This week’s golf action comes from Dubai in the shape of the inaugural Dubai Open which has been installed as the season-ending event for the Asian Tour.
The professionals are in for a real treat as the tournament is being staged at the Els Club, a five-star resort that was specifically designed to help Dubai’s continuing aim to establish itself as the world’s premier golfing destination for wealthy golfers.
However, despite the course being only 6 years-old and 7,538 yards long, dual Open Champion Els has designed the layout very much along the lines of a links course, and it incorporates features from many of his favourite golf courses.
Royal Melbourne and Pinehurst No.2 were the inspiration for the bunkering and greens, whilst strategically placed tees, native grasses and waste areas have all been incorporated. The course has won a plethora of awards and it will be interesting to see what the player’s make of it this week, as it could certainly become a European Tour venue in the future.
Being an Asian Tour event, the tournament isn’t full of household names this week, and the market is headed by Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. Whilst many of his compatriots have put their clubs for Christmas, Fleetwood’s motivation for playing in this event is an obvious one as he’s ranked 52 in the world rankings – and a high-finish here would elevate him into the all-important top-50 in the world; gaining him entry into many prestigious events.
Fleetwood’s ranking is fully 76 places higher than his nearest rival David Howell, whilst his current form is very solid. He’s hit the top-5 in five of his last 13 events, with his worst finishing position in those events being 39th. His all-round play is also very solid: driving it in excess of 290 yards, hitting over 70% of greens in regulation and averaging around 30 putts a round, whilst he‘s also got plenty of links form to his name having hit the top-5 twice in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The negatives are the fact he’s only one won two professional events, and he’s only priced-up at 11/2, but the 23-year-old really does need backing.
4 points each-way Tommy Fleetwood @ 11/2
The only other player that interests me is Gaganjeet Bhullar, as the 26-year-old Indian world number 381 is a proven winner with five Asian Tour wins and one Challenge Tour win. He’s got plenty of power and he looks sure to plunder plenty more Asian Tour wins in the coming years.
1 point eachway Gaganjeet Bhullar @ 50/1