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Maybank Malaysia Open: Gallacher does his winning in winter

| 05.02.2015

The European Tour checks into the Far-East this week for the annual Maybank Malaysia Open and although Lee Westwood looks in fine shape for his defence, there’s another Brit in the field who is catching our attention.

Westy’s 2014 Ryder Cup teammate Stephen Gallacher is a 20/1 chance, which rates as each-way gold dust compared to the far stingier 6/1 on the Englishman at the sharpest end of the market.

It’s true that Westwood arrives in fine fettle for his second start of the season, where only a double bogey on the tenth at the Dubai Desert Masters prevented him finishing in the top five, though tying for ninth wasn’t all bad.

The best-player-never-to-win-a-major fairly-romped it at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club last year as well, boasting an 85.7 per cent driving accuracy to finish 18-under-par for his four rounds, seven shots ahead of the trailing field.

Backing a 15th career win in Asia is therefore tempting, but as discerning golf punters will be aware, this is a sport where lightning seldom strikes twice at one tournament so the case for Mr Gallacher grows more appealing.

Much like a whisky from his native land, Gallacher’s game has grown more refined with age, but at a golf course which rewards length off the tee, the 40-year-old can still give it a fair lick with the big stick.

He averaged just shy of 295 yards in driving distance when finishing runner-up here in 2012, taking full advantage of three par five’s under 540 yards and three par fours under 360.

Gallacher was fifth-longest in the field off the peg on his last start here in 2013, where he tied for 22nd, while rounds of 66, 67, 70 and 69 propelled him to third in Dubai prior to this event.

Interestingly, all three of his previous European Tour wins have arrived in January or February too.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.