BMW Masters guide

A preview and stats for the BMW Masters in China - the first event of The Race to Dubai's Final Series

By Dave Tindall Twitter: @DaveTindallgolf.   Last Updated: 21/10/13 10:37pm

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Rory McIlroy hits to the 18th green at Lake Malaren Golf Club during a pre-event photocall last year

Rory McIlroy hits to the 18th green at Lake Malaren Golf Club during a pre-event photocall last year

Sky Bet

Week one of the European Tour's newly-installed Final Series takes 78 of the world's leading players to Shanghai in China.

For the second season in a row, the event is being staged at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Lake Malaren complex.

Just two years old, the 7,607-yard par 72 course has plenty of large sand bunkers, numerous water hazards and is reasonably flat.

The greens have numerous gentle contours, placing a key emphasis on accurate iron play.

FORM for EUROPEAN TOUR EVENTS staged in ASIA

Since Jan 1st, 2012

Player: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 /10 /11 / 12

Race To Dubai positions

(Top 10 in Sky Bet's odds)

Henrik Stenson 1
Rory McIlroy 63
Lee Westwood 18
Luke Donald 60
Martin Kaymer 29
Ian Poulter 15
Louis Oosthuizen 11
Ross Fisher 43
Graeme McDowell 2
Nicolas Colsaerts 30
Paul Casey 34
Bernd Wiesberger 28

