Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Qatar Masters 2017 - Doha GC

The second of the Desert Swing tournaments moves to Doha GC this week where a decent field is in attendance. Unfortunately, Branden Grace who won here the past two seasons won't be available to try and complete the hat-trick as he supports his wife who is undergoing some minor surgery this week instead. Last week's winner, Tommy Fleetwood does contend though and its a course that will suit immensely. Alex Noren heads the betting. Wind is usually a big factor here but from checking weather forecasts the past couple of days, it appears we may just be in for a good week.  This blog has had a decent start to 2017 with profit in both opening previews so hopefully we can keep that going. My 12 man shortlist released on Monday includes both Noren & Fleetwood and I am finding it hard to ignore both. The Qatar Masters has shown those with fine links pedigree tend to perform well here as do those with form at The Portugal Masters on The Oceanico Victoria course as well as Gleneagles in Scotland.Both Noren & Fleetwood meet this criteria and will be popular picks for Draftkings and Playon lineups.

The Course

Doha GC was designed by Peter Harradine who also designed last week's Abu Dhabi GC. This is totally different though; the course is much more exposed with the rough not as penal as Abu Dhabi. Last week we were looking for the more accurate type player whereas this week driving distance will have more of an advantage. That said, previous results have indicated that those hitting greens in regulation tend to rise up the leaderboard. Scoring will be low and the par-5s will be key. Previous course form is always advantageous as we've seen many over the years consistently perform here. My 12 man shortlist is drawn up of those with course form, strong GIR and DD stats.


Marc Warren makes a lot of appeal this week @ 110.00 The Scot has fine links pedigree and indeed is a former winner of aforementioned Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles (2007). He was also runner up here in 2015. "Links form" is backed up by strong showing at a number of Scottish Opens, Irish Open at Baltray,as well as the Dunhill Links. He played solidly tee to green here last year and although finishing only 36th, he ranked 5th in GIR and 13th in DD. 2016 wasn't a great year by Warren's standards but it's worth noting his results just last October where he finished 5th at The Dunhill, 12th at the British Masters and 12th at The Portugal Masters. He brushed off the rust in Abu Dhabi where a final round 76 saw him slip out of the TOP20 to finish a low 49th. An opening 66 though was encouraging, and should he start the same way this week on a course much more suited to his strengths we may see him go close at a nice price.

We have 7 players this week from my "10toFollowin2017" list of which 4 can hold some strong claims for a solid week. Paul Dunne has obvious links form having contended so well at The Open as an amateur. Indeed that amateur career in Ireland was founded on many links courses which culminated in winning the East of Ireland at Baltray in 2013. The Greystones native has made a solid start to the season sitting in the TOP40 on the R2D from his 3 outings (28-29-39) and can improve on that here. Johan Carlsson came up a bit short for a TOP20 return last week but his game is there and he arrives here this week at a course that he has excellent results on in the past (16-13-13). He ranked 12th in DD twelve months ago and @ 5.50 for TOP20 he may be worth a dabble to make it 4 in a row. Ricardo Gouveia & Benjamin Hebert have also played well but their odds reflect those past performances so the best TOP20 price for both @ 3.50 & 4.00 respectively can be passed for this week.

Joost Luiten @ 31.00 though is worth a bet here and having shaken off the cobwebs in Abu Dhabi he will hope to go well soon and Doha GC where he finished 13th last year, will suit. He ranked 12th for GIR & 16th for DD last year. The Dutchman was 20/25 in 2016, making TOP20 on 15 occasions! 9 of those were TOP10s of which 5 were TOP5. This was only good enough for 15th in the R2D and as he currently sits 61st in the OWGR rankings, he has many goals and incentives in front of him for the season ahead. He needs to make TOP 50 by April 3rd to make Augusta and he needs to start compiling points if he wants to make the Ryder Cup team for the first time. Now into his 32nd year, Luiten can maintain the consistency of 2016 and add to his 5 European Tour victories here.

Nicolas Colsaerts @ 70.00 represents some value and the big hitting Belgian can use his length to his advantage where he ranked 4th in DD last year. Previous results have yielded 9-13-27 and although he missed the cut last week he was 4th in Dubai at the end of last season. He was 22/28 events in 2016, resulting in 4 TOP5s from his 7 TOP20s. 

0.25 pts win M.Warren @ 110.00
1.00 pts e/w J.Luiten @ 31.00
0.50 pts win N. Colsaerts @ 70.00

2.00 pts TOP20 M. Warren @ 5.00
2.00 pts TOP20 N. Colsaerts @ 3.40
2.00 pts TOP20 J.Carlsson @ 5.50

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