Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Dubai Desert Classic 2015

It's the last leg of the of the "Desert Swing" at the Emirates GC in Dubai for the latest European Tour instalment this week where this blog is aiming for a hat-trick of wins having backed Stevie Gallacher to win both in 2013 & 2014. Once again we have a top quality field where Rory McIlroy heads the betting market. Indeed it was here that Rory won his first professional title and having come up short yet again in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, he'll be hoping he can claim victory before he heads for the coutroom in Dublin next month. Speaking of firsts, this week we will see Javier Ballesteros make his professional debut.

I tweeted my shortlist on Monday, yet it excluded the defending champion. It must be noted that despite quality fields assembling on the Majlis course over recent years, with all due respect to the deserving winners, the title hasn't gone to the more illustrious players! Tiger & Rory have both been pipped here so yet again I'm ready to take on the hot-favourite this week. Rory has an early start and if he gets a solid opening round under his belt he could be hard to catch but he can't be backed at 4/1. I was very keen on Henrik Stenson this week who despite results, has shown a gradual improvement in his game the past couple of tournaments. It's a sort of homecoming too for the Swede as he lived here in Dubai for almost ten years before moving across to the States but if I was inclined to favour any player at the head of the market it would be Martin Kaymer @ 16/1. He can put aside the meltdown he experienced in Abu Dhabi by winning here in his first visit since 2012. In his six previous visits, the German has finished 13-31-4-4-2. He's comfortable in this part of the world and recent form from the current US Open Champion reads just as good with figures of 3-2-21-39. I think we can avail of 16s this week on the back of that loss two weeks ago, had he won he would most likely be ahead of Henrik Stenson in the market but Kaymer has the mentality to put all that behind him and he can bounce big time this week. He makes the staking plan.

The course is long and the scoring will be low and its the par-5s that tend to be the difference or the reason why a player prevails come Sunday afternoon. Stevie G bagged a number of eagles on these the past three season when winning twice and finishing 2nd the year before and when I see a course where par 5 scoring becomes key, Tommy Fleetwood is a name I scribble on the initial shortlist. That initial shortlist this week contained 32 players, and the second filter reduced it down to 18. I was expecting the Southport man to be around the 50/1 - 60/1 mark for this so I was pleasantly surprised to see him available on the exchanges at 100.00 yesterday. Thats gone now but 80.00 - 90.00 is still available. Fleetwood actually led here after two rounds two years ago before finishing 10th, but we have a much more experienced player these days. Tommy finished T23rd in Qatar following a MC in Abu Dhabi so is coming into the week in decent nick and at the price I cannot leave him out.

I was keen on Oosthuizen this week, was very keen- but I was expecting a better price than the best on offer of 25/1 (I know he was 33s the past couple of days but I thought about it too much). Like last week, where I wanted to back Grace at 28/1 but decided not to @ 25s..... I'm hoping I'm not making the same mistake this week. Oosty is over the injuries to his back that he endured throughout last year and he has already been backed e/w for the R2D @ 100/1 pre-Christmas. I'll leave him out this week and do exactly what I did last week - back Tongchai Jaidee again @ 140.00 on Betfair instead. I said last week he was fresh, perhaps he was but a bit rusty, but having skipped Abu Dhabi, I feel he could be nicely warmed up for the Emirates where he has posted 5 TOP20s in his last 12 visits, the last of which came in 2010 when finishing 3rd. He has been playing very well of late and although I'm now inclined to look at the younger guns on the tours more, there is another win left in this 45 yr old, and he could surprise at a nice price here.

Last week's runner up, Marc Warren is a player that may feature a bit on this blog this year. He's improving all the time and the Made In Denmark Champion can go close again this week having chased Grace home last week. He's played here a few times often missing the cut, but has produced two TOP20s when he made the weekend. Given that he's a vastly improved player this time round, he'll arrive on the back of solid form and represents great value at 80.00 on Betfair for the win. He's 7.00 for a TOP10 with Bet365 !

Of course, I cannot ignore Ross Fisher this week. Ross is in fine form and I think at the price this week he's worth a play since finishing 9th in Abu Dhabi, 2nd at the Nedbank ,and 2nd at the BMW Masters. In between he was 30th in Qatar, and 25th at the Turkish Airlines Open. He's bang in form and his driving at the Emirates can reward him @ a lovely 60.00 for the win (5.50 TOP10).He missed the cut twelve months ago but between 2007 - 2010 he produced results of 5-10-13-11-10. He could repeat such efforts this week again.

I was tempted to back Grace this week given the form he's in, especially as hes @ 30.00 and I almost pulled the trigger on Alex Levy as well @ 70.00 (6.00 T10). Lets hope for better luck this week.

Staking Plan (15 pts)

2 pts WIN M.Kaymer @ 16/1
0.50 pts WIN M.Warren @ 80.00
0.25 pts WIN T.Jaidee @ 140.00
0.50 pts WIN T.Fleetwood @ 90.00
0.75 pts WIn R.Fisher @ 60.00


2.50 pts M.Warren @ 7.00
2 pts R.Fisher @ 5.50
2.50 pts T.Fleetwood @ 5.00

4 pts T.Jaidee @ 3.75 TOP20

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