The event this week comes to us from Saujana G&CC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is the first time this course has been used for this tournament since 2009. Let’s get to the targets.
Charl Schwartzel ($11,200): Schwartzel hasn’t played much recently, so there’s a bit of fear of rust, but the South African still seems like a bit of a bargain as only the third highest priced golfer in a fairly weak field. He hasn’t played this event for a few seasons, but he does have 4th and 6th place finishes to his credit here — on a different course though. Schwartzel also seems well suited to a track which is a shorter, more technical course with reportedly thicker rough — and possibly a little bit like the one he won on in Tampa last year. Even off the layoff, I’m making him a target this week given the closing issues and high prices of the two golfers priced above him.
Anirban Lahiri ($10,400): Lahiri is a former winner of this event from back in 2015 who has recently shown some good recent form. After starting out his season with a missed cut, Lahari has now finished inside the top 25 in both of his past two starts (one in the States, one in Dubai) and seems like he’s regained the form which saw him nearly win in Malaysia last fall at the CIMB Classic. While the price seems steep, remember that this field isn’t as deep as the past few. I think he’s worth paying up for this week, and I won’t be shocked at all if he’s in the mix for the win late Sunday.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($9,600): Aphibarnrat is coming off a nice desert swing where he compiled finishes of T4 and T9 against one missed cut. He should be comfortable in this part of the world as he hails from nearby Thailand, and is also a former winner of this event from back in 2013 — on a different course. At $9,600 I’d give Aphibarnrat a bit of a break from his missed cut last week as he was on the wrong side of the draw and had to face high winds in rounds one and two.
Peter Uihlein ($8,200): Uihlein had a terrific week in Dubai but could never put any pressure on either of the leaders. Still, he ended up at T5 for the week and now has results of T5, T7 and T14 in his last four starts. The American has always been touted as one of the most talented payers on Tour, but injuries have hurt him in the past. This sort of consistent play shouldn’t be overlooked though, and in my estimation he’s priced too cheaply for a weaker field, especially given his recent form.
Victor Dubuisson ($7,800): Dubuisson is an obvious question mark since he withdraws from a lot of tournaments, but his good play towards the end of last season, when he went T3-T4 in the European Tour playoffs, should mean renewed optimism around his prospects. Dubuisson was on the wrong side of the draw last week, so I think his missed cut should rightly be ignored. He’s had some of his best showings on Tour in Asia and finished 4th at this event back in 2013. While he carries a touch more risk than other players, I believe he’s far too affordable to pass up.
David Lipsky ($7,200): Lipsky is another player to look at who has a good record in Malaysia. Lipsky has played this event every year since 2012. While the course this year is different from past venues, the new layout is not super long, so the change might actually favour Lipsky, who isn’t someone who is going to overpower a golf course anyways. He’s made his last nine cuts on Tour and should benefit from the different style of course the players will see this week. He’s one of my favorite plays of the week by far.
Chris Paisley ($6,700): Paisley had a very solid desert swing, as he followed up a T29 in Abu Dhabi with back to back top 15 finishes in Qatar and Dubai. The shorter course this week should also suit the Englishman a little more, as he’s not a huge hitter off the tee. Paisley finished poorly in the final round last week, but the fact he’s traveling to Malaysia should speak volumes about his confidence right now, which is likely sky high. I’m looking for him to roll with the momentum this week.
Alexander Levy ($6,700): Levy is a very talented Frenchman who landed his third win on the Euro Tour last season. His price here is actually pretty shocking because even if he didn’t land any high finishes in the desert he did still make his last two cuts. Levy also has a great record over in South Asia as he’s a former winner of the China Open. Even though the event is on a different course this year, it’s also nice to know he played well at this event last season by finishing 24th. I think he’s great value at under $7k.
Lucas Bjerregaard ($6,600): I have high hopes for Bjerregaard again this week, who is coming off a decent desert swing where he made two of three cuts and landed an 11th place finish in Qatar. While his missed cut might look bad from last week, note that Bjerredgaard was squarely on the wrong side of a very lopsided draw due to high winds on Thursday afternoon – Friday morning. He has a great record in Asia over his career, including a T3 in China at the Volvo China Open and a 2nd at the Hong Kong Open. He should be fine in the conditions this week and has big upside at a sub-$7k price.
Matteo Manassero ($6,200): Manassero is coming off an average desert swing where he made two of three cuts with a very average finish of 54th last week. The non-high finishes do mask the fact Manassero is playing some consistent golf and could be in line for a bigger week here with a thinner field talent-wise and a return to where he won a European Tour title, at this tournament in 2011. The course this week is shorter and probably more suited to Manassero’s game, who is not long off the tee. At $6,200 he’s my favorite low priced option this week.
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