The Omega Dubai Desert Classic | 04 February – 7 February | Emirates Golf Club
The final leg of the Desert Swing tees off this week and this time around we’re heading to Dubai for the prestigious Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The Emirates Golf Club has long been a European Tour favourite and that, combined with the prize money on offer, has attracted a formidable field. Leading the betting is Rory McIlroy who will be looking to defend his crown but at 22/10 backing him is almost unthinkable.
Measuring a respectable 7,300 yards, this par 72 layout suits the big hitters. Whilst it may not play especially long the ability to hit the ball far goes a long way in setting up easy birdies as there are a number of driveable par 4’s. Traditionally the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have fared well here due to their ability to capitalise on these, so keep a close eye on anyone who drives well. Accuracy is not especially important either as the course is rather forgiving and mishit drives aren’t penalised too severely unless the end up in the water. Hitting the ball well in the wind is also an important statistic to look at so keep an eye on those who ended far up on the leaderboard this past weekend because the wind was blowing hard in Qatar.
So will Rory successfully defend his crown or would you do well to avoid backing him at such short odds? Let’s have a look.
To Win Outright
Rory McIlroy: 22/10
Henrik Stenson: 9/1
Martin Kaymer: 22/1
Byeong Hun An: 25/1
Louis Oosthuizen: 28/1
Thomas Pieters (30/1 a win, 66/10 a place)
Thomas Pieters is a player worth keeping an eye on and I have the feeling that this year he will add to those two European Tour victories he has under his belt already. Since joining the European Tour two years ago he has gone from strength to strength and although he slipped up slightly in Qatar last week, he was in fine form in Abu Dhabi when he finished 2nd. Had it not been for an average second round which saw him go one over he could well have won there. His last outing in Dubai was at the DP World Tour Championship and he finished inside the Top 25 there, against stiffer competition than he faces here. He seems to enjoy golf in these conditions and at this price, Pieters is definitely worth an each way bet.
Thorbjorn Olesen (35/1 a win, 77/10 a place)
Two weeks ago Olesen got his season underway and he got things off to a very disappointing start, eventually finishing T72 after a dismal final round saw him shoot a shocking 78. He bounced back last week though and looked in fine form in Qatar on his way to a T2 finish. He was ultra consistent throughout all four of those rounds and if he plays anything like he did then this week he’ll be worth backing each-way. He also loves this course and has T5 and T3 finishes under his belt already. Let’s hope he goes all the way this week.
Henrik Stenson (9/1 a win, 2/1 a place)
Unlike Olesen, who looked like he needed to shake the rust off before he got into gear, Stenson came out firing in Abu Dhabi two week ago, eventually finishing T3 against one of the best fields we’ve seen participating on the European Tour in a long time. That finish was due in part to his putting which was close to perfect. That will stand him in good stead this week as he should make a lot of birdies. I’ll be backing Stenson to edge Rory out this week. So should you.
Byeong Hun An (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
If you’re looking for a bit of each way value this week, you need not look much further than an in-form Byeong Hun An. Every time he tees off on the European Tour he looks like he may win and it is surprising that he only has one European Tour win under his belt. That could all change soon though as finishes of T3, T4, 8th and T5 in his last four starts show he is knocking at the door. And has shown he enjoys golf in the Desert so keep an eye on him this week.