Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour 2020: Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

European Tour 2020: Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Damien Kayat previews the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters  taking place at the Education City Golf Course, Doha, Qatar.,

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The European Tour 2020 | Commercial Bank Qatar Masters 
Education City Golf Course, Doha, Qatar
Thursday 05 March - Sunday 08 March

The Qatar Masters was founded in 1998 and was previously one of two events played in the Arabian Peninsula: now there are a full six events staged in the Middle East. This event grew in popularity and became one of the more prestigious events on the tour for some time. In snuggled in comfortably alongside those epic events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But tensions in the region saw this Qatari event pushed back in the schedule in 2018. It now forms part of a pallid 2nd Middle East swing that plays a distinct second fiddle to the escalating intensity in America. Another big issue for the tour is that two events scheduled for April have been canceled due to Coronavirus concerns. What will the meat and potatoes European players do for that period?

This year’s event sees quite a dramatic change for the Qatar Masters, with the event leaving Doha Golf Club for the first time since its inception. It has moved across the Qatari capital to a fabulous new course designed by two-time Masters Champion Jose Maria Olazabal. The bizarrely titled Education City Golf Course is on the outskirts of Doha and has similarities to its predecessor. It is a flat, exposed event course that will be affected by wind. But it seems to have a slightly more parkland type feel, with plentiful greenside water hazards to contend with. Look for accomplished wind players and big hitters who can exploit the gettable par 5’s.

While this is hardly a spectacular field, it could be worse.  There are quite a few exciting youngsters in the line-up, including last week’s sensational winner: Sami Valimaki.  Matthias Schwab and Thomas Detry represent the future of the tour in my eyes. Leading the markets this week are two-time Major Champion Martin Kaymer and Belgian star Thomas Pieters. There seems to be quite a bit of flexibility this week to make bold choices. A new course often levels the field.  That should prove doubly true in a field as uninspired as this. 

Past Winners
2019: Justin Harding (-13)
2018: Eddie Pepperrell (-18)
2017: Branden Grace (-14)
2016: Branden Grace (-19)
2015: Sergio Garcia (-16)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Martin Kaymer (14/1)
Thomas Pieters (18/1)
Robert Macintyre (20/1)
Joost Luiten (22/1)
Matthias Schwab (22/1) 

Value Bets

Haotong Li
To Win (30/1), To Place (13/2)

I’m looking towards Haotong Li to continue the recent trend of excellent performances by President’s Cup members. The two-time European Tour winner hasn’t had the greatest of years. Form figures of 41/MC/21/MC/18 truly show a schizophrenic vein of form. But his 18th in Oman last week showed some interesting strides. He put well on the Paspalum greens, finishing 3rd in the outing stats. That should bode well on these Pasapalum surfaces. Li is also an accomplished Middle East player. He has won the Dubai Desert Classic and was runner-up in Saudi Arabia last year.

Mikko Korhonen
To Win (45/1), To Place (19/2)

I am taking a leaf out of my PGA Tour preview, where I have backed Byeong-Hun An to follow up Sungjae Im’s victory last week. Mikko Korhonen is a venerated European Tour professional who has won in each of the last two years. I’m backing him to do well in the wake of Sami Valimaki’s debut victory in Oman last week. He was in the hunt in Oman, shooting 13 birdies and just 1 bogey over Friday and Saturday. But Sunday saw him implode, though he still finished in a highly respectable tie for 4th. 45/1 looks very reasonable for a seasoned pro in fine form.

The Man to Beat

Ross Fisher
To Win (30/1), To Place (13/2)

Ross Fisher just screams value at 30/1 this week. Much like Korhonen, this is a choice based on pedigree and experience.  Fisher has actually enjoyed an excellent year thus far- outside of that missed cut at the Dubai Desert Classic. He enjoyed an exceptional first Middle East Swing, finishing in a tie for 6th at both the Abu Dhabi and Saudi events. Fisher once again showed his Arabian nous last week with yet another top 10 in Oman. Fisher should thrive in this field and should manage any increase in wind activity.  

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