The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters | Wednesday 21 January - Saturday 24 January | Doha Golf Club
After a successful weekend it’s time to get straight back into it and this week focus turns to Qatar for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. As usual, the tournament will be played at the Doha Golf Club and most of the field will be looking forward to playing a course that, despite its length, allows for some low scoring. Measuring in at a fairly long 7,400 yards, this par 72 course has seen some pretty low scores posted throughout the years and although it seems like it should suit the big hitters, very few previous winners tick that box. Rather, accurate iron play and a high GIR% have been the order of the day. There is also a fair amount of water around the course so the ability to stay away from that, especially on the par 3s where wayward tee shots could make or break a round, will be key. The fairways are also tight so accuracy off the tee will be important.
Overall this is going to be a highly entertaining affair as scores promise to be low and the course itself is one of the more interesting on the European Tour. Artificial lakes and imported palm trees and cacti make for some interesting scenery in the middle of the desert so don’t be surprised to hear the commentators making numerous remarks about what a feat of creation the course is. So who will win in the desert? Let’s have a look.
To Win Outright
Sergio Garcia 7/1
Justin Rose 7/1
Henrik Stenson 11/1
Charl Schwartzel 18/1
Branden Grace 25/1
Rafa Cabrera-Bello (50/1 a win, 11/10 a place)
Last week Cabrera-Bello’s missed cut was disappointing but despite that he will arrive in Qatar confident that he can put that behind him and post some low scores on a course that he has fared well on in the past. Last year he came out swinging and was in contention for most of the tournament, eventually ending up a respectable third. He also managed to finish third in 2011 so will be eager to go one better this time around. Each way is the bet for me.
Thorbjorn Olesen (30/1 a win, 66/10 a place)
Thorbjorn Olesen had a stellar 2014 season and will be looking to get his first win of the year in early, a feat which should be possible if he continues to play anything like he did towards the end of last year. Despite the fact that he never featured in his first few starts in Doha, he showed a real liking for the course last year when he finished inside the Top 5 and I reckon this week he has a real chance of going one better and winning. He’s one of the most exciting prospects we’ve seen in a long time and should be a player to keep a close eye on this year. I’m backing Olesen each way.
Alexander Levy (33/1 a win, 73/10 a place)
Alexander Levy seemed to come into his own last year and made us a healthy return so it’s always a treat to see him available at such an attractive price. He has one of the best all round games on the Tour and from tee to green there aren’t many players who have the ability to match him. He hits the ball long and straight but perhaps more importantly he’s deadly with his irons and should make a lot of birdies here this week. A shocker of a final day last week saw him finish T20 but he looked good over the first three rounds and is worth backing on those performances alone.
George Coetzee (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
George Coetzee seems to enjoy playing here and certainly looks like he has the game needed to go close this week. He’s well known as one of the bigger hitters on the European Tour but he also has a solid iron game and that combination will stand him in good stead on a course that rewards both. Last year he could have walked away with a win had it not been for a poor third round so hopefully he doesn’t repeat that performance and manages to string four good rounds together. Each way is the bet for me here.