The DP World Tour has stayed in the Far East this week for the Thailand Classic, which takes place at Amata Spring, Bangkok.
Ockie Strydom was a big-price winner of the Singapore Classic - last week's DP World Tour event - and the golf betting community will be hoping that the Thailand Classic is an easier puzzle to solve.
Strydom, suffering with back problems and with form figures of 63-MC-MC from his three previous 2023 starts, edged Sami Valimaki by a shot to take the trophy in Singapore. Will another outsider triumph in Thailand or will one of the market principals justify their odds?
|Where||Amata Spring Country Club, Chon Buri, Bangkok, Thailand|
|When||From 00:00, Thursday 16th February 2023|
|How to watch||bet365 Live Golf Tracker, Sky Sports Golf|
|Odds||Nicolai Hojgaard 16/1, Jordan Smith 18/1, Robert MacIntyre 18/1, Thorbjorn Olesen 22/1, Antoine Rozner 22/1|
Nicolai Hojgaard can be backed at 16/1 to make the Thailand Classic his third DP World Tour title. The Dane has won in each of the last two years - the Italian Open followed by the Ras al Khaimah Championship - and he has started 2023 in menacing fashion.
Hojgaard's ball-striking has been impressive all year, starting with a superb display for Continental Europe in the Hero Cup, but his putting has been disappointing. If he can find something on the greens this week - and in practice he has been using a new putter - then the cocksure young gun could be the man to beat.
Jordan Smith is available at 18/1 to follow up a steady share of 17th place in Singapore with a trophy-winning performance in Thailand. Smith enjoyed a huge boost to confidence when landing a long overdue second Tour title in the Portugal Masters in October.
If the Bath man suddenly finds the form he showed in Portugal, the rest of the Thailand field could be in trouble.
Popular Scottish left-hander Robert MacIntyre has become a regular around the top of the market for DP World Tour events, without making a serious impact. He is 18/1 to kickstart his year by winning at Amata Spring.
The DP World Tour moves to Delhi next week for the Indian Open.
Standard each-way terms of a quarter the odds, the first five places are available for the Thailand Classic, while there are also alternative options, including a fifth the odds the first eight places, in the Each Way Extra section.
Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok is arguably the best course in Thailand, with water coming into play on almost every hole, including a 17th hole which has a Sawgrass-style island green.
The layout measures 7,505 yards, playing to a par of 72, with four par-fives, ten par-fours and four par-threes.
Charl Schwartzel is the 72-hole course-record holder, having carded a 25-under-par total in the 2012 Thailand Championship there, while Lee Westwood is the 18-hole course-record holder, having fired a sensational 60 in the 2011 Thailand Championship.
There were five Thailand Championships staged at Amata Spring from 2011 to 2015. Jamie Donaldson is the only course winner from that quintet of events who is teeing it up this week.
A 36-hole Open Championship qualifier was held at Amata Spring from 2011 through 2014. Sunny, hot, calm conditions are forecast, so DP World Tour chiefs will probably let players wear shorts, as was the case in Singapore.
Four of the five Thailand Championships were won with a sub 20-under-par total and that should again be the case this week.
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Local hero Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who finished fourth at the DP World Tour Qualifying School in November, has moved back to Bangkok and is loving life in his homeland. The 30/1 chance has been a popular choice for Thailand Classic glory.
Aphibarnrat won the 2013 Open qualifier at Amata Spring and knows the course much better than most of the field.
DP World Tour form figures of 44-30-20-16-4 show that Thorbjorn Olesen is slowly but surely finding his A-game and he played the final 24 holes of his last tournament in 12-under par.
The 22/1 for the Thailand Classic has tempted many, as Olesen is a six-time DP World Tour champion, and Amata Spring is the sort of course the swashbuckling Dane can attack.
An outsider to consider may be Clement Sordet, who finished second in the 2015 Thailand Championship at Amata Spring and was runner-up in the South African Open just before Christmas.
The Frenchman, 100/1 this week, made 24 birdies in Singapore last week.