willett, compatriot Wood has a history of relative success in this part of the world, with top-10 finishes in Singapore and Hong Kong and victory at the Thailand Open in 2012.
Wood marked his card with an impressive round of 68—two strokes ahead of Willett—after the first 18 holes in Dubai, per the European Tour website, and do not be surprised to see him repeat that form from the outset next time he tees off.
Three to choose from
In terms of a top-three finish, it is hard to look past the 2010 Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen, who looks the classiest player of the field on paper, and the South African also boasts victory at the Malaysian Open event in 2012.
Willett arrives at the event in the form of his life following his Dubai Desert Classic triumph, while Major winner Martin Kaymer will be aiming to bounce back from his disappointing start to the new year, having recorded a 25th and 16th place finish before missing the cut last time out, per Fox Sports.
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