The Qatar Masters | 27 January - 30 January | Doha Golf Club
The Desert Swing continues this week as the European Tour heads from Abu Dhabi to Qatar for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Last week we saw four of the Top 10 golfers in the world competing in Abu Dhabi, but things are back to normal now with all of those having left. Regardless of their departure, there promises to be a lot of value to be found this week.
Measuring 7,400 yards, this par 72 layout has hosted this event since 1998 and over the years, we’ve seen some big names walk away victorious here, including Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia. It’s tough to pick an identikit winner but if there’s one aspect of the game that will assist in getting around this course it seems to be distance off the tee. The course plays long and when the wind is up things get tough. In all likelihood, that will be the case this week as there is little protection from the elements. It would also be wise to keep an eye on players who generally do well on links type layouts. Tight fairways and unforgiving rough are prominent and there is little room for error.
Overall this promises to be an interesting event and one which should be hotly contested. Let’s see if we can find a winner.
Branden Grace: 15/2
Sergio Garcia: 15/2
Thomas Pieters: 16/1
Louis Oosthuizen: 22/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick: 22/1
Thomas Pieters (16/1 a win, 7/2 a place)
Last week Thomas Pieters surprised everyone on his way to an impressive second in the Qatar Masters and after losing by a single shot to Rickie Fowler, he will arrive in Qatar confident that he has what it takes to take on this field. His success last week was driven by a combination of factors but it was his distance off the tee which had everyone talking. Ranking second in a field of big hitters is nothing to be ignored and on a course that will reward those booming drives, Pieters should be in the mix. I’ll be backing him each way.
Sergio Garcia (15/2 a win, 16/10 a place)
We haven’t heard much from Sergio Garcia lately but this week he returns to a course that he generally does well on and I’ll be having an each way bet on the Spaniard, despite the fact that he’s priced up so short. The reason Sergio has done well here time and time again is that his game suits the course perfectly and this week I can see him getting close. His long drives and accurate iron play should ensure he makes more than his share of birdies and Garcia doesn’t struggle to play in the wind. Let’s hope this is the start of a big comeback for him.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello (40/1 a win, 88/10 a place)
Cabrera-Bello doesn’t win often but he loves the desert swing and is definitely worth an each way bet this week. Last week he showed flashes of brilliance on his way to a Top 15 finish and two things from that performance stand out for me. Firstly, he hit more greens in regulation than almost anyone else, and secondly, this week the field is considerably weaker than that which he faced last week. If he can play anything like he did in Abu Dhabi he should be in the mix come Sunday so I’ll be backing Cabrera-Bello each way.
Peter Hanson (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
At this price, I’m finding it difficult to ignore Peter Hanson this week. Last week he finished 11th and traditionally players who have done well in Abu Dhabi have gone on to do well here. That finish was thanks to the fact Hanson ranked inside the Top 15 in both GIR% and driving distance and both of those stats will go a long way in ensuring he competes this week. Hanson has also done well here previously, having finished T2 four years ago. In a weak field, Hanson has every chance of claiming his first win in four years this week, let’s hope he can pull it off.
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