Another solid week on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open in Hawaii as we hit on a $3.40 winner in Charles Howell II to finish in the top 20. It’s a bit of a down week in the PGA Tour this week with the American Express being played from California. The field certainly doesn’t set the world alight, so this week we will be heading to the Middle East to preview the massive Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The European Tour event boasts a monster €6,215,000 prize pool and has attracted some of the top players in the world. We have a full preview and betting tips for the event below.
The middle-eastern swing of the European Tour makes for great viewing for Australian fans. Unlike the PGA Tour, which generally sees play get underway at around 11pm for Aussie fans, the tournament in Abu Dhabi this week will kick off at around 3pm (AEDT). The field for the season opener in the European Tour is absolutely star studded, which should make for an exciting event.
The likes of Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay and Matthew Wolff will headline the PGA Tour event this week, so it was an easy decision to head to Abu Dhabi after taking one look at the star-studded field that has been confirmed for the event. The No.3 and No.4 ranked players in the world headline the event in Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. McIlroy is a tenured veteran in Abu Dhabi but Thomas will be making his first trip to the course, and is one of the in-form golfers in the world at the moment.
The rest of the field will be headlined by the likes of Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club has been described as ‘an oasis of tranquillity carved out of the desert’ and it’s not hard to see why. The landscaping and design is absolutely flawless and in line with the cleanliness of the middle-eastern city. It opened for play all the way back in 1998 and measured a whopping 7,583 yards as a Par 72.
The course has traditionally favoured strong ball strikers in the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood and requires players to be both long and accurate off the tee as water is in play on a large number of the holes.
Not sure if its possible to have a more dominant record at a single course without having won there then Rory McIlroys record in Abu Dhabi. The Northern-Irishman has played in the event nine times since the 2008 season, missing the cut just once. In his eight other trips to Abu Dhabi, he has recorded finishes of T11, T5, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd and T3. Yep, you read that correctly, he has finished in the top five of this event in seven of nine attempts.
Rory hasn’t been playing a lot of golf since the birth of his baby late last year and this will be his first start since The Masters back in November. However, he has already put together an impressive resume in the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, finishing T8 at the U.S. Open and T5 at The Masters. He his favourite to win this tournament and for good reason. Back him to win or finish in the top five for a record eighth time.
The other contender who we really like the look of this week is Tommy Fleetwood. The Englishman is a back to back winner in Abu Dhabi, taking out the event in 2017 and 2018 and was solid again last season, finishing 2nd behind Lee Westwood. The course sets up really well for him as oen of the cleanest ball strikers in the world.
Fleetwood has had solid finishes so far this season, recording a 2nd at the Scottish Open, followed by a T13, T19 and T10 in his last three events at the BMW Championship, The Masters and the DP World Tour Championship.
Hunting value this week, look no further than the pair of Joost Luiten and Ross Fisher. Paying $67 and $81 respectivey, the duo have combined for 7 top ten finishes in the past 15 starts in Abu Dhabi, most recently a T6 to Fisher last season. They both have great pedigree on the course and at their respective prices, we will be having a small flutter on both for a top 20 finish.
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