Free golf betting tips from Ben Coley for the Maybank Championship in Malaysia

Last Updated February 01 2018, 07:14Golf
Bernd Wiesberger
Bernd Wiesberger

Ben Coley bagged the 175/1 winner of the first edition of the Maybank Championship, but is focused on the front of the market this time.

Maybank Championship recommended bets

3pts e.w. Bernd Wiesberger at 20/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Andy Sullivan at 40/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Jeunghun Wang at 35/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Shubhankar Sharma at 80/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

The Maybank Championship is only just into its third year and, already, has provided some sensational finishes for those up early enough on Sunday morning.

In 2016 there was Marcus Fraser holing a putt on the final green to get the better of a flapping Soo-min Lee, and the switch in venue ahead of last year's renewal only helped up the excitement levels as burglar-in-chief Fabrizio Zanotti finished 3-3-3-3 to win by one from David Lipsky.

Saujana G&CC retains hosting duties so the Paraguayan gets to defend on the same terrain, but he'll do well to manage it in a field headed by Henrik Stenson. The Swede has given himself too much to do twice already this season, but this is a sharp drop in grade and 8/1 is fair. He went off 7/1 for last year's Dubai Desert Classic, and there is no Sergio Garcia in opposition here.

Stenson finished third at Saujana in the middle of the last decade, when this event essentially existed as the Malaysian Open, and is a more accomplished player now. If he can avoid the sort of slow start which took him out of the running in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the 41-year-old must be hard to beat.

However, the heat and humidity which awaits in this part of the world is always a factor to consider, not just for what it can do to a player, but what it can do to a draw. Should Stenson find himself on the verge of dehydration or subject to the sort of delays the locals are familiar with, it could be curtains. That alone is just about enough to leave him out.

The course itself has been used a handful of times, dating back to an unsanctioned Lee Westwood victory more than 20 years ago, and scoring has varied with the weather. Zanotti reached 18-under last year and Marc Warren opened with a 63, so this is expected to prove fairly straightforward all things being equal, but what it isn't is the bomb-and-gouge affair which drew criticism from some quarters in Dubai.

Instead, players will have options from the tee and those who are able to manage their games, keep things tidy and take their chances are likely to come to the fore. Zanotti went bogey-free across the weekend and runner-up Lipsky made just five of them; those for whom it was a nearly week were left to rue their comparative inability to keep big numbers off the scorecard.

Top of my list is Bernd Wiesberger, in the hope that he can make amends for some opportunities missed in Malaysia - including here 12 months ago.

The Austrian led at halfway after making an unprecedented nine birdies in succession during round two, but a lacklustre Saturday gave him work to do and a closing 66 was not quite enough to return to the top of the leaderboard. Having made 25 birdies and an eagle, it was an event he'll feel he let slip.

Frustrating near-misses are something of a theme with Wiesberger, who should have won the Malaysian Open at nearby Kuala Lumpur in 2015, but his victory in the Open de France later that year was impressive and so was the shot he produced to beat Tommy Fleetwood in China last season.

In this grade, he should be a massive factor and the key for me, as someone who tends to think he's on the short side, is the location. Wiesberger's first European Tour win came in Korea, he's also won in Indonesia and in China, and overall his record in east Asia shows those three titles and four near-misses from his last 20 visits. His last three visits to Malaysia have returned form figures of 2-2-3.

Clearly, he's able to manage in the conditions and the presence of Stenson, Alex Levy and Haotong Li means we're able to back him at 20/1. While this is a good renewal of a second-tier event, there's only one man here who boasts a class edge and having played solid golf in the Middle East, Wiesberger should go really well.

It's tempting to side with the promising and very much in-form Thomas Detry after he showed up towards the top of the leaderboard in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but this is his first visit to Malaysia and more often than not experience proves invaluable.

With that in mind, Andy Sullivan is preferred at the same price.

This three-time European Tour winner endured a miserable 2017, failing to build on the form which earned him a Ryder Cup spot a year earlier, but some hard work during the off-season looks set to pay off.