Felipe Aguilar: 17 / MC / 69 / 7 / - / - / 17 / MC / MC / MC / 40 / 8
Thomas Aiken: - / - / - / - / 35 / 28 / MC / - / Won / 11 / - / MC
Thomas Bjorn: - / - / - / - / - / 21 / 4 / - / - / - / MC / 8
Gregory Bourdy: - / 47 / MC / - / - / - / 41 / 22 / MC / 11 / - / -
Rafael Cabrera-Bello: - / 3 / 29 / - / 35 / 46 / 50 / - / - / 22 / 49 / 51
Alejandro Canizares: 10 / MC / 64 / - / - / - / MC / 22 / MC / 55 / 62 / -
Paul Casey: - / - / MC / 25 / 6 / - / 10 / 19 / - / - / MC / 8
George Coetzee: - / MC / 4 / 7 / 6 / 56 / 14 / - / - / - / - / -
Nicolas Colsaerts: - / 29 / 2 / - / 14 / 54 / - / - / - / - / - / -
John Daly: Wd / - / - / - / 33 / - / Wd / MC / - / - / - / -
Eduardo De La Riva: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / MC
Luke Donald: - / - / - / - / 3 / 18 / - / - / - / MC / - / -
Jamie Donaldson: 51 / - / 44 / 15 / 16 / 42 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Victor Dubuisson: - / 11 / 4 / 3 / - / - / - / MC / 9 / 4 / MC / 3
Simon Dyson: - / 24 / 36 / - / 51 / - / 24 / 19 / MC / MC / 40 / -
Gonzalo F'dez-Castano: - / - / - / - / 46 / 28 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Darren Fichardt: - / - / - / - / - / - / 29 / - / - / - / - / -
Ross Fisher: - / - / MC / 7 / 20 / - / - / - / - / - / - / -
Tommy Fleetwood: MC / MC / MC / - / - / - / - / - / 9 / 11 / 31 / 29
Marcus Fraser: 4 / MC / 6 / 3 / - / 42 / 33 / 3 / - / 69 / 2 / MC
Stephen Gallacher: - / 2 / MC / - / - / - / MC / 4 / - / 22 / 6 / 24
Ricardo Gonzalez: MC / 24 / 6 / 65 / - / - / - / - / 23 / MC / 49 / 12
Branden Grace: - / 40 / Won / - / 43 / 62 / - / - / - / - / - / 33
Matthew Griffin: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / 33
Luke Guthrie: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / -
Peter Hanson: - / - / 14 / - / Won / 24 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Padraig Harrington: - / - / - / - / - / - / MC / MC / - / 6 / - / -
Gregory Havret: 14 / - / - / 32 / - / - / 63 / 61 / MC / MC / 23 / 14
Shao-Cai He: - / - / MC / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / MC
Dave Horsey: 54 / MC / MC / - / 33 / - / MC / 15 / 6 / - / - / -
David Howell: MC / 33 / MC / 12 / - / - / 41 / 69 / 17 / 6 / 31 / Dq
Mu Hu: - / - / MC / - / 51 / 77 / - / - / - / - / 40 / MC
Ming-Jie Huang: - / - / MC / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / -
Wen-Yi Huang: - / - / 52 / - / 63 / - / MC / - / - / - / - / 67
Mikko Ilonen: - / - / 64 / 32 / - / - / - / MC / MC / 17 / MC / 2
Raphael Jacquelin: - / - / - / - / - / - / 41 / 22 / 34 / 33 / MC / 14
Thongchai Jaidee: 41 / MC / - / 25 / 16 / 21 / MC / 10 / 43 / 33 / 6 / -
Scott Jamieson: 60 / MC / 23 / 49 / - / - / MC / MC / - / 17 / MC / 66
Miguel Angel Jimenez: - / - / - / 5 / 30 / - / 33 / Won / - / - / - / -
Martin Kaymer: - / 7 / - / - / 11 / 9 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Simon Khan: - / 52 / MC / - / 55 / - / 58 / 54 / MC / 55 / - / -
Maximilian Kieffer: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / 23 / - / - / MC
Soren Kjeldsen: - / 16 / 29 / 20 / 20 / - / 37 / 50 / 34 / 55 / MC / 33
Brooks Koepka: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / -
Pablo Larrazabal: - / 24 / 18 / - / 58 / - / 50 / 8 / 17 / 6 / 6 / 5
Paul Lawrie: - / - / 14 / - / 35 / 36 / - / 10 / - / - / 49 / 14
Craig Lee: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / 56 / - / - / MC
Hao-Tong Li: - / - / MC / - / 68 / - / Wd / - / - / - / - / MC
Xin-Yang Li: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / MC
Wen-Chong Liang: 35 / 29 / MC / Wd / 20 / 24 / 17 / 22 / 3 / 22 / 55 / 51
Yan-Wei Liu: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / MC
Shane Lowry: - / - / 49 / 32 / 5 / 32 / MC / - / - / - / - / -
Joost Luiten: 17 / 20 / 18 / - / 26 / 36 / 29 / - / MC / 22 / - / 8
Graeme McDowell: - / - / - / - / 11 / 42 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Paul McGinley: 14 / - / - / 7 / 70 / - / - / - / - / - / 31 / MC
Rory McIlroy: - / - / - / - / 2 / - / 3 / MC / - / - / - / -
Francesco Molinari: - / - / 6 / - / 35 / 39 / 5 / - / - / - / - / -
Garth Mulroy: - / - / - / - / - / 56 / 56 / - / - / - / - / -
Alex Noren: - / MC / 6 / 7 / 6 / - / - / - / - / 6 / 6 / 41
Thorbjorn Olesen: 6 / - / 52 / MC / 58 / 11 / 29 / - / - / - / - / -
Louis Oosthuizen: - / Won / - / - / 6 / 6 / 2 / - / - / - / 5 / -
Ian Poulter: - / - / 29 / 15 / 4 / Won / - / - / - / - / - / -
Julien Quesne: 17 / 20 / 11 / - / - / 42 / MC / 22 / 9 / 55 / MC / MC
Brett Rumford: - / MC / 29 / 20 / - / - / - / 40 / 71 / - / Won / Won
Ricardo Santos: 10 / - / 23 / - / - / - / MC / 15 / MC / MC / - / 5
Marcel Siem: 2 / 29 / MC / - / 51 / 11 / MC / - / - / - / - / -
Henrik Stenson: - / - / - / - / 26 / - / - / - / - / - / - / -
Richard Sterne: 23 / MC / MC / MC / - / - / 50 / - / - / - / - / -
Dong Su: - / - / MC / - / 70 / - / - / - / - / - / - / MC
Peter Uihlein: 57 / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / 65 / -
Justin Walters: - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / MC
Marc Warren: 29 / - / MC / 60 / - / - / - / - / 43 / - / 40 / MC
Steve Webster: - / 33 / MC / MC / - / - / MC / 54 / - / 65 / - / 21
Lee Westwood: - / - / - / - / 14 / 6 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Bernd Wiesberger: 41 / 57 / - / Won / 40 / 28 / 24 / - / 61 / 33 / 31 / -
Danny Willett: - / 3 / 39 / 38 / 30 / 62 / - / - / - / - / - / -
Chris Wood: - / - / MC / 45 / - / - / 7 / 10 / - / Ret / - / -
Ashun Wu: - / - / MC / - / 25 / 36 / - / - / - / 11 / 23 / MC
Lian-Wei Zhang: - / 66 / 64 / - / 68 / - / - / 15 / - / - / MC / MC
Xin-Jun Zhang: - / - / MC / - / 60 / 56 / - / - / - / - / - / MC

Key: 1 - Avantha Masters (India); 2 - Malaysian Open; 3 - Volvo China Open; 4 - Ballantines Championship (Korea); 5 - BMW Masters (China); 6 - HSBC Champions (China); 7 - Singapore Open; 8 - Hong Kong Open; 9 - Avantha Masters (India); 10 - Malaysian Open; 11 - Ballantines Championship (Korea); 12 - Volvo China Open

Note: Events 1-8 (2012); Events 9-12 (2013)

