Monday, 13 January 2014

Can we really expect the unexpected in Abu Dhabi?


It’s a star-studded line-up for this weeks European Tour event in Abu Dhabi where Welshman, Jamie Donaldson defends his title having seen off Justin Rose and Thorbjorn Olesen 12 months ago. It wasn’t the best of tournaments for Rory and Tiger last year as they both missed the cut. “Expect the Unexpected” they say for this tournament so will we see an upset this week? Given the form that the market leaders are in, I doubt it very much!

Henrik Stenson will be the short priced favourite this week and if he plays as well as he did in Dubai when sealing the DP World Championship, he will be hard to beat. Before those years of loss in form, the Swede had finished runner-up in both 2008 & 2006, sandwiching another TOP 10 in between. Rory, likewise, has not won here but has a string of near misses, with 2 runner up placings, more recently in 2012 & 2011. He has a further 2 TOP 5s in the years preceding those. Adding into the mix this week is the brilliant course form of Martin Kaymer who seeks his fourth win here, and twice winner Paul Casey. Phil Mickelson also tees it up for his third visit whilst Sergio Garcia will be bursting with confidence following his long overdue win at the Thailand Open.

It’s Garcia that probably brings the next best form to Stenson into Abu Dhabi with a T2 at the Nedbank last time out and a 4th at the HSBC Championship in China. Pending the price, Sergio is well worth a bet this week and I think 12/1 – 14/1 would be a fair price. (updated 15:00 13/01/14- 2 pts WIN Sergio Garcia @ 12/1 Ladbrokes )

If you are looking for some value down the field, there are a number of players that could provide that “unexpected”. Tommy Fleetwood, fresh from his TOP 5 in Durban has missed the cut here the past 2 years but that should not be a deterrent for a player that has begun to feel at ease on Tour. He excels on par 5s and low scoring is a premium this week, so I wouldn’t be afraid to side with the 22 year old and @80/1, an each way bet is a play for me.

Joost Luiten is in great form and is so consistent these days he might just provide some value given the quality of the field here. T3rd in Durban yesterday, the Dutchman has 2 Top 5s and 2 TOP 20s in his last 4 starts. 33/1 Ladbrokes 

Thorbjorn Olesen didn’t have the best of seasons in 2013 so would be a bit of a risky bet for first outing of the new season, but finishes of 2nd & 8th in his only 2 visits to Abu Dhabi shouldn’t be ignored and he could surprise a few with a bold showing and is worth a flutter both e/w @ 80/1 with Bet365 and TOP10/20. 

TIP 1: 2 Pts WIN S.Garcia @ 12/1 Ladbrokes

TIP 2: 0.5 pts e/w T.Fleetwood @ 80/1 Bet365

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w J.Luiten @ 33/1 Ladbrokes 

TIP 4: 0.5 pts e/w T.Olesen @ 80/1 Bet365

TIP 5: 2 pts T.Fleetwood TOP 10 @ 4/1 Ladbrokes