Sullivan finished sixth last week despite a sloppy and expensive six at the final hole, which followed on from an eye-catching display in Abu Dhabi where he carded a second-round 65.

After last week's third-round 63, he's clearly found his scoring boots and the reasons for this upturn are fairly straightforward: hard work, a return to his stock fade, and the prospect of earning a second crack at the Ryder Cup.

"It feels like it's been coming for the first three weeks, really," he said last weekend. "Felt like I've come out of the gates, and my game is in good shape.

"Really trying to work hard. I want to get back to my best. Obviously it's Ryder Cup year, and when you've played in one of them, you don't want to miss another one.

"It's important for me to get back to where I belong and get back on the leaderboard and try to pick up some of these tournaments."

Sullivan won twice at this time of year in 2015, both in South Africa, and while his record in Malaysia doesn't appear particularly good at first glance (13-47), he has in fact been up there on both visits.

Back in 2014, when still seeking a top-level breakthrough, he sat second with a round to go in the Malaysian Open before stumbling to a closing 78 while he was inside the top 10 at halfway on his return. Throw in a 3-0-0 performance just down the road in the 2016 EurAsia Cup, and Sulli has played some beautiful golf in these parts.

Providing he maintains the accuracy off the tee he displayed in Dubai, which will prove a much greater weapon here, Sullivan looks sure to take to Saujana and can gain further reward for a winter of dedication.

Haotong Li's victory last week serves as a timely reminder that while events in the Far East have tended to be won by classy overseas players, rather than Asian Tour regulars who know that victory could change their careers, we should expect to see more and more talented youngsters show that they're up for the challenge.

As well as China's Li, we've seen Maybank runner-up Lee gain compensation and his Korean compatriot Jeunghun Wang secure titles in Morocco, Mauritius and Qatar.

The latter struggled a little in the aftermath of his play-off success in Doha almost exactly a year ago, but his form returned towards the end of 2017 and he's kept on improving in two starts this year.

Wang made just one bogey on his way to 15th in Abu Dhabi, a particularly phenomenal effort given that it came during the back-nine on Sunday, while he again led the bogey-avoidance charts when sixth in the Dubai Desert Classic.

As mentioned, avoiding mistakes made the difference for Zanotti here a year ago and Wang does have some form in Malaysia to call upon, including a solid 29th in the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic plus 14th in the 2015 Malaysian Open, when an opening 77 left him with a mountain to climb.

All three of those European Tour wins came when in form so now seems a good time to side with a player who missed the cut by a single shot here a year ago, when perhaps still adjusting to a big career-best in Qatar a couple of weeks earlier.

Still only 22, Wang has four titles to his name already and looks set to re-establish himself as one of the best young players on the circuit this spring, potentially starting here.

With three well-fancied players on-side, there's not much room left in a fairly weighty staking plan but for those who do like throwing a dart or two, there are several I considered.

Matteo Manassero ranked second for greens hit in Abu Dhabi, played well here last year and is a winner in Malaysia and Singapore. All his best form has come on fairly short, tree-lined courses where a degree of strategy is required and it wouldn't be a surprise were he to improve again having popped up for third place in India last spring.

Richie Ramsay boasts a similar skill set and flew home for sixth on Sunday. If he keeps hitting it as he has been lately, the Scot will go close again but his record in Malaysia is ordinary and there may be better opportunities for him in the weeks and months to come.

Australia's Sam Brazel produced his best performance of 2017 in this event and has returned to form since, so could be the latest to tie things in nicely with the Hong Kong Open which he won in 2016, with compatriots Andrew Dodt and Jason Scrivener also interesting for similar reasons.

Poom Saksansin beat Paul Casey in the EurAsia Cup singles and is a youngster who has been playing well for a long time now, Miguel Tabuena is striking the ball as well as just about anyone in the field and was second at a different venue two years ago, Alex Bjorn should take to the track and Ryo Ishikawa is a fascinating runner at 125/1.

