The DP World Tour Championship from Dubai once again marks the end of the European Tour season. This is the 10th year of this ‘tour championship’ format, with the top 60 players once again teeing it up at the Earth Course, part of the Jumeirah Golf Estates. I say top-60, but in actual fact if a player from the top-60 of the R2D rankings drops out the next available player takes his place, so we’re down to #64 this week. Rose, Casey and Julian Suri are not playing, and associate member Matt Kuchar, ranked at #62, is also not in the Middle East, preferring instead the Australian Open.
Download Excel Odds Sheet: GolfOdds.Info – DP WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, DUBAI 2018
Be prepared for low scores again this week – the record here is 25-under when Henrik Stenson won in 2013, wrapped up with an amazing 3-wood for eagle on the 620 yard 18th.
Of the field, two players have contested all previous nine stagings – Lee Westwood and Francisco Molinari. Westwood has some excellent course form if you go back a few years (winner of the first event in 2009), and will be on a high after a superb 64 in Sun City on Sunday. However, that was a weak field, with his 59 opponents this week provider a far stiffer test. Westy is slightly too short for me this week.
For Molinari, his season/year looks to have ended with the Ryder Cup. The exceptional two month run from late spring through to winning at Carnoustie looked to have caught up with him after helping Europe to victory. T56 at Walton Heath was followed by T43 at the WGC HSBC, signs that an amazing year is perhaps petering out. However, you can’t dismiss him because of some good course form, but his price is way too short for me.
Tyrrell Hatton is again under-priced by the bookmakers according to my model. A poor run of form earlier this year ended with 6th at the US Open. Since that finish, he’s recorded a further 7 top-20s in 11 events. He’s got an excellent record around here as well, with finishes since 2014 of 6/13/2/8. A definite contender.
Patrick Reed put the disappointment and fallout from the Ryder Cup behind him with T7 at the WGC in China. He’s been consistent if unspectacular since his Masters win, but his two previous visits here have both yielded T10 finishes, so a player in form who knows the layout. Price wise I would have in the mid to high teens, so definite value to be had.
I think the model used by the provider of prices for Unibet/888sport is working along similar inputs to mine. I have Ian Poulter at a far shorter price than many of the layers, similar to both the aforementioned layers at about 28/1. Offers of 50/1 are a head scratcher considering Poulter’s reasonable recent form in Asia (10th CIMB, 21st WGC), and his course form (2nd in 2010 and 2013).
Robert Rock was the last player to qualify for the field this week and he offers some value. The last time we backed him was in two consecutive weeks on the ‘links swing’ at the Irish and Scottish Opens, the latter where he lead after two rounds of 64 and 63 at Gullane. He’s been steady ever since – just one missed cut (Omega European Masters) in his next 9 events since Scotland. Of the other 8, 6th at the Nordea Masters has been his best finish, but he’s displayed remarkable consistency in his other finishing positions since then – 17/MC/34/20/29/16/30/21. He last played here in 2012 when he finished 21st, and he must be buoyed by his 21st place at the weekend that has given him this end of season bonus.
Chris Paisley is making his debut here but he’s shown he can play in the desert, with 5th place finishes at The Dubai Desert Classic and in Abu Dhabi after his breakthrough win at the South African Open back in January. He’s not played too well since, but 9th in Sun City yesterday was a welcome return to form. Paisley is also not afraid to go low, shooting 21-under for his SA Open win, and 17-under in both the desert events the following two weeks. He also went 17-under when finishing 8th in the Web.com Tour Championship two months ago. He welcomed his first child into the world last month, so clearly on cloud 9 at the moment. This ‘nappy factor’ motivation was first introduced by Keith Elliott in his Golf Form Guide, something I may investigate fully in the near future to see if it holds any statistical truth. In the meantime Paisley is available at 150/1 when I make him closer to 100/1.
Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia both offer value, but after getting down to around 1.30 in running at the weekend (as did Oosthuizen), I can’t be backing the Spaniard again. He looked rather hesitant at times on Sunday, and the time he’s taking over some shots started to remind me of the US Open in 2002 at Bethpage Black when his waggling and constant re-gripping was at its worst.
Fleetwood though is more interesting. He clearly can play in the desert despite only one top-10 in 5 previous attempts here. His win in Abu Dhabi back in January was his last victory, but he’s had 10 other top-10s in 2018, including his last 4 starts. From the players at the top of the betting I’m happy with Hatton and Fleetwood.
Tyrrell Hatton – 1.5pts win @ 17.00 (various)
Tommy Fleetwood – 1pt win @ 17.00 (various)
Patrick Reed – 1pt ew @ 26.00 (Bet365, 10Bet 1/4 1st 5)
Ian Poulter – 1pt ew @ 51.00 (PaddyPower 1/5 1st 6)
Chris Paisley – 0.5pt ew @ 151.00 (PaddyPower 1/5 1st 6)
Robert Rock – 0.5pt ew @ 151.00 (SkyBet, Unibet, 888sport 1/4 1st 5)