Just four days after the end of one European Tour season, the next kicks off with a strong field assembled for the UBS Hong Kong Open, writes Phil Casey.
Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood, runner-up Justin Rose and fourth-placed Sergio Garcia have all made the trip from Dubai to Hong Kong along with our four tips from last week Matt Fitzpatrick, Julian Suri, Li Haotong and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
All four threatened to get in the frame and Fitzpatrick led at halfway before a disappointing third round, although it is tempting to give the Yorkshireman another chance here.
Fitzpatrick won the European Masters at a similarly tight, fiddly layout in Crans-sur-Sierre earlier this season and 12th place in Dubai continued his record of having not finished outside the top 15 since that win in September.
However, at the top of the market is Masters champion Garcia, who gets the nod as the first of our Hong Kong Open betting predictions at odds of 13/2 after his impressive tie for fourth last week, an impressive first competitive outing with new clubs.
While Fitzpatrick and Fleetwood will be playing their fifth event in a row and Rose his fourth in five weeks, Garcia took three weeks off after winning his own event at Valderrama – another tight, tree-lined course – and returned fresh in Dubai.
With Garcia on board it’s worth looking for some larger prices elsewhere in the Hong Kong Open betting and first up is England’s Paul Waring, who was seventh here last year after a closing 65.
Waring qualified for the DP World Tour Championship with back-to-back top-20 finishes and was a creditable 31st in Dubai, again saving his best till last with a final round of 67.
Hopefully such efforts have not taken too much out of the former English Amateur champion and he can be backed at 80/1 to get the new season off to a flying start.
And finally, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond could reward a speculative wager at 100/1 in the outright market or 8/1 for a top-10 finish.
The 21-year-old has won twice in Asia this season, was third on his last start in Indonesia and secured his European Tour card by chipping in for an eagle on the final hole of the qualifying school last week.
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Best bets for UBS Hong Kong Open