Betting Tips for 20th to 23rd January 2022
With all due respect to the Joburg Open and Thriston Lawrence, it feels very much as though this week is the real start of the newly named DP World Tour. To the delight of the tour, several big names have decided to start their year in Abu Dhabi with Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland topping the betting.
Those three are capable of winning any tournament and as Open Championship winners, it’s no surprise that Morikawa and McIlroy are at the very top of the pile as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship takes place at Yas Links for the first time. A coastal venue, Yas Links has a genuine links feel to it and with some gusty weather in the forecast, it could prove to be a serious challenge. For all their quality, those windy conditions suggest that it may be wise to ignore the appeals of the favourites and instead look for some value slightly further down the betting markets.
Thankfully, there are plenty of classy players with proven form in the wind to add to your betting arsenal this week. The first name that stands out at the odds is Tommy Fleetwood who is available at 28/1 in places. The popular Englishman saw his performances and world ranking fall over the course of the last 18 months but he is increasingly confident with his new club manufacturer and is certainly hopefuly of some excellent results this season. Fleetwood grew up playing links golf in all weather and is a two-time winner of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Champions (albeit at a different course) so looks to have as good a chance of winning as the favourites.
Matt Wallace doesn’t have the same links golf pedigree as Fleetwood nor does he have any tournament wins in the Middle East and that is reflected in his price of 60/1. Wallace is another player who is confident of a big year ahead to arrest a slight slide in the world rankings. Lots of players have failed to translate positive work over the winter break into performances on the golf course but Wallace has been working for years to make the step up to become one of the elite and he can take another step forwards in that regard this week.
Haotong Li is another player seeking to arrest a ranking slide in the year ahead. At his best, Li is capable of competing with the very best and challenging conditions often bring out that best. His exploits in the wind include finishing third in the 2017 Open Championship and winning the 2018 Omega Dubai Desert Classic. It’s fair to say that Li has been some way from his best but he has too much quality to continue struggling for long and this could be the week he produces something closer to what he’s capable of so is worth supporting even for only small stakes at 110/1.
|2022||Yas Links||Thomas Pieters|
2022: Thomas Pieters
Thomas Pieters has been known for a long time as a golfer blessed with supreme talent but who doesn’t quite have the temperament to get the maximum out of his ability. That appears to be changing. A combination of age, experience and fatherhood have seen Pieters mellow on the golf course and that is having an excellent impact on his golf.
Pieters picked up his sixth European Tour win with victory in the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Not only was this the biggest win of his career to date – the Rolex Series event holds higher status than any of the tournaments he has previously won – but the skill he had to display in very testing desert conditions make this his best performance to date, eclipsing even his fourth place on debut at the Masters.
Several world-class players found the going far too tough as the wind picked up at Yas Links over the course of the tournament. While golf fans enjoyed the battle, the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tyrrell Hatton suggested that they won’t be returning to Abu Dhabi while the tournament remains at Yas Links. Thomas kept the moans and groans at bay, finishing with a varied set of scorecards that read 65-74-67-72 and added up to a one-shot victory from Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Shubhankar Sharma.