19:40 - October 31, 2015
Jaco Van Zyl is still in front at the Turkish Airlines Open, although he's now been joined by the inaugural event winner, Victor Dubuisson. Here's the third round leaderboard with prices to back at 19:30.
Victor Dubuisson -16 4.67/2
Jaco Van Zyl -16 8.07/1
Rory McIlroy -15 2.6613/8
Kiradech Aphibarnrat -15 7.06/1
Chris Wood -13 20.019/1
Byeong-Hun An -13 29.028/1
Lee Westwood -12 48.047/1
Peter Uihlein -12 50.049/1
Richard Bland -12 95.094/1
-10 and 120.0119/1 Bar
After three rounds, at a push, we look to be left with just eight men to assess with a round to go. Of the three on 12-under-par and four off the lead, Paul Krishnamurty's each-way selection before the off, Peter Uihlein, is the only one that I could even be remotely interested in.
Richard Bland just doesn't keep it together in-contention and Lee Westwood looks only a very dim shadow of his former self. Uihlein is capable of a final round charge but it's hard to see him not making a mistake somewhere along the line and I don't think he can afford one.
Of the two sat tied fifth but still three back, I prefer Byeong-Hun An at the prices but if he or Chris Wood is to win, they'll need at least a bit of help from the four in front and I think one of the leaders will win.
If Van Zyl is going to get the job done, he's going to have to step up considerably on what he's done in-contention previously on the European Tour and even though he leads, he looks too short to me and I just don't fancy him.
Joe Dyer's each-way fancy, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, is in cracking form and he's already won twice on the European Tour this year but he too looks too short to me now. He was poor when leading with a round to go at the British Masters a few weeks ago and I much prefer Ryder Cuppers, McIlroy and Dubuisson.
I know it's stating the bleeding obvious and that the two dominate the market but they have every right to and I think they should be shorter than they are. I'll be surprised if one of them doesn't go on to win and I'm more than happy to have Rory onside. I thought seriously about getting Dubuisson onside as well, as I wouldn't have him any bigger than 4.03/1, but after much deliberation I've decided not to stake any more on the event and to stick with Rory.
11:40 - October 31, 2015
Round three of the Turkish Islands Open is still in progress and live on Sky Sports but I thought I'd take a quick look at the CIMB Classic, where my sole in-running pick, Scott Piercy, really should be in with a great chance with a round to go.
Piercy stood in the par five 18th fairway, just two strokes off the lead and with the green comfortable in range, but he hit the worst three wood shot I've seen by a pro in many a year. It was so wild and wide that it finished somewhere right of the large hospitality tent adjacent to the green and the ball was never seen again.
Here's the third round leaderboard with prices to back at 11:30.
Justin Thomas -20 3.613/5
Brendan Steele -20 4.47/2
Kevin Na -19 4.47/2
Hideki Matsuyama -17 12.011/1
Brian Harman -17 22.021/1
Spencer Levin -17 28.027/1
Adam Scott -16 22.021/1
Scott Piercy -16 40.039/1
-14 and 110.0109/1 Bar
Between 2010 and 2014, in four Malaysian Opens and two CIMB Classics at Kuala Lumpur Country Club, we had six winners that were either leading, tied for the lead, or just a solitary stroke off the lead, so it's hard to see past the front three on the leaderboard. It's a very easy course and it seems to really suit frontrunners but it is worth highlighting that Anirban Lahiri won the Malaysian Open here in February having trailed by five with a round to go.
On that occasion, the four men ahead of Lahiri all performed really poorly with rounds of 73, 74, 74 and 75 so I suspect that may have been a one off. Hideki Matsuyama is quite well fancied but from what coverage I saw this morning, his short putting needs to improve and I think we need to be concentrating on the front three.
Brendan Steele was leading with a round to go, and on the back-nine on Sunday, at the Frys.com Open a few weeks ago but he went on to finish 17th! He has won on the PGA Tour (2011 Texas Open) but he's not one to trust in-the-mix and I made money laying him for a top-5 finish at the Frys. He'd have to perform really poorly not to place here but I don't fancy him to win and the same can be said of Kevin Na...
Na has at least won in Malaysia before as he won the now defunct Volvo Masters of Asia at the Kota Permei Golf and Country Club way back in 2002 but he's notoriously hard to win with on the PGA Tour. He's finished runner-up nine times now and won just once from over 300 starts and he too looks worth taking on so almost by default, Justin Thomas looks the one.
The 22-year-old PGA Tour maiden has already had a couple of chances to win and he hasn't been great in-contention - most notably at the Greenbrier Classic in July where he finished 54th having traded at just 2.26/5 at the turn, and you could argue he wasn't great today. He was matched at just 2.0621/20 after he'd raced to five-under-par through seven holes but he trod water thereafter and he needed back-to-back birdies to finish to get back tied for the lead.
Playing Thomas at just 3.613/5 isn't without risk. There's a chance nerves could take over again but given how well the course suits frontrunners, how poor his two nearest rivals are in-contention, and just how good he is, I think he's a fair price. It's only a matter of time before he makes his breakthrough on the PGA Tour and this looks a fantastic opportunity.
