European Tour fans have a rare treat this week, an event that genuinely challenges the concurrent event on the PGA Tour. The UBS Hong Kong open is the last event of the normal European Tour season before the finals series begins in Turkey next week. So the likes of Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson have made the trip to Hong Kong to take on the sort of players you’d normally be expecting to see on the Tour.
There aren’t many golf courses in Hong Kong but the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling is a genuine stunner. The club has three 18-hole courses and the championship course that will be used this week is a combination of holes from both the New Course and the Eden Course. The par 70 track only plays 6,734 yards but that doesn’t mean it is going to be easy. There are six doglegs on the layout (four to the left and two to the right) and the fairways are tree lined meaning there is a premium on accuracy. As well as keeping the ball in play off the tee, hitting a high number of greens in regulation is vital for doing well in Fanling.
Rose and Johnson are the two genuine world class players in the field this week but it remains to be seen whether they are here for the challenge or for other reasons. They’ve both got the ability to win though, and if you want to include one of them in your betting, side with the Englishman. Johnson is more at home at courses where he can use his huge distance while Rose, by no means short off the tee, excels at trickier tests like Fanling. Rose is a winner all over the world and although 6/1 is hardly a big price, it will look massive if you don’t get on and he romps home to victory.
Just below the big two names in the betting is Matthew Fitzpatrick. Before securing his first European Tour win a couple of weeks ago at the newly renovated British Masters, people were talking about his very good season. It could end up being a great season. Fitzpatrick may be one of the youngest players in the field but he is something of an old fashioned golfer. He keeps the ball low and hits a nice, controlled fade which he uses to plot his way around the golf course. He’ll need to work well with his caddie at Fanling but if he gets his strategy right, he has a great chance at 16/1 with Ladbrokes.
Anirban Lahiri has had a dream season. He won his first two European Tour events in February and played well enough in his appearances on the PGA Tour and the majors to get himself into the Presidents Cup team. This event is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour where Lahiri has seven wins (including the pair in February) and this is a course that looks tailor made for him. His game is all about keeping the ball out of trouble and making the most of his scoring chances so back him each way at 25/1 with Bet365.