The 2018 ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf gets under way on Thursday in a special event on the European Tour and the Chinese duo of Haotong Li and Ashun Wu can claim the spoils Down Under.
It will be the 59th edition of the tournament and the Danish duo of Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen will be looking to become the first pair to defend the title since Davis Love III and Fred Couples in 1993.
Australian duo Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are the 17/4 favourites to lift the trophy whilst England’s pairing of Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton – who were both part of Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup win – are next in the betting at 25/4.
However, Chinese stars Li and Wu look a very tempting price at 18/1 and they will be eager to improve on their joint runner-up finish in the last edition of the tournament in 2016.
The event may be switching from Kingston Heath Golf Club to the Metropolitan Golf Club, but the Chinese pair are both in good form ahead of Thursday’s opening round and have shown they like playing together.
World number 40 Li finished second at the Turkish Airlines Open and tied-fifth at the Nedbank Golf Challenge before ending the season with a tie for 30th at the DP World Tour Championship.
As for Wu, the 33-year-old landed the KLM Open title in September and has added another four top-20 finishes to his name this year, highlighting his improvement during 2018.
Matt Kuchar has thrived in this tournament over the past few years, having lifted the trophy in 2011 alongside Gary Woodland before finishing runner-up with Kevin Streelman in 2013.
The American won his first tournament in four years at the Mayakoba Golf Classic recently and has another good team-mate this year after choosing to play alongside Kyle Stanley.
Stanley may not have picked up a win this year but he has recorded 10 top-15 finishes, which have seen him climb to 30th in the world.
The US duo should mount a strong challenge for glory and are fully worth their odds of 31/4.
Other notable pairings in the field include Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne of Ireland, who are 13/1 to win the title, and the duo can go close if they manage to up their game slightly.
Dunne has endured a mixed season, with a second-place finish at the Open de Espana hi highlight, but joining forces with world number 74 Lowry could prove to be the tonic needed.
The latter came close to winning the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when runner-up in the rain-affected tournament and has shown signs of revival in recent weeks, meaning the Irish pair could be one to watch this week.
Spaniard’s Jorge Campillo and Adrian Otaegui also look tempting at 24/1 and there is sure to be plenty of passion on show from the European duo.
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