15:55 - October 30, 2015
When I stirred in the early hours and took a peek at the CIMB Classic leaderboard, in-running pick, Scott Piercy, had birdied his first three holes and so I was bit disappointed to see he went on to shoot just three-under-par for the entire round. Matched at just 2.767/4 in-running, I see he was five-under-par through ten but after a poor finish he now trails halfway leader, Justin Thomas, by two strokes.
I have no intention of getting up to trade this event tomorrow and I certainly haven't given up on Piercy yet so I'm going to leave the event alone for now. When Ryan Moore won two years ago, he lost the early lead before going on to win and it might just be that Piercy has gotten his bad round out of the way now. That's what I'm hoping anyway.
At the Turkish Airlines Open, first round leader, Jaco Van Zyl, was matched at a low of 2.3211/8 when he led the event by seven strokes today but after a slightly disappointing finish, he now leads by just two. Here's the halfway leaderboard with prices to back at 15:40.
Jaco Van Zyl -14 6.86/1
Chris Wood -12 6.411/2
Richard Bland -12 21.020/1
Victor Dubuisson -11 10.09/1
Fabrizio Zanotti -11 17.016/1
Rory McIlroy -10 3.814/5
Alexander Levy -10 28.027/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat -9 28.027/1
Lee Westwood -9 30.029/1
Graeme McDowell -9 32.031/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick -8 32.031/1
-8 and 65.064/1 Bar
Although he's won 13 times on the Sunshine Tour in his native South Africa, Van Zyl is still yet to win on the European Tour. Ian Poulter couldn't convert a six-stroke 36-hole lead here 12 months ago and I fear Van Zyl is also going to struggle. I don't think we should be scanning two far down the leaderboard though as the two winners here to date have been bang there at halfway...
Brooks Koepka sat second behind Poulter last year and Victor Dubuisson was tied at the top 12 months earlier. I'm happy to stick with Rory who's sitting just off the lead, despite doing very little. Yesterday his long game was a bit scrappy and today his irons weren't quite dialled in but I get the feeling he's on the verge of something special.
It's a sign of how badly Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell are playing this year that Kiradech Aphibarnrat is trading shorter than them on the same score and I can't argue with the market. The big Thai, who was Joe Dyer's each-way fancy before the off, looks a reasonable price to me and I thought the same about Alex Levy but I'm going to stick with Rory for now and see what tomorrow brings.
16.10 - October 29, 2015
When I went to bed last night, I was a bit miffed to see that Scott Piercy had started so well at the CIMB Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. A venue he'd never seen before. He'd been my sole selection last week on his home course in Las Vegas but following a disappointing opening 72, I knew I'd done my dough and he was never at the races. It's always irritating when it happens but having a selection play well the week after you've backed them is inevitable and just one of those things that every punter has to accept so it's pointless moaning about it.
Piercy didn't only start well, he carried on playing well and after shooting a sensational, bogey-free, ten-under-par 62, he leads Hideki Matsuyama by three strokes and the rest of the field by at least four and I thought he looked a great bet at 7.87/1.
As highlighted in the preview, rain delays are common in Malaysia and a 54-hole event is always a distinct possibility so a fast start is essential. Kiradech Aphibarnrat led all the way to win the Malaysian Open in 2013 when it was reduced to three rounds but even when it goes the distance being up with the pace is a big plus. Ryan Moore was in front after round one when he won the first staging of this event here two years ago and Lee Westwood won the Malaysian Open last year wire-to-wire.
Scott Piercy is a three-time PGA Tour champion already and if he has a decent second round he might prove hard to pass on a course suited to front running.
Over at the Maxx Royal at the Turkish Airlines Open, my pre-event picks have been very disappointing and are already too far back to compete given Thomas Pieters on level par is the best of the three and that he trails first round leader, Jaco Van Zyl, by 11 shots!
The South African is three clear of Lee Westwood in second, five in front of Chris Wood in third, and fully six ahead of the group of seven players tied for fourth on -5, so he's in a commanding position but I fancy pre-event favourite, Rory McIlroy, one of those tied for fourth, is lurking menacingly.
I saw a few tweets describing his putting as excellent during the pro-am and he carried that forward in to the tournament today. His long game wasn't terrific but with no rough to speak of he didn't do too much damage and if he can get off to a fast start tomorrow, he really does look like the one to beat. I think odds of around 4.03/1 are more than fair and I've had a small bet at 4.216/5.
CIMB Classic Pre-Event Selection:
Danny Lee @ 28/1 (Sportsbook)
CIMB Classic In-Play Picks:
Scott Piercy @ 7.87/1
Justin Thomas @ 3.613/5
Turkish Islands Pre-Event Selections:
Andy Sullivan @ 25/1 (Sportsbook)
Thomas Pieters @ 35/1 (Sportsbook)
Pelle Edberg @ 250/1 (Sportsbook)
Turkish Islands Open In-Play Pick:
Rory McIlroy @ 4.216/5
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