Monday, 25 January 2016

Qatar Masters - 2016



The second leg of the Desert Swing tees off on Wednesday this week so punters need to be mindful if placing bets pre-tournament. Branden Grace does defend this week having missed out on an opportunity to do so in Johannesburg a couple of weeks ago and he looks the one that they will all have to beat here. The South African alluded to his fondness of the greens at Doha GC when winning last year, in that they were very similar to what he grew up with in his homeland. The wind factor here, and the weather forecast this week suggests we'll see plenty, is the main defence of the course and players with strong wind statistics and links type experience tend to go well. Despite being designed by the same designer as last week's Abu Dhabi GC, Doha will not be as penal from the rough and the course offers the big hitters an advantage as results in previous years have shown. Big hitters with strong GIR for the week have produced the goods here and its these statistics that I've concentrated on when finalizing my staking plan. The course will play around 7,400 yards so its not short by any means and it may pay to go with those that can get it down there. Alvaro Quiros, has had some great success here in the past with a win and two runner-ups and he could be one to keep an eye on here again this week. This blog has recently put up Ben Evans a number of times,and it could be a course like Doha that the Englishman can finally make a challenge. He makes his debut here and can improve on his T46th last week in Abu Dhabi.



Nicolas Colsaerts showed signs towards the end of last season that his form was on the ascendancy and following his opening two events this campaign, the Belgian may be wondering where that form has gone having withdrawn after round one at Glendower and having missed the cut last week by a shot. I'm going to ignore that result last week and side with him here as he plays a course that he appears to like. He had a TOP10 and two further TOP20s in his last three efforts in 2015. Big hitting and strong GIR stats last year ensured a TOP15 finish, which complemented his TOP10 on his previous visit in 2013 and he should be pleased to see Doha again to kick-start the 2016 season and re-climb the world rankings having fallen over 100 places in the past twelve months. Nico has shown he can also play in the wind and is worth a dabble here at a nice price of 80/1or 120.00 on the exchange.  His website says he plays alongside "Frenchman and long time friend" Gregory Havret in the opening rounds suggesting he is looking forward to playing with him. They will be joined by Rhys Davies in an early opening round 1 grouping.


George Coetzee likes Doha GC having finished 12-5-2-35 the past four years.He arrives here on the back of a T35th in Abu Dhabi and a 13th in Johannesburg. With the rust out of the system, I expect big George to go well. George returned from an ankle injury this month having taken a few months off to recover,which was a pity after such a great effort at the PGA Championship when finishing T7th at Whistling Straits last August. Time and time again the South African has produced his better results on links courses and although not a links this week, the course does tend to suit those with links form. He has recorded many TOP10s here in the Middle East too so obviously likes this part of the world. He's taken to produce another here this week at 4.50


Tommy Fleetwood is a big price this week (100/1 in places ) and I'm not quite sure why. Yes, he may be lacking some form with a missed cut last week and a new swing in the make-up this year, but on a windy, linksy course where Driving Distance and strong approach play are required, there may be some value in the price. I'm reluctantly leaving Tommy out this week  though (toss of the coin stuff) and instead will side with 19 year old Italian, Renato Paratore. On his debut in 2015, he finished T38th and ranked inside the TOP15 for both DD & GIR. He is quite capable of going low and opened with  two 69s last year before a poor weekend saw him slip down the leaderboard. He has a full season under his belt now and although still quite young he should progress this season. If he can start well, there is no reason why he can't sneak a TOP20 this week @ 10.00. He has a late/early tee time this week and he may just get the better of the wind conditions to position himself for the weekend.


Selections

0.50 pts WIN N.Colsaerts @ 120.00
1.50 pts T10  N.Colsaerts @ 8.00

2.50 pts T10 G.Coetzee @ 4.50

1.50 pts T20 R.Paratore @ 10.00