Matsuyama Is A Rising Star From The Land Of The Rising Sun

Kiradech Aphibarnrat Our Bet for the CIMB ClassicThe CIMB Classic, a tournament that the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour sanction in partnership, moves to the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, which makes life difficult for punters looking to bet on the outcome of the event.

The combination of course form and recent form is the bread and butter of golf betting analysis so the switch to the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club means that the last three years of CIMB Classic scores are not worth very much. All that they show is an ability to play in Malaysia, which is hot and humid all year round because it is near the equator.

Thankfully, the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club has been the venue for the Malaysian Open since 2010 after staging it in 2006 as well. That does at least provide course form to pore over, although the Malaysian Open is not one of the world’s great tournaments so its fields have been mediocre.

Perhaps the golfer who will attract the most attention ahead of the CIMB Classic is Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the Thai who won the 2013 Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club with a 54-hole score of 13 under par because the weather forced the cancellation of the final round.

Aphibarnrat beat a half-decent field to take out the 2013 Malaysian Open and it was not the first time that the Thai had performed extremely well at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Aphibarnrat was third in the 2010 Malaysian Open having been the leader going into the fourth round so, if one places course form above everything else when it comes to determining a bet, the Thai is available at odds of 61.00 with Unibet to take out the CIMB Classic.

However, Aphibarnrat’s odds seem somewhat short given that he did not play very well in either the 2011 Malaysian Open or the 2012 edition of the event and, also, he is up against a PGA Tour-quality field in the CIMB Classic, including Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Keegan Bradley. Sure, it is not a top-drawer PGA Tour competition but it is not terrible.

Of the CIMB Classic market leaders, the golfer who appeals most is Hideki Matsuyama, who is trading at odds of 19.00 with Coral. Matsuyama has played extensively throughout Asia and the Japanese’s star power is undisputed following his performances in the three of this year’s majors in which he took part. Matsuyama was 10th in the Masters Tournament, sixth in the Open Championship and 19th in the PGA Championship. Matsuyama has posted 11 top 10s in 17 professional starts since he began playing for cash seven months ago. Aged 21, Matsuyama is one of the youngest golfers in the CIMB Classic line-up and that is another factor in his favour. Most recent Malaysian Open winners have been youthful and it just may be that being the right side of 30 is key to winning in testing conditions. The heat and humidity will knock many competitors about.

With regards to CIMB Classic match bets, Matsuyama is up against defending champion Nick Watney, with Stan James offering odds of 1.91 about both golfers. Watney won the 2012 CIMB Classic by one stroke from Robert Garrigus, holding off Tiger Woods and others in what was, arguably, a stronger field than the one that will contest this year’s edition. But the 2012 CIMB Classic did not take place at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club and Watney’s last start resulted in a disappointing 48th in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Matsuyama should be shorter than 1.91.

Matsuyama is available at odds of 2.50 with Ladbrokes to be the top Asian golfer in the CIMB Classic but one should not go taking short prices in a 12-golfer race when the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club has a history of producing low scores and, therefore, being something of a putting contest. By all means back Matsuyama at much longer odds to win the title but steer clear of backing him in this exotic market.

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