Next stop on the schedule is the hot and humid Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur - a venue one pro has already described as being "like a furnace". The hot and humid conditions are always a factor here but that didn't stop an Englishman - Lee Westwood - 8.00 - blitzing the field last year. Lee comes here to defend in fine form, having challenged Rory McIlroy for victory in Dubai.
We do have a different spot in the European Tour Calendar for Kuala Lumpur G&CC this year and some of you may have noted that the track the has also been used for the co-sanctioned PGA and Asian Tour's CIMB Classic for the last couple of seasons. A player in a similar mould to Westwood won that on both occasions; Like Westwood, Ryan Moore excels from tee to green and doesn't make a lot of costly mistakes, so when we throw the likes of former Malaysian Open champ Louis Oosthuizen into the mix, the theme of total driving for success stands out. Kiradech Aphibarnrat - 51.00 - is also a player with winning form around here and he's one of Asia's best hopes this week.
The course - Kuala Lumpur G&CC
Described by a touring pro as a course with "72 birdie chances" the pristine conditioned Kuala Lumpur G&CC is a short par 72 track measuring under 7,000 yards. The parkland style course (exposed in places) features elevation changes and undulations throughout, placing some emphasis on distance control and course management. Water hazards lurk throughout but it's not a difficult set up. An attacking style is what's needed to get the job done with three easy par fives and two short par 4s to help the score card. Rough is topped this week at just 62mm and greens - some equipped with recently added run offs - are set to run around 11' on the stimp. Scoring should be low relative to par.
Three from the pack
I have no qualms about backing Danny Willett 17.00 or 4.00 this week. For me he is favourite to win the event with outstanding course form reading 5-3-17-6. Danny has suffered with injury problems but took down the Nedbank Challenge at the back end of 2014 and he's really kicked on since. Currently Danny sits top of the Race To Dubai, and he lies 47th the the world rankings. The Englishman is simmering form wise again after posting a T13 last week, opening with rounds of 67-66. Danny excels in the all round department and makes birdies in bunches. Kuala Lumpur G&CC sets up perfectly for his game.
Gregory Bourdy is another man who can take it low and indeed he has done in four of his last twelve rounds. Bourdy closed out with rounds of 65 - 66 in Qatar and Dubai respectively to record finishes of T5 and T13. It may only be a matter of time before the Frenchman strings three of four rounds together and his form here is good, reading 18-11-47 while he was runner up back in 2011. Bourdy ranks 8th in greens in reg this year with a clip of 78.79%. He trades at 34.00 or 7.50.
Robert Rock - 81.00 or 17.00 - just got the nod over David Lipsky in terms of outsider value for me this week. Off the back of a top 10 in Dubai, Rock often shows early season form and indeed the European Tour posted up a stat showing Rock to be -42 for his last 12 Dubai Desert Classic rounds. Eye catching for the Englishman here is his 2nd position in the GIR stat last week and being dialed in with the irons is the perfect prep for the test awaiting. "Rocky" is not without course form either having carded a top 15 here in '11.
Up and coming Malaysian star Gavin Kyle Green - 251.0 or 41.00 - has been on the radar for a couple of years now and after the small matter of blowing away an Asian Developmental Tour field by 11 shots back in June at the PGM Vascory Templer Park Championship, he flew back to University in New Mexico. The no.1 ranked Asian amateur beat Nicky Fung, and Danny Chia (the only Malaysians ahead of him in the OWGR) by 20 strokes. Green set plenty of new records that day including becoming the first amateur to win on the ADT and he also set a new low 72 hole scoring record. Gavin has been wrecking the college circuit since, winning two more events at the back end of 2014. He has experience playing at the top level having posted a top 20 at the Iskandar Johor Open in 2012, where Sergio Garcia won, and has also played the Maybank Malaysian Open twice with finishes of 22nd and 47th. Green can potentially use his power off the tee to circle plenty of birdies at home in Kuala Lumpur.