Malaysian Open preview

Course specialist Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is the favourite for this week's Maybank Malaysian Open, which begins on Thursday at the Saujana Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.

TOURNAMENT: Maybank Malaysian Open

HOST COURSE: Saujana Golf & Country Club, Kuala Lumpur

PRIZE FUND: $1,290,000

COURSE DETAILS: Opened in February 1986, Saujana is one of Malaysia's finest layouts and will be staging the event for the fifth time since the Malaysian Open gained European Tour accreditation in 1999. It is an extremely picturesque course and one of its most well known features are the palm trees that line every hole. Players will have to look out for the many undulations, which add yardage to the deceptively long 6,971 yard, par-72 track.

Despite only being an official European Tour event since 1999, the Malaysian Open actually dates back to 1962 - making it one of the oldest golf events in Asia. Past winners include Vijay Singh (1992 & 2001) and former World Matchplay champion Graham Marsh (1974 & 1975).

Of those fancied golfers lining up this week, both Thongchai Jaidee and Lee Westwood are former champions. Jaidee has a particularly good record at Saujana, having won the last two stagings of the event at the venue in 2004 and 2005. Last year he was forced to settle for second place behind Charlie Wi at the Kuala Lumpur G&CC, but his bid for a hat-trick of wins at Saujana has led the bookmakers to make him favourite this week.

Europeans have a very poor record in the event since it became a European Tour event and Westwood, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn will all be hoping to become only the second European winner since 1999. Among those leading contenders looking to foil them will be Jaidee, Jeev Milkha Singh, Thaworn Wiratchant, Mardan Mamat and New Zealand's 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell - all of whom can boast victories on the European Tour.

CONTENDERS: Thongchai Jaidee, Lee Westwood, Michael Campbell

BETTING GUIDE: For betting tips from our expert Paul Krishnamurty click here

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