It's the wind down from Masters' week as the European Tour resumes the with the Maybank Malaysian Open. We've had a mix of different winners here in recent years but incorporating a theme of youth: In 2010 Sul Yeung Noh went into the record books as the youngest European Tour winner, only to be eclipsed shortly after by Matteo Manassero 21.00, who then went on to claim the Malaysian Open himself for his second tour win in 2011.
Manny and Noh may be similar in age but in terms of playing style, they are quite different and the Kuala Lumpur G & CC caters for different types of player. While the Italian won with intelligent and precision play, added to a nice stroke on the greens, Louis Oosthuizen 13.00 took it down in 2012 due largely to his driving ability, and Kiradech Aphibarnrat 31.00 overpowered the course in 2013. This year Lee Westwood heads the betting at 10.00.
The Course - Kuala Lumpur G & CC
The course itself plays only 7,000 yards long to a par of 72 with three of the four par 5's easily reachable in two and three par 4's that the bigger hitters can go for in one. The track is quite undulating and exposed with elevation changes, and intelligent play can be rewarded. Bigger hitters can attack but erratic driving must be avoided as the main defence comes in the form of the water hazards which come into play on many holes, while strategically placed bunkers can catch you out according to home favourite Nicholas Fung. Run-offs have been introduced on selected green complexes and conditions are set to be humid.
Three from the pack
Felipe Aguilar had a bad bicycle accident in the earlier part of the season where he broke his wrist - hardly ideal for a golfer. The Chilean made made his come back at his home Chile Classic on the Webdotcom Tour where he missed the cut but returned to Europe with a 4th place last week at the NH collection. Aguilar was right in the thick of things and having won numerous times on the lesser tours, he can get the job done at 67.00 or 14.00 the place.
Another man who found some form and flirted with the lead early on at the NH collections was David Howell. 'Howeler' was said to be swinging beautifully by a few guys that saw him live on the range and course, despite a poor Sunday. The Englishman has progressive form in Kuala Lumpur, reading 33-6 and looks overpriced for me at 81.00 or 17.00 the place if he gets that flat stick going.
Tommy Fleetwood is another who looks relatively big this week at 61.00 or 13.00 the place. Big things are expected from the Johnnie Walker Champion who had a taste of matchplay at the Seve Trophy, and he comes here off the back of a top 25 in Morocco on his last outing. Fleetwood scored an 11th place finish here in 2013 and excels in most aspects of the game. Will be looking to push his way into Ryder Cup reckoning.
The Scot, Scott Jamieson is firmly on the map here but watch out for Garth Mulroy at 71.00 or 15.00 the place who has been finding some sneaky form on the Webdotcom Tour of late, culminating in a T5 in Louisiana. Mulroy stands out for me - despite it being his course debut - as he's renowned as a top driver of the ball and should be able to take advantage of the eagle-able par fives and short par 4s.