European Tour: Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Preview

Golfer admires his shot

We take a look at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters which is set to be hosted by the Doha Golf Club from 22 February - 25 February. 

It’s amazing how a scheduling change can drastically alter the tapestry of an event. When it used to be the middle event of the Middle East Swing, the Qatar Masters used to attract a healthy smattering of elite players. Now the event looks somewhat depressing, with Julian Suri the highest ranked player in the field at a dismal 70. 

Keith Pelley and the like may be pleased with the success of last week’s inaugural Oman Open, but they have also helped neutralize an established event in its 21st consecutive year, with many of the top European players already fine tuning their game ahead of Augusta National.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters | 22 February - 25 February | Doha Golf Club, Qatar

The Peter Harradine designed Doha Golf Club bares many similarities to the Harradine designed course recently played on in Abu Dhabi. It is a links style course that was opened in 1996. It is situated one mile from Qatar’s Easter coastline and about six miles north of central Doha. It is quite exposed and can become rather tricky when the winds pick up. One difference between this and the course in Abu Dhabi is that Doha has slightly grainier greens, similar to those found often on the Sunshine Tour.

Last season’s champion Jeunghan Wang returns to defend his title, while the likes of Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood will be hoping to capitalize on such a decimated field. Thorbjorn Olesen leads the markets while Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke are the only two major champions in the field. The tour organizers are going to figure out a way to recalibrate the schedule to accommodate a great event and magnificent golf course- it deserves better than this. 

 YESWENA

Past Winners
2017: Jeunghan Wang (-16)*playoff
2016: Branden Grace (-14)
2015: Branden Grace (-19)
2014: Sergio Garcia (-16)*playoff
2013: Chris Wood (-18)

To Win Outright:
Thorbjorn Olesen 14/1 | Andy Sullivan 18/1 | Jeunghan Wang 20/1 | George Coetzee 22/1 | Chris Wood 22/1

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Value Bets

Thomas Detry- To Win 28/1, To Place 6/1
The talented Belgian has proven himself to be a formidable desert force, with a T9 in Abu Dhabi followed up by a T22 in Dubai- in what were clearly much stronger fields than this motley crew. He also had a top 25 in Malaysia recently and this will be his second crack at this event. He had some encouraging signs last year, with rounds reading 67-74-70-69. After enjoying an off season training camp with compatriots Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Pieters it would appear that Detry is ready to emerge as a true force in European golf. 

Pablo Larrazabal- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
Spanish players have always thrived on these courses, with Sergio Garcia winning as recently as 2014. With such a poor field in play this week, respect has to be paid to those familiar with wining on tour. Larrazabal has four European Tour victories, including a victory in Abu Dhabi in 2014- which should bode well for this event. He also recently finished in a tie for third at the Maybank Championship, indicating that he still possesses the ability to mix it up atop the European leader-boards.

Paul Lawrie- To Win 200/1, To Place 43/1
While it does seem a stretch to take a look at 49-year old Paul Lawrie, the weakness of the field has opened up a plethora of possibilities that simply wouldn’t exist if the likes of Noren, Fleetwood and Wiesberger were in contention. The 1999 Open Champion is clearly a links specialist and has a pedigree here, winning the event in 2012. He also has encouraging recent form in much stronger fields here, finishing 13th in 2016 and 11th in 2014. He also won an event about 12 months ago on the Sunshine Tour, showing that he isn’t obsolete. He is a master when the wind picks up and could prove dangerous this week. 

The Man to Beat- Julian Suri- To Win 25/1, To Place 11/2
Brash American talent Julian Suri won on both the Challenge Tour and European Tour last year, and clearly has the potential to evolve this year. He also manged key top 10 finishes in Turkey- behind eventual winner Justin Rose- and Dubai- behind eventual winner Jon Rahm. He has shown that he is comfortable in the wind, winning by four shots in Denmark on a similarly exposed track. The Florida resident will know that victory here will launch him inside the top 50, giving him automatic qualification for both the WGC Mexico event and WGC Match-play. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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