Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour 2020: Oman Open Preview

European Tour 2020: Oman Open Preview

Louis Oosthuizen chips on to the green 




Damien Kayat previews the Oman Open taking place at Al Mouj Golf Club. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
The European Tour 2020 | Oman Open
Al Mouj Golf Club |  Muscat | Oman
Thursday 27 February - Sunday 1 March

The European Tour returns from an early-season sojourn for the 2nd Middle East Swing of the season. In many ways the Oman Open is the black sheep of the Middle East events, still struggling to find its identity in the midst of far more established events. It’s hard for this event to compete when emerging events such as the Saudi International have so much financial clout. This will be the 3rd renewal of a tournament first staged in 2018. Set against the backdrops of the stunning Hajjar mountain range, Al Mouj Golf Club in Muscat is a striking golf course. Regardless of the depth of the field, this should offer a pleasant re-entry into a European state of mind.

This course was designed by the ‘Great White Shark’ himself- Greg Norman. It should come as no surprise then that Al Mouj is a links course: Norman was an exceptional links exponent.  Al Mouj is flat and extremely exposed, with generous fairways and penal rough for those wayward enough to miss the short stuff. The whole course is SeaDwarf Paspalum, which makes it a similar test to the Dubai Desert Classic and Saudi International. Just like any links-style challenge, Al Mouj is highly susceptible to wind variations. Joost Luiten won the first installment in benign conditions at 16 under. Kitayama won last year when the wind restricted the winning score to 7 under.

As I alluded to earlier, this is a slightly sub-par event that is struggling to attract premier names at this congested period of the year. Thomas Pieters looks like the class act in the field and his price certainly reflects that. Martin Kaymer has shown far more consistency over the last year while Thomas Detry and Min Woo Lee seem to represent the future of the tour.  2018 champion Joost Luiten is in the field while Kurt Kitayama has chosen to eschew this event in favour of the one in Florida. This could be the perfect opportunity for someone like Hao Tong Li to establish himself once again as a force on tour.

Past Winners
2019: Kurt Kitayama (-7)
2018: Joost Luiten (-16)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Thomas Pieters (11/1)
Martin Kaymer (14/1)
Thomas Detry (18/1)
Joost Luiten (20/1)
Min Woo Lee (25/1)

Value Bets

Gavin Green
To Win (25/1), To Place (11/2)

Malaysian Gavin Green is one of the most powerful ball strikers on the European Tour. His recent tie for third at the stacked Saudi International allowed him to flaunt his prodigious length off the tee. That may not be as big a factor this week, but it's hard to ignore his general form. After a 15th at the SA Open, he picked up three consecutive top 30’s in the first Middle East Swing. Plus, the Saudi was ultimately played in quite breezy conditions, which should be perfect prep for this week. Furthermore, he did enjoy a top ten at last year’s Irish Open.

Andy Sullivan
To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)

As you will notice from my selections this week, I have opted to largely play fairly strong contenders this week. I just have a feeling that the top of the market will do well this week, particularly if windy conditions help to favour the links specialists. Andy Sullivan is due a win. He won three times in 2015 but has performed very consistently of late. He has six top 25 finishes in his last eight starts. Sullivan also has a brilliant recent result on the links, finishing in a tie for second at last year’s Irish Open. He has a top 20 here in 2018 and should be a contender to do well this week.

The Man to Beat

Thomas Pieters
To Win (11/1), To Place (24/10)

I hate going for the out and out favourite, but this week I feel compelled. Pieters- like Gavin Green- is coming off a wonderful tie for third at the Saudi International. He has since taken a couple of weeks off and should feel well refreshed entering this week. Pieters is a class act who should have really won more than four European Tour titles. Furthermore, Pieters finished sixth in last year’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The 28-year-old could be ready to finally become the success story that his talents have always warranted.   

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