The Betfair golf team offer a quintet to follow at the Volvo China Open...
"Lucas Bjerregaard has been slow to get going so far this year but he enjoys a low-scoring birdie-fest like this and he has a great record in China. A return to the region could just spark a renaissance and the 200/1 on offer looks worth chancing."
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Pablo Larrazabal @ 33/1
Pablo Larrazabal had a bit of a shocker in Morocco last week and said as much on Twitter but we're all allowed a bad couple of days at the office and I prefer to focus on his form prior to that. The Spaniard was T21 in his home Open de Espana (R2 65) and had previously racked up a run of 4-4-44-3. On that form, the four-time European Tour winner must have a serious chance on this week's Woosie-designed Topwin G&CC where he posted third last year after holding a three-shot lead at halfway. T11 and T8 on his two previous visits to this corner of the globe, Larrazabal was also T5 in the 2013 Open and followed that with another top five at The BMW Masters. He likes his trips to the Far East. He can enjoy this one too.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Nicolas Colsaerts @ 80/1
I am in total agreement with Steve Rawlings - this course is tailor-made for the bombers - and in Nicolas Colsaerts I have one the biggest hitters on tour, who as an added bonus has won this tournament before. This former Ryder Cupper missed the cut last week but had been in fair form prior to that, making four consecutive cuts. What persuades me to back him this week is a course that looks sure to suit - four par 5s and a pair of drivable par 4s - and that win at the event back in 2011, still one of only two European Tour victories to his name. Birdies and big hitting are the name of the game this week and that was the case for Colsaerts' best event of last year, the Turkish Airlines Open, where he finished runner-up.
Steve Rawlings: Back Lucas Bjerregaard @ 200/1
It's impossible to argue a case for Lucas Bjerregaard on current form given he's missed his last four cuts but he was in rotten form when he finished third here two years ago - having been tied for the lead with a round to go. The big-hitting Dane, who won the Portugal Masters in October, has been slow to get going so far this year but he enjoys a low-scoring birdie-fest like this and he has a great record in China. A return to the region could just spark a renaissance and the 200/1 on offer looks worth chancing.
Joe Dyer: Back Alvaro Quiros @ 66/1
Despite winning a European Tour event as recently as May last year I was as surprised as anyone to see Alvaro Quiros come so close to landing last week's Trophee Hassan II. Once one of the brightest talents on tour, the Spaniard has been in the doldrums for quite some time and even that 2017 victory at the Sicilian Open looked somewhat anomalous given the immense run of missed cuts that followed it. In fact Quiros only made one cut from 14 events after winning in Sicily, although there has been some improvement this year, the 35-year-old making the weekend three times from seven outings. Clearly then it's a bit of a leap of faith to think Quiros can go close again but his stats were hugely impressive last week - even ranking in the top 10 for driving accuracy which is most unlike this big, but occasionally wild, hitter - and with Steve Rawlings reporting a positive vibe in Big Al's camp following a change of coach there are reasons to like his chances at an event (though not the same course) where he finished third in 2014.
Mike Norman: Back Ryan Fox @ 66/1
After recording another solid finish in Morocco last week (T12) Ryan Fox said he couldn't wait to get to China to play a course that will suit his game more favourably, admitting that in his last two visits to Topwin Golf & Country Club his driver let him down badly (and the stats back that up). I'm not surprised he's looking forward either, Fox ranked first for Driving Distance last week, and is generally regarded as one of the longest hitters on Tour, which should be a big advantage at this week's venue. But what also pleased Fox in Morocco was his accuracy from the tee which allowed him to find plenty of Greens in Regulation (he ranked second for the week in the stat); hit it long and straight at Topwin and you'll be presented with stacks of birdie and eagle chances. Fox finished third at the Maybank in his last visit to Asia earlier this season, so that's another plus, and we're approaching the time of the year when the New Zealander performed so well in 2017. He has a lot going for him for each-way takers at 66/1.
2018 Season P/L to date: -£102.00
- US Masters, Bubba Watson @ 16/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Hero Indian Open, Andrew Johnston @ 33/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Oman Open, Jorge Campillo @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Maybank Championship, Shubhankar Sharma @ 60/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Dubai Desert Classic, Alex Levy @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- UBS Hong Kong Open, Paul Peterson @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
* Total P/L for 2017 Season: -£336.17
* Total P/L for 2016 Season: +£267.58
* Total P/L for 2015 Season: +£958.37