A superb couple of weeks on the European Tour came to a thrilling conclusion on Sunday in Dubai when Haotong Li held off the challenge of Rory McIlroy to win the Dubai Desert Classic. Like many others who competed in Dubai, Li then hopped on a plane bound for Kuala Lumpur for a crack at this week’s Maybank Championship.
The Palm Course at Saujana Golf and Country Club is the Maybank Championship host course for the second year running. The 7,186 yard, par 72 layout, which was reworked in 2015, has been used on the European Tour several times previously the Malaysian Open host.
The changes have toughened up a course which was already considered one of the toughest in the region. The Majlis course was criticised for being little more than a bombers’ paradise last week but it was putting that separated the best of the best in Dubai. The Palm Course is much more fiddly than the Majlis with tree lined fairways, water hazards and doglegs but putting will be key again. Approach play is also worth considering as recent rain has left the course soft and receptive.
Levy Ready for Ryder Cup Charge
Alex Levy is desperate to play in the Ryder Cup. The Frenchman wants nothing more than to make his debut in the tournament in front of a home crowd and he’s doing all the right things. He showed Thomas Bjorn was he’s capable of in team competition at the recent EurAsia Cup and followed that performance up with finishes of seventh and fourth in the desert.
Levy may be very much on Bjorn’s radar but he still has much more work to do before proving himself worthy of a captain’s pick. A couple of wins this season would do the trick and he might just pick up the first one in Malaysia.
Critics of Levy call him a flat track bully. They suggest his aggressive style of play only fits certain courses and tournaments but even they have to think the Palm Course suits his game. Levy will give it a rip off the tee, aim for the flags and then give every putt a chance of falling in. That approach could pay dividends on a soft course and a bet on Levy at 16/1 with Coral could do likewise.
Can Warren Putt His Way Back to Form?
Marc Warren has been through the ringer over the last year or so. The Scotsman struggled badly with his game for months but he seemed to be putting those problems behind him towards the end of last summer. A second place finish at the Portugal Masters prompted a lengthy run without missing a cut which came to an end in the Middle East over the last fortnight.
Warren fans shouldn’t be too upset about that setback though. Recent form has never been a good indicator of success at Saujana and the Palm Course should suit Warren much better than the desert tracks of the last fortnight. Warren ranks very well in terms of putting on the European Tour and can use his flat stick prowess to return for an each way bet at 175/1 with Bet365.