The Dubai Desert Classic | Thursday 29 January - Sunday 01 February | Emirates Golf Club
The Dubai Desert Classic tees off on Thursday and a top class field have assembled to take part in what has always been an exciting affair. It comes as no surprise as this event has always attracted some of the biggest names in the game. Leading the pack this week is Rory McIlroy, who is a clear favourite at 7/2 and although he looks to have a huge chance I can’t justify backing him at such short odds. Rather I’m going to try and find a bit more value and hope that backing each player each-way offers a handsome return.
The Emirates Golf Club has always captured the imagination of the public as the lush fairways give way to barren desert. It’s an incredibly picturesque 7,200 yard par 72 course which features more water than expected in one of the harshest climates around. Seven lakes bring water into play on more than half of the holes. This means that accuracy is key but so is distance off the tee, as well as course form. Players who fare well here generally have a bit of course form so keep an eye on the more experienced campaigners. The ability to play well under pressure will also be an asset as come Sunday, a host of the best players in the world should still be in contention. So who will win this week in Dubai? Let’s have a look.
To Win Outright
Rory McIlroy 7/2
Henrik Stenson 14/1
Martin Kaymer 16/1
Lee Westwood 18/1
Sergio Garcia 18/1
Stephen Gallacher (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
Course form is going to be key here and no-one has fared better than Stephen Gallacher. He won back-to-back tournaments in 2013 and 2014 and came close in 2012 where he managed to place second. Despite the fact that his recent form isn’t nearly as good as some of the other contenders this week, he has been nothing if not consistent and rarely misses a cut. Hopefully he’ll be able to string four rounds together and given that he’ll be arriving here incredibly confident I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen.
Thorbjorn Olesen (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
Thorbjorn Olesen arrives in Dubai on the back of two poor finishes but never mind that, he has the tournament form required to go far on a course that he always seems to perform on. Last year he finished in a very respectable fifth place and in 2013 he finished third. Although he hasn’t performed the last two weeks he did look good at the Tour Championship and if he plays here like he did there he’ll be one to keep a close eye on. 11/1 a place looks like great value but if he can place, he can win. Each way is the bet for me.
Louis Oosthuizen (28/1 a win, 62/10 a place)
Louis Oosthuizen looked to be in great form towards the end of last year and managed to pull off six consecutive Top 15s on the European Tour. He will certainly be one to watch closely this week. Although he hasn’t played here for a while he has always been in the mix when he has made the trip and this time around should be no different. The course should reward his consistency so again, I’m going each way.
Nicolas Colsaerts (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
On a course that rewards distance off the tee it’s difficult to look past the Muscles from Brussels, so this week I’m making the big-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts my number one pick. He looked to be in decent form last week and hit a lot of greens in regulation as well as being incredibly accurate off the tee so it looks like he’s put last season behind him and is focussing on the future. If he can make a few birdies he’ll be in contention come Sunday.