Golf’s European Tour season will end with the DP World Tour this week, a tournament that’s played on the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. The par 72 course measures over 7,600 yards long, whilst wide bouncy fairways and Bermuda greens, that typically run at over 12 on the stimpmeter, are big features of what is normally one of the best tournaments of the whole year.
The event also brings to a close the Race To Dubai but, unlike the Fedex Cup on the PGA Tour where all of the final 30 in the field have a theoretical chance of lifting the bonus prize, only Francesco Molinari and last year’s Race To Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood have a chance of winning the big Race To Dubai winner’s bonus.
That’s probably why this year’s Fedex Cup winner Justin Rose is giving the event a miss this week, though there’s still a strong field in contention for what is an important event in its own right.
It’s certainly an event that Rory McIlroy loves, and the 2012 and 2015 winner looks generously-priced at around 10/1 considering he’s won two of the last two of the last six renewals, and finished in the top-5 in six of the last nine. That’s not enough to make me want to back him this week though, as he still looks slightly unmotivated for whatever reason, but watch out for him if he gets a sniff of being in contention this week.
His fellow market leader is Sergio Garcia but, after not winning last week’s Nedbank Challenge, it’s hard to take similar odds about him here around a course that he’s yet to win around. It’s also hard to know what to make of last year’s winner John Rahm, who won on his course debut last year, but hasn’t been sighted much recently.
Tommy Fleetwood has obvious motivation this week but, after finishing twenty-first last year, I’m still not convinced this is his ideal venue. However, the man Fleetwood is hoping to topple this week is the other half of this year’s Ryder Cup Molliwood bromance, Francesco Molinari.
Molinari has rightfully been off the boil since his superhuman Ryder Cup exploits but, after a few weeks rest and recuperation, he could be primed to take this and the Race To Dubai. He has course form too, having finished fourth in 2015 and 2016, and we all know he’s been a much better player this year. Having won the Open, the PGA Championship at Wentworth, and broke his duck on the PGA Tour, I have to have him on side this week considering how well he’s performed under pressure at some of the year’s biggest events.
Another player that has enjoyed some rest after the Ryder Cup is Tyrell Hatton, and he’s probably just about calmed down after blowing a big-lead in his attempt to record a hat-trick of wins in the Dunhill Masters. He’s been down the field twice since, but will have had this event firmly on his agenda having shown a liking for the course with event form of 6/13/2/8. He shot a 63 in the second-round last season and could easily take another step up the ladder here.
I also want Shane Lowry on side this week, as the Irishman is capable of mixing it with the big boys when on song. He took quite a long time to get over blowing the 2017 US Open, but a second at Valderrama a few weeks ago has given him a chance of making it back into the all-important top-50 in the world with victory here. He’s also recorded a second and a fifth here in the last four years, and the wider than average fairways give him a little more room to manoeuvre off the tee than some courses.
Of course, we can only hope this week’s three free golf tips perform anywhere near as good as last week’s free golf tips, with Lee Westwood winning, Sergio Garcia placing, and Matt Wallace sneaking a share of fifth place to give us an all-round tasty profit at the Nedbank Challenge.
DP World Tour Free Golf Tips 2018
Francesco Molinari 2 Points Each-Way @ 23.00 SkyBet, William Hill
Tyrell Hatton 2 Points Each-Way @ 19.00 Betfair, 17.00 Widely Available
Shane Lowry 1 Point Each-Way @ 34.00 Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Marathon, Betfair, Coral, Betfred