Peter Hanson: Winner in 2012

TOP-12 Finishers at LAKE MALAREN in 2012

Peter Hanson: (Won)
Rory McIlroy: (2nd)
Luke Donald: (3rd)
Ian Poulter: (4th)
Shane Lowry: (5th)
Paul Casey: (T-6th)
George Coetzee: (T-6th)
Alexander Noren: (T-6th)
Louis Oosthuizen: (T-6th)
Martin Kaymer: (T-11th)
Graeme McDowell: (T-11th)

LOWEST 15 AVERAGE POSITIONS

(For European Tour Events Staged in ASIA since Jan 1st, 2010)

Average (Events)

11.00: Martin Kaymer (7)
14.00: Rory McIlroy (8)
15.63: Peter Hanson (8)
15.90: Ian Poulter (10)
16.33: Graeme McDowell (9)
18.20: Louis Oosthuizen (10)
20.38: Francesco Molinari (8)
25.86: Jamie Donaldson (14)
26.27: Miguel Angel Jimenez (11)
27.63: Victor Dubuisson (8)
28.56: Joost Luiten (18)
29.77: Thongchai Jaidee (22)
34.85: Pablo Larrazabal (20)
35.00: Henrik Stenson (6)
35.25: Alex Noren (16)

Min. No. of Events = 6

LOWEST SCORES at LAKE MALAREN in 2012

62: Jamie Donaldson (1st round)
64: Peter Hanson (2nd)
64: Robert Karlsson (2nd)
64: Shane Lowry (2nd)
65: Three times
66: Eight times

Lake Malaren (Shanghai): Par 72; 7,607 yards

Winning Total

2012: 267 (Peter Hanson)

Conclusion

Jamie Donaldson in action during his opening 62 last year

Last year's event came just four weeks after Europe's amazing Ryder Cup win so it was no surprise that the leaderboard was crammed full of Medinah heroes i.e. the best players in the field who were all on a high.

Once again, the field is packed with quality but it's hard to put as much faith in the star names this time as many have had a month off and aren't in particularly good form anyway.

That said, Rory McIlroy's form in China is ridiculous with eight top sixes in nine starts, including a victory and three seconds.

And you can add to that a second place in this event last year plus a victory at this course when it held an unofficial event - the Shanghai Masters (with a first prize of £1.25million!) - in 2011.

But do we trust him yet? Yes, he was an encouraging second in South Korea last week but his putting was poor and 7/1 in a field of this quality is hardly generous.

So with Rory not quite there yet and 11/2 Henrik Stenson due a cooling off period, I'll head a bit further down the betting to Jamie Donaldson.

The Welshman opened with a stunning 62 here last year before losing the magic and finishing 16th.

"The golf course seems to suit my eye, I like the way it's designed."
Jamie Donaldson Quotes of the week

That, incidentally, isn't even his best round on Chinese soil as he carded a 61 in round two of the 2011 China Open.

He's finished fourth and seventh in two of his last three starts in the China Open so he likes this part of the world and this course in particular. "The golf course seems to suit my eye, I like the way it's designed," he said last year.

Most recently, he was a close-up sixth in the Portugal Masters and, despite coming away with decent putting stats, missed plenty of good chances on the greens and could easily have won that event.

He's certainly not resting on his laurels having already landed a biggie - the prestigious Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January - and after his near-miss in Portugal he said: "I've got four to six big events left. I've got lots of goals, lots of targets to hit for those big tournaments. If I can pop off a win from now before the end of the year, it would be great in the grand scheme of things."

Everything points to a big week so take him each-way at 35/1.

Jet-leg won't be a factor for Ross Fisher having finished runner-up in Perth last week. In fact he should be very nicely acclimatized, with Perth and Shanghai currently located in the same time zone (both seven hours ahead of the UK).

Fisher is in excellent form of late and his second place in Perth followed on from finishes of 8-MC-3-5.

He hit over 80% of greens in regulation in Perth (rank 2nd) and his irons have been dialled in for some time.

Importantly, he left Australia feeling very upbeat rather than downcast.

"Just unfortunately came up a little bit short, but I can be very pleased the way I played today," he said after the Perth play-off. "The golf's been very, very good. I'm just pleased I'm knocking on the door and I know one of these days, it will come."

He was 10th after 54 holes here last year before finishing 20th so, hopefully, this will be the week.

Further down the betting, it could pay to get with big-hitting Argentine Ricardo Gonazalez at 150s.

He'll surely like this long, open course and his last two starts in China have produced a 12th and a 6th.

As for current form, the four-time European Tour winner was 38th in Portugal (shot a third round 65) and seventh in the Alfred Dunhill Links (63 in round three).

Interestingly, he's also topped the day one leaderboard in two of his last seven starts (Italian Open and Johnnie Walker) and in seven of his last 91 so take him at 100s for first round leader and hopefully wake up to some good news on Thursday morning UK time.

Best bets

2pts e.w. Jamie Donaldson at 35/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
2pts e.w. Ross Fisher at 25/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Ricardo Gonzalez at 150/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Ricardo Gonzalez to be first round leader at 100/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)

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