The first thing to note this week is the Qatar Masters runs Wednesday to Saturday instead of Thursday to Sunday and, with the time difference meaning it’s an early morning start, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you get your bets on sometime before Tuesday night to avoid disappointment.
The Qatar Masters is the triple-leg of the Desert Swing, and has been won been won by the likes of Sergio Garcia, Chris Wood, Paul Lawrie (twice), Retief Goosen, Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els. Much has been said about many of the winners having shown decent form around some of the world’s toughest links golf courses – and it’s certainly worthy of consideration.
It’s the reason I’m going to start this week’s betting portfolio by backing a huge outsider – someone who I think is massively overpriced for a number of reasons.
0.5 points each-way Oliver Wilson @ 250/1
It’s fair to say that former Ryder Cup Player Oliver Wilson lost the plot for a while, falling from grace and not playing very well even when dropping to the Challenge Tour. However, a chance invite and a steely nerve saw him win the Dunhill Links Tournament in October to return to the big-time in style. Despite putting up some pretty average performances following his win, Wilson certainly went into my notebook in Abu Dhabi last week where he shot a third round 66 (-6) to claim a tie for 37th. Without being spectacular, that performance showed that he might be warming-up for this event, one where he was 5th in 2010 and 12th in 2011, as well as being 20th on his debut in the event in 2008. It’s taking a big chance backing any player at 250/1 but, with Wilson certainly having the aforementioned ties to links golf, and decent course form – I think it’s one worth taking.
0.5 points each-way Alejandro Canizares @ 90/1
Injury curtailed the Spaniard’s season last year after he won the Hassan Trophy, but his last two events have certainly been a step in the right direction. His 12th last week in Abu Dhabi came courtesy of four solid rounds and he finished 5th here last year despite shooting a poor third round. Played well in several desert based tournaments and looks well worth an each-way tickle.
1 point each-way Tyrell Hatton @ 50/1
Just missed out on the places when finishing 6th in Abu Dhabi last week, but thankfully landed our top-10 bet on him – to give us 6-points profit on the week. However, there are plenty more reasons to back him than that. Hatton is a great ball-striker with a pretty decent short-game and the young man is on a fast learning curve, one which may well see him improve on most of last season’s performances this year. He finished 20th here last year and making at least the frame is well within his capabilities
Top 10s and Top-20s
Our three outright selections also offer some great value in the top-10 and top-20 markets this week.
2 points Tyrell Hatton top-10 @ 9/2
2 points Alejandro Canizares top-10 @ 15/2
1 point Oliver Wilson top-10 @ 22/1
1 point Oliver Wilson top-20 @ 9/1