After an exciting conclusion to the 2018 Race to Dubai, the 2019 European Tour season kicks off at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling. Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia are among the leading names in a high quality field for the Hong Kong Open, which was won last year by the Australian Wade Ormsby. At 6,699 yards, the composite course made up of holes from the New and Eden Courses is not long, but good positioning off the tee is essential on the tree-lined fairways. Miguel Angel Jimenez is a four-time winner and Padraig Harrington is another former champion.
There’s a small group of elite players in this week’s field and they dominate the betting, with Patrick Reed the market leader. Reed, who was third at this event in 2015 and runner-up in Dubai last weekend, is a best price of 6/1* with most bookmakers. Fleetwood, who has missed only two cuts in his last 35 starts, has finished third and sixth on his two appearances here.
The world number nine is 13/2* with Paddy Power. Being selected as a Ryder Cup wildcard has transformed Garcia’s season and he is finishing 2018 in magnificent form, winning the Andalucia Masters, being runner-up in South Africa and ninth last week. The Spanish world number 23 is at 7/1* with Ladbrokes. Rafa Cabrera-Bello has finished second here in each of the last two years and is at 10/1* with Paddy Power and Betfred, while Matt Fitzpatrick and Lucas Bjerregaard are widely available at odds of 14/1* and 16/1* respectively.
Marcus Fraser is often one to watch in Asia and he has a decent record in Hong Kong, where he has finished 11th or better on six of his 10 previous visits. Three of those good results have come in the last six years, while the 40-year-old from New South Wales has recently arrested a dip in form. He secured a top 10 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last month and was fourth at the Australian Open last weekend. Ladbrokes, BetVictor and Betfred are all offering him at best odds of 50/1.*
Paul Peterson has produced some strong results in Asia over the last few years, with 11 top five finishes to his name since 2014. That includes a victory in Myanmar earlier this year, since when he has put in some solid performances back on the European Tour. He shared 16th place at the Andalucia Masters on his last outing, while he tied for second place at this event 12 months ago. He was third for driving accuracy in the European Tour’s 2018 stats, a big advantage at this course. Bet365, Paddy Power and Betfred are all quoting him at 80/1*.
Aaron Rai produced a mixed bag of results in his first season on the European Tour, but he collected his fourth top 10 finish at the Nedbank Challenge a couple of weeks ago. Three Challenge Tour victories in 2017 earned him his card and there looks to be much more to come from the 23-year-old in the years ahead. He particularly stands out this week for his accuracy off the tee – he was fourth in the stats in 2018. Ladbrokes and Betfred are offering him at best odds of 80/1*, which looks a great each-way pick.
|*All odds quoted are subject to change|