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The Northern Irish Bound to Shine at the Hong Kong Open

If this week goes by the perceived script, it should be a week where Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell battle for the tournament right down to the final holes at the UBS Hong Kong Open.

Of course, this is golf; a successful script is the rarest of rarities.

Regardless of the final outcome, it will be a compelling week that showcases a wealth of British talent.  McIlroy is a slight favourite with the bookmakers teeing off on Thursday at (7-1).  The respect given to the young man from Holywood is well deserved. He’s been superbly consistent in recent months having posted four top-15 finishes in his last 5 starts.

McIlroy had his talents on full display in his last competitive round carding a 67 in Shanghai en route to a 5th place finish.  It seems like he’s getting ever closer to notching another win and if he can continue where he left off in China the field better take notice.

The books second choice is McIlroy’s countryman Graeme McDowell at (8-1).  The US Open Champ is coming off a bit of slumping finish in Singapore as he carded a 70 in the final round falling well off Adam Scott’s lead  and extinguishing any hopes of victory. 

Regardless , he did finish third so it’s really not signs of an overall slump in McDowell’s play.  He’s got a win and two 3rd place finishes in his last five events and it would be expected that he’ll continue to be a fixture on the leaderboard this week.

Feel like going with a longshot fan favourite?  Well, John Daly’s in the field, at (100-1), and the buzz in Hong Kong will turn into a roar if he’s able to put on a quality performance.  Realistically, not much should be expected out of the long hitter from Arkansas. 

He’s been mired in a season long slump where Daly’s managed just a single top-25 worldwide this year.  In his last start on the European circuit, he finished dead last in 142nd at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Other notables in the field include Englishman Ian Poulter who goes off at (11-1).  Expect him to try and break up the ‘week of the Irish’, he’s certainly got the game to do it and comes in playing some good golf after a 6th place finish in Singapore.

Just one other major champion in the field this week, 2009 PGA winner YE Yang is (40-1).  He’s as streaky as they come and if he gets off to a hot start it could be a good week for Asia’s first major winner.


Professional golf is the only sport where, if you win 20% of the time, you’re the best   - Jack Nicklaus

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