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A glance back and a look ahead

Thriston Lawrence, for me, last week, really left me hanging off the edge of a cliff, unfortunately, we fell off. Three great rounds from Lawrence left us Tied 4th going into Sunday, and I was sure to cash even the each way by the skin of our teeth before we literally fell off that cliff, gutted. 

It was interesting on Sunday to see Tommy Fleetwood and Ryan Fox battling it out, both favourites at the start of the week and it confirms how hard this week it’s going to be with such a strong field ahead of us and expect we are not going to find anything past 30/1 to win in Dubai this week. 

Season’s Finale in Dubai

As ever, the DP World Tour Championship venue is the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. The course is one of the biggest we see on all tours, to be honest, measuring at 7,675 yards. We have a mix of stunning par 3’s like the island hole, similar to what we see at the Players Championship. We have massive par 4’s like the 9th, which measures 500 yards and huge par 5’s, which surely means we need our picks to have some length here. 

The Greens are large and undulating, so we can also look for here some good putters, and we are not short, of course form round here, so I have no issue looking back at previous years. Each winner here has ranked in the top 10 for Driving Distance on the week, which undoubtedly comes into play here. To give an early indication of this, the top 5 on driving distance in this field are Rory, Arnaus, Fox, Mansell, and Kitayama. 

On the other hand, if you are good enough and straight enough, you can make a significant impact here even if you are not the longest. 

Rory McIlroy leads the DP World Tour rankings from Ryan Fox after the Kiwi’s runner-up finish last week at the Nedbank; no one else is really close enough to have a top 10 and impact those two at the top of the rankings unless they both have awful week’s, which is very unlikely. The closest player is Matt Fitzpatrick, in 3rd, whom we haven’t seen for a few weeks; who knows where his game may be at and whether he can make an impact on the finale and the big prize of the best player on the DP World Tour. 

So McIlroy heads the betting for this event outright, and it’s essential to factor in this a no cut event, so slow starters can come back from the pack and win this. However, with 10/3 looking as the likely best price for Rory, everyone is not expecting Rory to have a slow start. John Rahm is at 5/1 and is Rory’s nearest challenger in terms of the betting. John Rahm is a bit of a mentality monster at the moment, and his putter is hot enough to win this at a canter. I expect players like Matt Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland in behind to have an impact, and who would write off Ryan Fox with the form he has been in this year. Tommy Fleetwood comes into this with a recent win, much like Jordan Smith, who surely is a great price at 30/1. 

Previous Winners & Prices. 2021: Collin Morikawa, 15/2; 2020: Matthew Fitzpatrick, 16/1; 2019: Jon Rahm, 7/1; 2018: Danny Willett, 80/1; 2017: Jon Rahm, 12/1; 2016: Matthew Fitzpatrick, 66/1; 2015: Rory McIlroy, 5/1; 2014: Henrik Stenson, 17/2; 2013: Henrik Stenson, 11/1; 2012: Rory McIlroy, 6/1; 2011: Alvaro Quiros, 40/1; 2010: Robert Karlsson, 50/1.

So then, let’s get into the meat of it…

So for this I think we are looking at a winning score of around -20, I’m expecting, therefore, plenty of birdies and not many mistakes from those guys at the top of the leaderboard. I feel like I say straight and long every week in these previews but I for sure, expect the best players to be the ones putting the best numbers up Strokes gained Tee to Green over anything else recently. 

Length has to be a factor as mentioned earlier and Par 5 scoring also has to be a vital cog in the winner’s game this week. Putting the ball in the right place for the second shot, ‘the lay up’ on the par 5’s is going to be everything for those slightly shorter hitters and that aspect will really come into play, emphasis on both length and Par 5 scoring definitely in the model for me. 

