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Mickelson Means Business in Malaysia

| 23.10.2013

The PGA Tour moves lock, stock and barrel to Malaysia this weekend as many of the biggest American names, including major winners Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson, tee it up at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Coral make ‘Lefty’ 9/1 favourite to win the CIMB Classic with Bradley second best at 12/1 and Spanish star Sergio Garcia close behind at 14/1.

This event now has official status on the PGA Tour and carries all-important FedEx Cup points for all those who make the cut. And even though the European Tour’s BMW Masters is taking place in Shanghai at the same time and has attracted the likes of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Henrik Stenson, the CIMB still has considerable strength in depth and certainly won’t provide easy money for the US top guns.

Americans have won the first three CIMB Classics, Ben Crane capturing the inaugural event in 2010 followed by Bo Van Pelt and Nick Watney, who last year shot a stunning 61 to win by a stroke from Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus.

Van Pelt, for one, will be sorry the event has moved location from the Mines Golf Resort, but the new venue has been receiving rave reviews from golfers and spectators alike and everybody should be in for a treat.

Mickelson is no stranger to playing in Asia, but this is his first trip to Malaysia, FedEx points and $7 million in prize money proving an irresistible lure.

The popular 43-year-old has gone off the boil since winning the Open at Muirfield in July and is talking about cutting down his schedule, but there’s nobody in the world better than him on his day and he should never be opposed lightly.

Of the outsiders, Jeff Overton (50/1 with Coral to win outright, 9/1 to finish in the top five and 7/2 in the top ten) makes some appeal. The 30-year-old from Indiana has endured a difficult 2013, but has shown distinct signs of a return to his best in his last two tournaments and could well finish in the mix this time.

Of the 78 in the field, ten will be from the Asian Tour, headed by Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who has become a familiar figure to viewers since winning the Malaysian Open (a European Tour event) in March with his individual and highly effective style of play.

The tubby Thai, current leader of the Asian Order of Merit, is another 50/1 shot (11/1 to finish top five, 4/1 top ten) worth a second look.


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Jon Freeman