Arjun Atwal is also a big price (175/1) for a two-time Malaysian Open winner who lost a play-off to Dylan Frittelli three starts back and was 10th last week, but it's compatriot Shubhankar Sharma who completes my staking plan from a lengthy list of tempting each-way options.

This 21-year-old was a seriously impressive winner of the Joburg Open before Christmas, carding 23-under with 10 shots separating him and the two players sharing sixth.

While it would've been difficult to predict such a performance, he had been playing very nicely beforehand, including at Fanling which rates a good guide to what we should expect this week, and he's certainly a player who has been highly touted for some time.

Sharma in action
Sharma in action in this event a year ago

Sharma finished with three birdies for ninth place in this event last year, when vastly inexperienced in European/Asian Tour co-sanctions, while his sole previous start in Malaysia saw him finish third at an admittedly low level.

Anirban Lahiri is another player from India who won the Malaysian Open a couple of years back and Sharma looks a huge price given his current ability and scope to improve, one which appears to be based on the idea that he struggled in the Middle East.

I see it differently. Making cuts among unfamiliar surroundings and on big golf courses in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai is entirely positive and the combination of a drop in grade and return to a familiar layout makes him a live player at 80s.

Posted at 1950 GMT on 29/01/18

Related links

Most Read

Last year's stars Buveur D'Air, Sizing John and Un De Sceaux1

Cheltenham Festival schedule, tips & guide

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival gets under way on March 13 and we've got all the tips and information you need ahead of the four-day spectacular.

Ostersunds celebrate as Arsene Wenger looks on2

Arsenal defeated but get through

Ostersunds created an 11/1 surprise as they won 2-1 at Arsenal but the Gunners still progressed in the Europa League.

Gary Anderson (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)3

MVG wins; Anderson & Wright draw

Michael van Gerwen thrashed Daryl Gurney 7-2 in Berlin while Gary Anderson and Peter Wright served up a Premier League Darts classic.

We've ranked the five English side's performances in Europe4

Ranking England's Euro contenders

All five English teams went unbeaten in the first leg of their Champions League ties, but who put in the best performance?

Clive Cox5

Friday's racing preview

Anita Chambers sides with an in-form Bobby Wheeler for her best bet on Friday - and she has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Most Read

Last year's stars Buveur D'Air, Sizing John and Un De Sceaux1

Cheltenham Festival schedule, tips & guide

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival gets under way on March 13 and we've got all the tips and information you need ahead of the four-day spectacular.

Ostersunds celebrate as Arsene Wenger looks on2

Arsenal defeated but get through

Ostersunds created an 11/1 surprise as they won 2-1 at Arsenal but the Gunners still progressed in the Europa League.

Gary Anderson (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)3

MVG wins; Anderson & Wright draw

Michael van Gerwen thrashed Daryl Gurney 7-2 in Berlin while Gary Anderson and Peter Wright served up a Premier League Darts classic.

We've ranked the five English side's performances in Europe4

Ranking England's Euro contenders

All five English teams went unbeaten in the first leg of their Champions League ties, but who put in the best performance?

Clive Cox5

Friday's racing preview

Anita Chambers sides with an in-form Bobby Wheeler for her best bet on Friday - and she has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Racing Tips

Check out our nap of the day

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

Black Kettle is David Ord's best bet of the day in the finale at Sedgefield - and he's Price Boosted to 11/2 from 4/1.

Clive Cox

Friday's racing preview

Anita Chambers sides with an in-form Bobby Wheeler for her best bet on Friday - and she has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

Next Race Off
07:30 Kolkata
2
(6)
New Challenger
J: B Mahesh
10
(1)
Royal Concert
J: Md Islam
9
(5)
True Genius
J: Ranidan Singh

Football Tips

Abdoulaye Doucoure of Watford celebrates

Saturday's Premier League tips

Watford are backed to beat Everton as one of our best bets for Saturday's action in the Premier League.

Billy Sharp scores from the penalty spot

Sky Bet EFL betting tips

Nick Hext's Sky Bet EFL selections start with a tip for Sheffield United's trip to Hull on Friday night, which is live on Sky Sports.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.