The Omega Dubai Desert Classic brings the European Tour’s Desert Swing to a close this week and just like the events in Abu Dhabi and Qatar before, the winner in Dubai will have to beat a high class field. From a betting perspective there are a number of players who should be considered dangers this week but once more the man to beat is Rory McIlroy.
Yet again the Emirates Golf Club has hosting duties with the winner being decided after four rounds of the Majlis Course. The par 72, 7,301 yard layout may look like something of an oasis in the desert but the original course designers were under strict instruction to maintain the natural desert flora around the holes. That leads to some challenging lies when tee shots go awry but in general this is a course where distance is more important than accuracy. If you look at the list of winners here – Rory McIlroy, Stephen Gallacher, Alvaro Quiros, Tiger Woods – you find a pattern of top quality players who can hit it miles but who find themselves in trouble multiple times in a tournament.
When McIlroy won here last season nobody hit it further than the Northern Irishman but that wasn’t the only impressive element of his performance. McIlroy ranked highly in terms of greens hit in regulation and also putted very well. The fact that Rory won and hit way over three quarters of all greens in regulation whilst missing more than half of the fairways shows that the rough was by no means penal and that bombing it 300 yards plus from the tee helps massively at the Emirates Golf Club. In his only performance of the season in Abu Dhabi, Rory played very well but just couldn’t take enough chances to get over the winning line. Having had more time to work on his game McIlroy is a worthy favourite at odds of 5/2 with Ladbrokes.
When looking to find players for each way bets to potentially challenge McIlroy it is well worth sticking with those who possess above average driving distance.
The first option to add to your staking plan is Louis Oosthuizen. The South African is not the longest hitter on the European Tour but he regularly gets it out there at over 300 yards which will see him in the right position to score well more often than not. Oosthuizen just couldn’t get enough of a handle on the wind to finish better than joint seventh in Qatar last week but with less gusty conditions forecast he should challenge at 28/1 with Bet365.
The final player to side with this week is Thomas Pieters. The Belgian is one of the very longest hitters in the professional ranks and ever since winning his first two European Tour events back to back, he has looked at home when competing against top class opposition. Like Oosthuizen, it wasn’t Pieters’ week in Qatar but this is a course that should really suit his eye and playing style. At odds of 33/1 with Coral, expect to see Pieters in contention come Sunday afternoon.