No Rory McIlroy in Shanghai this weekend leaving the way open for some of the grinders on the European Tour to get themselves some serious dollar before the season finale next weekend in Dubai.
Branden Grace led, faded, then led again last weekend to eventually reward each-way backers and has been punted again to go close at the BMW Masters at Lake Malaran Golf Club.
With tee-off on Wednesday night (BST) – here are the 5 players you’re backing to snaffle some bounty while the R2D leader is out-of-office.
1. Matthew Fitzpatrick
It’s been some year for the 21-year-old rookie who capped a fine season by winning the British Masters last month and posting eight top 10 finishes since turning pro after the 2014 US Open.
A former World amatuer No.1 he’s been punted with fellow Sheffield pro Danny Willett to keep up the big mo’ on the run-in to the R2D.
Finished T3 (Hong Kong Open) and T7 (HSBC Champions) in two of his last three tournaments where he shot eight rounds in the 60s.
2. Branden Grace
Brought home some bacon when T5 last weekend after a final day 68 at Sheshan International – despite leading the field for the first two days and hitting the front again at the 11th hole on day four.
One Top 20 finish in three visits to Lake Malaren needs to be built on as the South African needs to win in Shanghai to knock the absent Rory McIlroy off top spot. Has the game and showed he’s not short of guts by hanging in with two top 5 finishes at the US Open and US PGA Championship.
3. Alexander Levy
A winner-in-waiting or a cheese-eating surrender monkey? French ace Levy has shown flashes of brilliance at times only to disappoint down the stretch.
Led until the final day here last year before a closing 78 saw him needlessly caught up in a three-way play-off that was won on the first hole by Marcel Siem.
Finished third in his title defence to Kiradesh Aphibarnrat at the China Open in April so his prowess in East Asia isn’t in doubt – but his bottle may be.
4. Danny Willett
A final day 10-under par catapulted the Englishman into third place at Shazan last weekend and second in the R2D standings with two tournies to play. This could be his time.
Willett needs to finish 28th or better to shunt Rory McIlroy off top spot. Seems to be finishing his season as strongly as he started it – following up a T11 in Turkey with a T3 at the HSBC Champions last weekend three shots behind maiden winner Russell Knox.
Finished sixth at the Open Championship in July and proved that was no fluke by winning the European Masters on his next start.
May never get a better chance to win the R2D bounty.
5. Louis Oozthuizen
New Yorkers couldn’t pick him out of a line-up earlier this week – despite him showing them a photograph – but when the 2010 Open Champion gets his game face on he can grace any leaderboard.
Has finished runner-up in both the US Open and the Open Championship on a restricted yet lucrative schedule and if he wants to end 2015 with an over-sized winners’ cheque – he needs to make a move.
Just don’t ask anyone in the Big Apple to recognise him if he does.