Rory Ready To Roar Once More
There are no two ways about it, this has been a very disappointing year so far for Rory McIlroy. For whatever reason, and everybody has their theories, the 24-year-old former world number one has been struggling for most of 2013 and on occasions has even looked pretty demoralised.
But a second-place finish in South Korea last week has cheered him up no end and prompted punters to take him seriously again as he goes into the final, important stretch, (dubbed ‘The Final Series’, the climax of the Race To Dubai) of the European Tour season this weekend in the BMW Masters in Shanghai.
McIlroy finished second in this event last year to Peter Hanson and Coral rate him a 15/2 chance to go one better. The long (7,600 yards) Lake Malaran lay-out plays to the Ulsterman’s strengths and Shanghai, in general, seems to bring out the best golf in him.
His task may be simplified a little if Henrik Stenson, the Order of Merit leader and Coral’s other 15/2 joint favourite for this tournament, is forced to sit it out with a wrist injury or elects to play through the pain. They say “beware the injured golfer” but maybe not so much when it’s a wrist problem.
Martin Kaymer (14/1), Luke Donald (16/1) and Lee Westwood (18/1) also all former world number ones, are back in action. Kaymer has tumbled down the world rankings further than the other two since his brief spell at the top in 2011 (he is now down at 38th), but comes into this tournament on the back of some pleasing performances and could well be in the final mix.
So, too, could Ross Fisher (22/1), another golfer fighting his way back to the top. Back in 2009 Fisher was a serious last-day contender in both the US Open and the Open and the following year was a member of the victorious Ryder Cup team at Celtic Manor.
But he hasn’t had much to shout about since and indeed was in danger of becoming the forgotten man of the golden generation of top class English players.
Four top ten finishes in his last five events, including a play-off defeat in Australia last weekend, have shown that Fisher is still a force to be reckoned with and this long-hitting 32-year-old may again make his presence felt on a course that should be right up his street.
Coral go 4/1 Fisher finishes in the top five and 2/1 the top ten and he also makes appeal in the ‘Top Englishman’ market at 11/2.