Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour 2020: Dubai Desert Classic Preview

European Tour 2020: Dubai Desert Classic Preview

Tommy Fleetwood walking the green

The European Tour moves nimbly this week from Abu Dhabi to Dubai for the second leg of this Middle East swing. This year sees a fairly strong field gather for what is sure to be another rousing edition of the Dubai Desert Classic. 
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The European Tour 2020 | Dubai Desert Classic
Majlis Course, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, UAE
Thursday 23 January 2020 - Sunday 26 January 2020

This event is quite historic in being the first European Tour event played on the Arabian Peninsula. Now it is one of a half dozen events that take place in this part of the world, with the more controversial Saudi International laying in waiting. This event began life in 1989 and this will be the 31st edition of the Dubai Desert Classic: there was no event held in 1991. Many of the greatest names in world golf have tasted success in this event. Ernie Els is a three-time winner while Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have both won this event twice. European Tour icon Seve Ballesteros also claimed victory in this event.

The Majlis Course was designed by Karl Litten and opened in 1988. The course has hosted every edition of the Dubai Desert Classic since its inception in 1989- with the exception of 1999 and 2000. It is yet another typical, exposed desert track, with generous fairways and minimal rough. The front nine is far more challenging, with holes 6, 8 and 9 proving to be testing. But that gives way to a more generous back nine, with par 5’s on holes 10, 13 and 15. Wind conditions could prove vital this week. There is a possible bias in favour of the AM starters, though the wind is only really expected to howl on Sunday. Once again look for links specialists to thrive here: six of the last thirteen to win here have won the Open Championship.

Lee Westwood will be hoping to make it a desert double after a sensational victory in Abu Dhabi last week. Bryson DeChambeau is the defending champion this week and will need to step up after a fairly disastrous showing in Abu Dhabi. His post-season conversion into the Terminator has done little for his game thus far. Tommy Fleetwood leads the markets whilst the likes of Matthew Fitzpatrick and Louis Oosthuizen continue to play consistent golf. Bernd Wiesberger looks to continue his own hot form while Viktor Hovland continues his meteoric rise in the game.

Past Winners
2019: Bryson DeChambeau (-24)
2018: Li Haotong (-23)
2017: Sergio Garcia (-19)
2016: Danny Willett (-19)
2015: Rory McIlroy (-22)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Tommy Fleetwood (7/1)
Matthew Fitzpatrick (11/1)
Louis Oosthuizen (12/1)
Henrik Stenson (18/1)
Sergio Garcia (20/1)

Value Bets

Henrik Stenson
To Win (18/1), To Place (39/10)
Stenson decided to skip last week’s opening desert event in Abu Dhabi, instead opting to play in Singapore. He followed up his brilliant victory in the Hero World Challenge with a middling 23rd place last week. But the serene Swede returns this week to an event that he absolutely thrives in. The desert golf specialist claimed victory here way back in 2007. He also possesses three top 10’s in his last four starts here, including a runner-up finish in 2018. Stenson seems to be reaping the benefits of a slightly truncated schedule and could be back to his consistent best this year.

Jordan Smith
To Win (100/1), To Place (22/1)
Jordan Smith has actually quietly accumulated a steady run of form of late, making nine consecutive cuts in one of the most consistent periods in his career. He opened with a poor 74 last week in Abu Dhabi. But he rallied with rounds of 68-67-69, putting him just outside the top 20 last week. Smith should be well equipped for this test. He has finished 12th in the DP World Tour Championship, 3rd at Walton Heath, 5th at the Dunhill Links and 6th in Qatar, highlighting his suitability for the test this week.

The Man to Beat

Bernd Wiesberger
To Win (25/1), To Place (11/2)
This one really is something of a no-brainer and seems to be a consensus choice this week. Wiesberger is trading at nearly four times the price of Fleetwood, which I find quite extraordinary. Outside of McIlroy and maybe Jon Rahm, Bernd Wiesberger has been the most consistent European golfer over the last 12 months. He will be looking to win his fourth event in eight months, which includes two Rolex Series titles. A disappointing Sunday saw him drop from 2nd to 8th last week. But it shouldn’t obscure how hot his form is. He finished 4th here in 2015 and brings brilliant links form to this event. He has a win on Scottish links and two runner-up finishes on Irish links. Simply too good to pass on at 25/1.  

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