Dubai Desert Classic Tips & Betting Preview
Niall Lyons is already 59 units up in 2019, how will he fair here.
McIlroy concentrates on his American journey in 2018 and thus doesn't take his spot for an event he has a super record in. Instead there is a swap and American Bryson Dechambeau makes the trip to fill the void left by the Irishman. Fleetwood, Oosthuizen, Garcia, Hatton and Stenson all take to the Emirates GC also having got their 2019 campaign under way last week. The Majlis course is a wide open track that has suited the longer hitters in the game. Word is the course may play a shade firmer this year which clips their advantage a little but I wouldn't expect too much difference in the type of leaderboard we normally see here. Par 5s will be key to make scores on. Traditionally we have seen Open specialists play well here as the course is exposed to wind and although little is forecast this week I will have those specialists in the back of my mind when compiling a short list. There is plenty of form on this course that marries to the course used for the Portugal Open with a handful of golfers who have made the frame in both and won on the 2 courses.
Dechambeau is understandably favourite given his position in the game and a solid performance here a few years ago when just out of short trousers would suggest he has every chance. I'm not sure if he is one to capatalise upon the chances offered here over the course of the week and around the single figure mark doesn't appeal a whole pile to me. Fleetwood looked like he was shaking off some rust last week and I wouldn't be surprised should he fare better than his 42nd spot last week in Abu Dhabi. Oosthuizen made some mistakes at crucial times last week to scupper his hopes of another title whilst Garcia got his campaign off to a respectable start with a 7th placed spot in Singapore.
Alex Levy has proven to be a sound traveller to the Far East down the years and I'm hoping he can out play his outplay his three figure odds this week. He has everything we look for to a winner of this event. Nothing special materialised last week but after a few months off the rust is hopefully shaken off. He has made 5 cuts in 5 attempts here and last years 4th placed finish was his best effort. Levy has the power game to take tighter lines off the tee here which will set up more inviting approach shots. He has the Portugal form with a win there in 2014 and with a handful of other wins and top 3 finishes in the Far East I think he is worth chancing.
Lucas Bjerregaard's chances cannot be underestimated given his rise in the game in the past 12 months. He teed it up here last year outside the worlds top 200, and this time around arrives inside the top 50. Granted he has no form to speak of here whatsoever but he turns up a totally different golfer to the one who teed it up 12 months ago. The Dane landed a big win at the Dunhill Links last year and that is the exact type of form we are looking to contend here. O'Meara, Woods, Seve, Els, Stenson and McIlroy have all won this event and the Open. We are all aware of another former winner's likeness for links golf in Sergio Garcia. The Portugal link ties in here also with Bjerregaard having won in Vilamoura as well. Only 14 golfers rank higher than him in the rankings yet around 20+ are priced shorter than him this week. It doesn't quite add up and translates as a solid each-way wager.
I was secretly hoping for a bigger price but nevertheless I make Dean Burmester a fair bit of value around the $80+ mark. The South African is a slogger off the tee and take advantage of the par 5 opportunities here if he arrives on song. He was 22nd on debut here last year and can be expected to build upon that. He has a top ten posted in Portugal and two top 5 finishes in Dubai at the Tour Championship. He has the tools and fits the bill so we'll get involved at three figures.
I am more than aware that I followed Ryan Fox and jumped off that cliff a long time ago, but nevertheless I'm going again. The Kiwi really should relish this test and a top 30 last week is solid preparation for a course he could tear apart. He hasn't done much in two appearances but he has the links form we look to as a pointer for this event. Ballyliffin was similar in many ways that Fox could take on trouble and take tighter lines to various greens. That served him well upon finishing 2nd and I think it is a matter of time before he blitzes another course in similar fashion. I was maybe best leaving him off my betting slip last week in favour of this week. I think he stands a better chance of making his game pay here.
Another who is worth supporting this week is Aussie Jason Scrivener. He posted a very respectable top 20 last week finishing with a 68 at the tougher stage of the event weather and scoring wise. He lead driving accuracy for the week and if the dynamic of the Emirates GC is about to change with the firmness Jason might be one who can cope with it. He had four lovely round last year also on route to finishing 6th. He is a very good all rounder and has a top 15 in Portugal to boot. There are a number of others very investable this week. Tom Lewis is one in particular playing very well and ticks the Portugal box also. Van Rooyen, Bjork and Poulter were the next crop on my list.