The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2016 Preview

Written by Matt Cee for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship | 21 January – 24 January | Abu Dhabi GC



The African leg of the European Tour is over and this week players will head to Abu Dhabi for the start of the Desert Swing. As usual, this kicks off at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club with the much anticipated Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and after a few weeks of lacklustre fields, golf fans are in for a treat as some of the world’s finest have chosen to compete for a share of the $2.7 million prize pool. Jordan Spieth will be the main attraction this week but he will be joined by the likes of Rory McIlory and Martin Kaymer, a player who has traditionally dominated on this layout. With three wins under his belt here he’ll be confident that he can show the young stars a thing or two but don’t be surprised if the likes of Ricky Fowler and Matthew Fitzpatrick put up a strong fight. Jordan Spieth will be the main attraction this week but he will be joined by the likes of Rory McIlory and Martin Kaymer - a player who has traditionally dominated on this layout. With three wins under his belt here he’ll be confident that he can show the young stars a thing or two but don’t be surprised if the likes of Rickie Fowler and Matthew Fitzpatrick put up a strong fight.

Measuring over 7,500 yards, this course is a true test of golfing ability and birdies are hard to come by. The long, undulating fairways can prove difficult to hit and the strategically placed hazards, which include an abundance of bunkers and water, come into play on every hole. Once on the fairway the generous greens will prove easy to hit but don’t let that fool you, they’re incredibly quick and putting has always been a challenge here.




With a field of this calibre participating this week, it’s tough to imagine one of the bigger prices winning but let’s have a look and see if we can find some value.

To Win Outright
Rory McIlroy: 9/2
Jordan Spieth: 9/2
Rickie Fowler: 12/1
Henrik Stenson: 14/1
Branden Grace: 20/1

VALUE BETS
Martin Kaymer (22/1 a win, 48/10 a place)
Martin Kaymer’s game may not be as consistent as it once was but if you subscribe to the horses for courses theory then you need not look much further than an each way bet on the German. Over the years he’s managed to win this one three times but that’s not the end of it as he has also finished runner-up. Last year he once again challenged only to finish in third place. Kaymer is a confidence player and I doubt that there are too many courses where he feels more comfortable than he does here. At this price he’s certainly worth backing.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (33/1 a win, 73/10 a place)
Whilst it may be tempting to focus on the big names there are a few players down the betting order who are worth keeping an eye on and the first that catches my eye is Matthew Fitzpatrick. He may not have the course experience that the likes of McIlroy and Kaymer but he has looked to be in control of his game almost every tournament he’s participated in and I have the feeling he’ll relish the opportunity to compete against this field. Fitzpatrick is a player who should have a great season, each way her is the bet for me.

Jordan Spieth  (9/2 a win, 1/1 a place)
Whilst it would be relatively simple to justify ignoring Spieth this week and favouring McIlroy, I just can’t bring myself to leave him out completely. Anyone who watched Spieth win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions by eight shots, against a field consisting of some fo the best in the business, would have to agree and while the argument could be made that he will be tired from travel and doesn’t know the course, I don’t think that really holds water. He’s never struggled on his maiden outings and travelling throughout the year would have resulted in him being used to any jet lag he may suffer. 9/2 may be short but I’ll still be backing Spieth.

TOP BET:
Joost Luiten (66/1 a win, 14/1 a place)
It’s almost impossible to imagine that the likes of Joost Luiten will be in the mix with Spieth and McIlroy come Sunday but when you look at his previous performances in this event, this begins to look like a very appealing bet. In 2013 and 2014 he finished inside the Top 10 and although he didn’t compete here last year, that’s no reason to ignore him completely. Sure, his game isn’t as tight as those crowding the top of the bookies lists but at this price, it’s definitely worth taking a risk on Luiten. For that reason, I’ll be backing him each way.

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