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Majestic Molinari on course for back-to-back triumphs

Josh Williams November 10, 2010
Francesco Molinari was a winner last week © Getty Images
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Defending champion Ian Poulter will be looking to arrest his slide down the world rankings at the Singapore Open, which tees off on Thursday. Although Poulter scaled the heights at the Ryder Cup - spearheading the European charge with three points - he has been scraping around for his best form in the individual events.

The world No. 15 does not have a top-ten finish on the PGA Tour to his name since May, so for that reason we'll overlook him in Singapore - but his thoughts on the Sentosa course are of interest. "It's tricky and testing off the tee and therefore positional play is the key to a good score," he said.

What we're looking for, in that case, is someone who can find the right spot on the fairway with deadly accuracy. That description befits Francesco Molinari (15/1), who won in such scintillating style in Asia last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions event.

The Italian has been a habitual presence in the top five of tournaments this year - finishing up there on eight occasions - and after sealing his first win of the season we like his chances of collecting back-to-back triumphs.

Before his success in Shanghai, there would have been doubts over his ability to handle the fiendishly difficult putting surfaces which are a trademark of Asian courses. However, he coped with the greens admirably - making it four top-15s from his last seven trips to Asia - and we can't see any reason why he can't repeat the trick this week.

Beyond Molinari, Charl Schwartzel offers an enticing prospect at 25/1. The South African has been a model of consistency this year, finding himself top of the stroke average on the European Tour, and he tees off in Singapore - where he finished in the top five last year - having mounted a sustained challenge at three of his last four tournaments.

Charl Schwartzel tops the European Tour stroke average © Getty Images
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What's more, the South African has plenty to play for in the Race to Dubai standings, with three tournaments left on the European Tour schedule this year. The prize fund for the Singapore Open has been increased by $1 million this year, meaning that a push for the title would result in a significant leap up the money list. Although Schwartzel's chances of catching Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell at the top have evaporated, he could find himself snapping at the heels of the top three with a strong finish - so the incentives are obvious.

As ever, a couple of long shots to finish. Thomas Levet (150/1) is currently languishing outside of the top 60 in the Race to Dubai standings, which means, as things stand, that he won't qualify for the season-ending Dubai World Golf Championships. For that reason, he won't be lacking in motivation at a tournament that holds fond memories for him after he ended in ninth last year. Those lengthened odds don't entirely reflect his recent form, either, as he's found two top-20 finishes at his last four tournaments, including a fluent 67 at the Vivendi Cup towards the end of September.

Jeppe Huldahl (275/1) is another who looks overpriced, considering he fired a 66 at this tournament last year. Admittedly, he struggled for consistency - there were also two 75s in there - but he's playing okay at present, finishing the Portugal Masters at 12-under in mid-October. Worth some small change.

All odds, correct at time of publication, courtesy of Stan James. Click here to open an account and receive a £25 free bet.

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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk