Dubai Desert Classic Preview & Tips

It felt great to have some European Tour golf back on the tv this week especially on the Friday with the tough playing conditions described by Bob MacIntyre as the hardest wind he’s ever played on tour in. Just one player finishing in double digits is the golf I like to see. A proper test of golf, not just hitting it as far as possible then flicking a wedge to join the putting contest but each shot creating multiple scenarios with hazards involved making the golfer plot their way around the course. 

This week we come back to familiar territory for the Dubai Desert Classic, the 1st event to be held in the middle east back in 1989 when there was just desert & a few trees. 30 years later Dubai is unrecognisable to the original event. The majority of the field that played last week all tee it up this week again with a few absentees & some golfers playing for the first time this year. Another week which has a huge purse $8,000,000 on offer & double race to Dubai points for those who play multiple tours to cement their position in the race ready for the WGCs & Majors to add to their tally. Thomas Pieters now currently leads after last weeks victory with Sharma & Cabrera-Bello Behind him.

Course 

The Majlis Course was designed by Karl Kitten in 1988. Every edition since its inception in 1989 have been held at the Majlis course with the exception of 1999 & 2000. The course is a Par 72 measuring 7424 yards (6789 Meters). The par 72 is made up of four par 3s, ten par 4s & four par 5s. Birdies are the norm every year here with every event bar one ending in double digits under par. The average winning score over the 31 years is 17.3. There are plenty of waste areas & water hazards (8 Holes) in play on the holes to catch out errand tee shots & approaches. The course is mostly famous for its 8th tee shot with its incredible backdrop, I’m sure all the players socials will be full of tee shots from the practice rounds this week. Ernie Els holds the course record set in 1994 at 61. 

Course winners taking part this week

  • Rory McIlroy 2015 & 2009
  • Paul Casey 2021
  • Lucas Hebert 2020
  • Haotong Li 2018
  • Sergio Garcia 2017
  • Danny Willet 2016
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello 2012
  • Miguel Angle Jimenez 2010
  • Henrick Stenson 2007
  • Thomas Bjorn 2001
  • Colin Montgomerie 1996

Previous Winners, Keys Stats & Winning Odds 

Paul Casey 2021 25-1 -17

SG off the tee 6th

SG approach 6th

SG tee to green 1st

SG Putting 57th

Driving accuracy 25th 53.57%

Greens in regulation 5th 75%

Lucas Hebert 2020 175/1 -9

SG off the tee 11th

SG approach 72nd

SG tee to green 7th

SG Putting 20th

Driving accuracy 67th 42.86%

Greens in regulation 5th 66.7%

Bryson DeChambeau 2019 9/1 -24

SG off the tee 5th

SG approach 16th

SG tee to green 3rd

SG Putting 5th

Driving accuracy 33rd 57.14%

Greens in regulation 4th 80.55%

Haotong Li 2018 80/1 -23

SG off the tee 38th

SG approach 27th

SG tee to green 15th

SG Putting 3rd

Driving accuracy 90th 50%

Greens in regulation 75th 65.3%

Sergio Garcia 2017 18/1 -19

Driving accuracy 9th 69.64%

Greens in regulation 1st 81.96%

Danny Willet 2016 40-1 -19

Driving accuracy 61st 55.36%

Greens in regulation 21st 77.78%

Golftipster5 Selections:

Sergio Garcia 20-1 Ladbrokes 8 Places 

Sergio’s 1st start of the year which isn’t the norm for him, he usually plays once before the Dubai Desert Classic normally the Singapore Open but opted to make this event his 1st this year, now that could back fire on me with possible cobwebs to burn off but I can’t ignore him this week. He won here back in 2017 & has made all four cuts after this finishing 32-3-23-6 a record only Rory McIlroy & Henrik Stenson beat round here. Garcia ranks in the top 10 for SG in all categories with the exception of putting here. 7th Off the tee,2nd Approach,4th Tee to green then 71st Putting. The Achilles heel of his game but even so his finishes show he’s is more than capable round here, his average score in 11 starts is 69.75.

Robert MacIntyre 35-1 Ladbrokes 8 Places 

Bob has had two starts in this event & has finishing in top 10 both times with an 8th & 3rd place finish. A missed cut last week might of done him a favour so he can get to a course he clearly enjoys playing earlier. Being a left hander & the wind direction did him no favours last week on the Friday shooting 80 in ‘the hardest wind he’s played on tour’ so I’m discounting his round of 80. Going off previous years winners stats Bob has all the attributes to win this week. He ranks 8th for SG tee to green on this course, 6th SG Off the tee, 14th SG tee to green & 26th SG Putting. Stats which firmly put him on the radar for me this week. 

Erik Van Rooyen 40-1 Skybet 7 Places

Erik has started very consistently this year with 20th at the Sony Open & a 12th place finish last week. Since his victory on the PGA TOUR with the Barracuda championship he has only Missed one cut in eleven events with five top 20 finishes. He can take great confidence in his numbers from last week where he ranked 8th SG off the tee,37th SG tee to green & 19th SG Putting. He has only played the desert classic twice missing the cut on debut then a 37th placed finish but since his appearance in 2020 he has gone on to record numerous top 10s on the PGA TOUR & has a victory so he knows his game has improved since then.

Takumi Kanaya 75-1 Ladbrokes 8 Places

The Japanese former Amateur no1 continued to impress last week with a T25 finish. Kanaya played here last season & finished 9th & with he recent run of form I couldn’t look away this week. Last season he was in great form on the Japanese & DP World Tour where he racked up twelve top 10s & one win with the Token Homemade Cup in Japan. His number keeps getting lower & lower on the main tours now as he becomes more well known with his performances. He ranked 14 SG off the tee & 16th Tee to green last week which should prove very valuable this week should he continue striking the ball so well, it just the flat stick he appears to need to work on after last week where he ranked 80th. I feel it won’t be long before Kanaya picks up a big win on either the DP World or PGA Tour

Thorbjorn Olesen 125-1 Skybet 7 places

With the court case now behind Thor he can move on & get back to the golf that has seen him become a 5 time DP world tour winner. This week he returns to a venue where he hasn’t won but has an incredible record here with four top 10s in nine starts & an average score of 69.75. Olesen like Bob has great stats round this course. He is in the top 25 for SG approach, tee to green & putting. Any rust that he may of had coming into last week looks to of been extinguished very quickly, he hit 71% of fairways & 73% of greens in regulation as well as ranking 41st in putting so his game appears to be good shape. Considering the price & course form I think this is a great value bet.

Odds correct as of 14:30 Monday 24th

Good luck with all bets

@Golftipster5 – Ryan Hamilton 

Leave a Reply