This week's Asian Tour event is live on Sky Sports, so our man's taken a good look and he doesn't think you need to look too far from the top of the market to find the winner. Read his in-depth preview here...
“We know Bernd Wiesberger can play the course – in addition to his win twelve months ago, he finished 7th in 2012 – and it would be no surprise to me were he to emulate Lee Westwood and double-up.”
First staged in 2011, this will be just the fourth staging of the Asian Tour's Indonesian Masters
Royale Jakarta Golf Club, Jakarta, Indonesia
Par 72, 7,304 yards
The Royale Jakarta Golf Club is made up of three nine hole courses - North, South and West. The tournament is played over a composite of the South and West with the West Course making up the front-nine and the West the back-nine.
Designed by Robert Moore Jr of US based JMP Golf Design, Royale Jakarta is a long and very open looking course with water in play on many holes. The grass used throughout the course, including on the greens, is Sea Isle Supreme - a new and resilient strain of Paspalem grass.
Live on Sky Sports all four days. On the Sky Sports website, it's listed as being live on Sky Sports 4 (Red button) and Sky Sports Xtra - starting at 07:00 on Thursday and Friday and 05:00 over the weekend but it's advertised on TV as being on at 10:30 on Thursday and Friday and at 10:00 over the weekend. I'm assuming that they'll rerun the live coverage shown behind the red button at the latter times shown but please check.
First Three Winners
2013 - Bernd Wiesberger -15
2012 - Lee Westwood -16
2011 - Lee Westwood -19
What will it take to win the Indonesian Masters?
Length has been beneficial over the first three renewals. Lee Westwood only ranked 16th for driving distance when he won the inaugural event but he ranked fourth when defending in 2012 and nobody hit it further than last year's winner, Bernd Wiesberger but the most obvious stat to consider is greens in regulation - Westwood ranked 1st for greens hit in both 2011 and 2012, as did Wiesberger twelve months ago.
Is there an identikit winner?
The big names have dominated the event so far and they've managed to put a fair bit of daylight between themselves and the remainder too. Westwood was five clear after three rounds when he won the first of his two titles and eight in front at the same stage in 2012.
Bernd Wiesberger only beat Ernie Els by a stroke last year, but with Japan's Daisuke Kataoka two back in third, Thongchai Jaidee five off the lead in fourth and a further two shots back to the group of three tied for fifth - it was yet another strung-out leaderboard with the cream at the top.
On the little evidence we have, it doesn't look as though it's very easy to make up lost ground here. In each of the three renewals to date, the winner has been inside the top-ten at every stage and no worse than two off the lead after round one. Westwood powered away after halfway in 2011, led wire-to wire in 2012 and Wiesberger recovered from a stuttering second round to trail by just one with a round to go last year.
With very little information available about the course and only three years worth of stats to analyse, we haven't got too much to go on at all but I wonder whether the Paspalem grass might be an angle in. It's a grass type used prevalently in South Africa and I thought Louis Oosthuizen's familiarity with the surface will be a big plus.
He started slowly last week in Malaysia before finishing nicely to finish tied 2nd. Last week's venue, the Kuala Lumpur Golf Course, is also layed to Paspalem and he won the event there in 2012. Given he ranked 3rd for driving distance at the US Masters and 7th last week, and 7th and 8th for greens in regulation and 22nd for putting in each of the last two weeks, his recent stats look perfect for this venue and he's most certainly the one to beat.
When Victor Dubuisson won the Turkish Airlines Open and finished third at the DP World Tour Championship in November last year, not only was he hitting it miles off tee and finding greens with relentless regularity, he was putting phenomenally well too - something that he isn't doing now.
Other than driving distance, all his stats have slipped back a bit of late and, other than his runner-up finish in the WGC World Matchplay event, his form has too. He's never played the event before or even in Indonesia and he's readily opposed.
Defending champion, Bernd Wiesberger, is also suffering a bit with his putting but that's about the only negative - the rest of his game is in tip-top shape and when finishing runner-up in Malaysia he finished inside the top-ten for driving distance, driving accuracy and greens in regulation. We know he can play the course - in addition to his win twelve months ago, he finished 7th in 2012 - and it would be no surprise to me were he to emulate Lee Westwood and double-up.
Having just been announced as the Asian Tour's Player of the Decade, Thai veteran, Thongchai Jaidee will be keen to put up a bold show this week. He's played in all three renewals and he's fared quite well so far...
Having finished runner-up in the inaugural staging, he was never in the hunt in 2012, when he finished 29th, and he should have fared much better than 4th last year. After opening with rounds of 69 and 65, Jaidee led by two strokes at halfway but a third round 75 derailed his chances of victory completely but that sort of mediocre in-contention effort is more likely than a stoic win for the 44-year-old nowadays and given he's now only won once (the 2012 Wales Open) since 2010, others are preferred.
I will be surprised if one the market leaders don't win this and I wanted to back Louis Oosthuizen but the price is just a shade too skinny. I'd have played at 11/2 but he's only 7/2 on the Sportsbook and that's just too short.
I'd have him and the defending champ, Bernd Wiesberger, at a bit closer than they are and I'm happy to have the smallest of wagers on the Austrian at 9/1, though there may well be better value in the market as the event progresses.
Bernd Wiesberger @ 9/1 (Sportsbook)
With the kids off school, I'm out and about this week so I won't get to kick-off the In-Play Blog until Saturday morning.
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