It is fair to say that the most recent winners on both the European Tour and PGA Tour wouldn’t have been tipped by many.
Russell Knox started the week for the HSBC Champions event as the seventh reserve, while Peter Malnati was a first time winner on the PGA Tour at the Sanderson Farms Championship, largely thanks to one of the hottest putters in memory that may as well have been shipped in from the Arabian Peninsula.
Again it is the European Tour that claims star-attraction status this week, with the BMW Masters representing the penultimate event of the season at the non-European location of Shanghai.
With 2011 winner Rory McIlroy absent, others will attempt to bridge the gap at the head of the Race To Dubai standings before the season-long competition concludes at the World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Alexander Levy is currently languishing down in 38th spot in the standings, but he can make a late dash up the leaderboard with a victory in China at 50/1, with Ladbrokes paying ¼ of the odds each-way on the top five places.
Levy made light work of the Lake Malaren course 12 months ago for three rounds by shooting 65, 66 and 63 to establish a four-stroke lead. A closing 78 in extremely high winds ruined all of his good work when he lost to Marcel Siem in a play-off.
Alongside this runner-up finish, Levy won the 2014 China Open and finished third in that tournament this year too. He clearly has a strong record playing golf in the country.
His long driving will be an asset here where distance is a far bigger premium than accuracy off the tee, while his record on bentgrass greens is additionally strong. He ranked fourth in terms of putting average at the China Open and seventh in Sweden this year when also finishing third.
With the forecast looking far less breezy this time and expected soft conditions meaning he can attack the flags, it is not a taxing tip to predict Levy to go close in China again.
The PGA Tour also pays a visit to an unusual location this week with the OHL Classic hosted in Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. The skill-set required is almost the complete opposite to the BMW Masters, as the short, awkward course has narrow fairways.
Ladbrokes are offering the top price of 25/1 on Brendan Steele and given that a victory would probably move him into the top 50 of the world rankings and take him closer to qualifying for a place in the Masters for just the second time, he may be more up for it than most.
Steele has been solid in 2015 by racking up six top-10 finishes, but he needs to show better composure in final rounds based on his results this season. He was in contention at both the Frys.com Open and CIMB Classic before blowing his chance over the final 18 holes with his worst round of the tournament.
However, he should be fresher than most having avoided the need to travel from China and he has experience of the course having placed 16th and 37th in the past two years.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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