  • SG Tee to Green
  • SG Off the tee
  • Driving Distance
  • Putting
  • Course Form
  • OWGR
  • Recent Form

Here is how that model looks for Top 25, along with their average betting odds; 

1. Rory Mcilroy 7/2

2. Matthew Fitzpatrick 9/1

3. Shane Lowry 14/1

4. Jon Rahm 9/2

5. Tommy Fleetwood 14/1

6. Adrian Meronk 70/1

7. Marcel Schneider 110/1

8. Eddie Pepperell 75/1

9. Jordan L Smith 28/1

10. Kurt Kitayama 33/1

11. Tyrrell Hatton 16/1

12. Minwoo Lee 33/1

13. Ryan Fox 28/1

14. Fabrizio Zanotti 100/1

15. Robert Macintyre 33/1

16. Adrian Otaegui 55/1

17. Thriston Lawrence 80/1

18. Richie Ramsay 70/1

19. Oliver Wilson 275/1

20. Richard Mansell 80/1

21. Jorge Campillo 200/1

22. Rasmus Hojgaard 28/1

23. Antoine Rozner 70/1

24. Sam Horsfield 75/1

25. Victor Perez 75/1

This week’s Tips 

Before I got into who I am backing this week I want to make something very clear. If Rory McIlroy gets beaten here someone has had to play very very good golf, even if he wasn’t no1 in the world right now, where his game is at and how well all parts of his game have come together every time he steps onto that first tee it’s almost unbeatable. If you can get some value on Rory this week, even if it’s just as cover it is advisable but let’s see if we can get him beaten by one of my 4 picks or even cashing in on the other markets, let’s go ! 

Viktor Hovland – 14/1 (3pts Win)

As you will notice, Viktor is not in my model, but he will not be in many models, just because most of his golf is played on the PGA Tour. In fact, he has only played on the DP World tour 4 times this year and what I saw of him at the Wentworth back in September in a similar field is enough for me to back him here at 14/1. That week at the BMW Champs, he finished tied for 4th and his approach game was just unstoppable. If we can get a repeat of that along with landing some putts, I see him giving a Rory a big head to head here on Sunday in Dubai. If you tie that along with the fact he is nearly as long as Rory and definitely as long as Rahm, 14/1 compared to the odds of the latter, it has to be a steal. If you look at Viktor’s last appearance here in 2020, he was runner up in total strokes gained against the whole field and he finished tied 3rd. If wasn’t for a couple of holes where Fitzpatrick was better around the green that year then certainly he would have won, I’m sure. Viktor has the game to win this and his around the green play has only got better since his last effort here, I really fancy him this week. 

Tommy Fleetwood – 18/1 (2pts Win)

I’m so happy to back the Hovland play with my main man Fleetwood. Tommy has just come off a win last week, morale will be through the roof and what I saw from him on Sunday, how calm and assured he looked even in spots where he didn’t want to be I am happy to have him in my card this week. Honestly, this spot could of been Ryan Fox who doesn’t stop winning but what I seen from Tommy a couple of weeks back in South Carolina, where he was putting the lights out, that all changes this 2nd pick for me. We had seen from Fleetwood in the past, the tougher the golf course, the higher up the leaderboard he could be, because he seemed to grind out the conditions, avoid bogeys and just shoot around 70 every day. But now especially from what I have seen from him last week, the CJ cup a couple of weeks ago, and even as far back as the Open, Tommy is beginning to shoot low numbers and compete with the very best, come on Tommy. 

Kurt Kitayama  – 35/1 (1pt ew) 

This one is simple for me. Kitayama, hits the ball as long as anyone, straight as anyone, and is a fantastic putter when he wants to be, especially on Bermuda grass. I also like the fact although he is normally playing on the PGA tour in recent times, he has experience around this Earth course in the past and put that together with recent form and you may find an absolute steal here at 35/1.  

Ewen Ferguson – 110/1 (0.5 ew)

Moving away from the course form or recent form I like Ferguson this week to land us something at a price I don’t believe he deserves to be. The scot is making his debut here but that’s not to say players on their debut haven’t performed well here. Ewen has won on tour twice this season, once being in the desert at the Qatar Masters not dissimilar to this week and he can can seriously dial it into pins when he is on form. His stats Tee to green are phenomenal this season, one of the best and as I said at the start of this preview, this really is the type of player I am looking for, this could just be the bet of the week!

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