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Home : Golf NewsBack to News

Stenson looks like a good one

 

Henrik Stenson, Sweden's all-time greatest male golfer now into his early 40s, has been finding victory hard to come by since his lone major triumph in the Open Championship in July 2016.

He has often been there and about since his last win in the US PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship in August last year, but victory has not been coming as often as it used to for this skilled, long ball striker who can claim to hit the sweetest 3-wood in the game.

That the British Bookies have ranked him as their number one favourite to win the European Tour's Maybank Championship at the Saujana G&CC in Kuala Lumpur this week, however, is not altogether a surprise - and this not only because, at No 12, he's the lowest ranked player in the field.

Our site's able forecasters believe there will be no wind to speak of this week and expect thunderstorms and/or rain to be restricted to late Thursday afternoon, but they do expect it to be very hot and humid all week, with temperatures reaching 93°F on most days.

In short, players unable to handle the heat might find it hard to win at Saujana.

So can Stenson, a cold-blooded Scandanavian, do it? It seems he can.

A few weeks back, also in Malaysia, Stenson had some good wins in high temperatures when helping Europe defeat Asia in the EurAsia Cup.

Add to that the fact that when he moved to the Middle East a week later he promptly picked up an 8th place at Abu Dhabi and followed that with a 4th in Dubai to sound a warning that he is beginning to find his old winning momentum again.

So yes, there are good reason's why he has been given odds of 15/2 as against the 14/1 of inform Frenchman Alexander Levy, the 16/1 of Austria's Bernd Wiesberger, the 18/1 of Li Haotong of China, who last week held off Rory McIlroy to win their head-to-head battle in Dubai, the 22/1 of South Africa's Dylan Frittelli, one of the inform, current-season winners in the field, and at 33/1 England's Chris Paisley, another of them.

After Levi's Abu Dhabi and Dubai heroics where he finished 7th and 4th respectively and looked to be in the kind of form that will earn him his place in the Ryder Cup when it is played in Paris, the premier City of his home country, later this year, there is also good reason to see why the American-born Frenchman is up among this week's favourites.

I'm not so sure about Wiesberger as the No 3 choice of the bookies, though.

He did shoot a second round 62 in last year's Maybank Championship, but then again he followed that up with a see-saw 73 and 66 to finish third and he hasn't done too much since his victory in the Shenzhen International in April last year.

Fritelli and Paisley, on the other hand, have been pretty busy coming up with a series of strong finishers.

In his last 10 starts the tall South African has claimed a win, a second, a fourth, a sixth (in Dubai on Sunday) and four other top 20s while Paisley, who ended 2017 in the absolute wilderness with four missed cuts in six starts, has come back after his Christmas break to win the South African Open and then, staying hot, grab two top 5s in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

And what about Li, who broke all kinds of records when he beat McIlroy in Dubai last week, including the Tournament record.

It's never easy to win back-to-back on one of the big tours, but in the mood he is in right now, it's not outside the compass of the cool-headed, 22-year-old Chinaman to win again this week - especially if he can adjust to Saujana's grainy Bermuda greens and keep wielding his putter as brilliantly as he did in Dubai.

Kuala Lumpur may not have drawn as strong a field as did Abu Dhabi and Dubai, both of which can boast that, outside of the Open Championship. they offer the highest prize money on Tour, but the Maybank with its prize fund of $3,000,000 matches them all the way and this will clearly heighten the ambitions of all who are playing in it this week, heat or no heat.

LEADING ODDS
(Tuesday AM, Jan. 30, 2018)

Henrik Stenson 15/2
Alexander Levy 14/1
Bernd Wiesberger 16/1
Haotong Li 18/1
Dylan Frittelli 22/1
Jeunghun Wang 30/1
Chris Paisley 33/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 30/1
Andy Sullivan 35/1
Thomas Detry 35/1
Thorbjorn Olesen 35/1
Joost Luiten 40/1
David Lipsky 40/1
Paul Peterson 45/1
Lee Westwood 45/1
Shaun Norris 45/1
Dean Burmester 45/1
Miyazato Yusak 50/1
Fabrizio Zanotti 55/1
Shubhankar Sharma 60/1
Alexander Bjork 60/1.

NOTE: For local betting options visit BetWay, or visit oddschecker.com/golf/maybank-championship/winner.

Neville Leck

Written by neville@golfweather.com.