Improving Bhullar set to contend

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: November 6 2012, 7:48 GMT

David John previews this week's Barclays Singapore Open and is keen on the chances of Gaganjeet Bhullar at 100/1.

Bhullar: Well worth backing at 100/1

The Barclays Singapore Open has attracted the big names once again headed by Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott and I can't resist a win-only play on the Australian at 9/1.

Scott has remarkable record in the event and is looking for a fourth title having lifted the trophy here in 2005, 2006 and 2010.

I have some history with Scotty having selected him at 16s on the latter occasion when it had become part of the European Tour and there is no doubt he has some unfinished business once again having skipped his defence in 2011 as it clashed with the Australian Open.

"That was a tough call for me because I love this tournament and this golf course so much," he said on the European Tour's website.

"There have been a lot of changes to the course since I first started coming here but it has always been a course that I have felt very comfortable on."

He is used to dealing with the inevitable breaks for the weather - thunderstorms are forecast again - while he arrives at the venue on the back of a top-10 in last week's WGC tournament in Shanghai.

We should really be hailing Scott as a major winner but his collapse over the closing holes at Lytham in the summer means he is still searching for one of the big four to add to his CV.

I still think he has plenty of wins in him and his affinity with this particular course is going to be worth a shot or two down the stretch.

He had no-one of the calibre of McIlroy or Mickelson breathing down his neck when he sealed the deal two years ago but he is the one player in the field I would be kicking myself at not puttting him up if he came good once more.

Padraig Harrington got a late invite into the recent PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda when an injured Ernie Els pulled out and the Irishman took full advantage.

I expect him to make an impact once again and 30/1 makes him of interest now he has found some winning form.

I get frustrated listening to Harrington at times as he analyses his swing to the minutest detail but whatever he has been doing this year is starting to pay dividends.

He can at times get in his own way as he attempts to figure out what he is doing right or wrong but on the flip side, Harrington does seem able to accurately predict when things are not going well or if he is the right place to contend.

"I believe I'm playing really good golf," said Harrington.

"I see a lot of good things happening and I do believe that I'm turning the corner into a peak."

You get the feeling as well that he has taken the pressure off himself a little bit as the scrutiny on him lessens to a degree with four years havinjg passed since the the third of his three major titles.

He added: "I do believe I'm going into a nice period in my career now, and I'm looking forward to some good successes."

He has form at the tournament in the past and a Harrington in this sort of mood is a danger to all and well worth siding with to go very close indeed.

Two competitors at bigger prices to get onside this week are Gaganjeet Bhullar and Scott's compatriot Scott Hend.

The former is developing into a top performer on the Asian Tour and two wins in 2012 - including just a few weeks ago in Macau - highlights how he is starting to grow in self-belief.

He said as much last week after his tremendous third-round 63 in Shanghai and although he could not follow that up on the final day, his increased exposure to playing with the world's top players is proving to be tremendous experience.

He played at an event earlier in the season with KJ Choi - who told him he was good enough to compete on the PGA Tour in the USA - and the 24-year-old does look overpriced here at 100/1 with Ladbrokes.

Bhullar has some fond memories of the Serapong Course having come out on top here in international qualifying for the Open Championship in 2009 so all-in-all he look a lively outsider to contend and improve his current fifth place in the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Hend is an even bigger price but has very positive memories of golf in Singapore as well having ended a four-year winless spell in the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic.

The Australian journeyman described the victory as "amazing" and I am pretty sure he will be looking forward to coming back to the country where he has also managed to hit the frame in this event back in 2009.

He fired promising rounds of 67-68 over the weekend last week in Shanghai and that sort of display earns him a vote of confidence at Betfred's 200/1.

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