Oman Open Tips & Betting Preview
Our golf expert is 72 points in profit for 2019.
A return to a coastal track on the European Tour is always welcome as a host of similar courses have been on the rota for a few years now and some interesting conclusions can be secured with some research. We return to the Greg Norman designed Al Mouj golf course In Muscat where Joost Luiten landed the latest of his 6th European Tour victories overcoming Chris Wood in a mighty tussle down the back 9.
Plenty of water meanders its way through the 18 holes and although there is plenty of room off the tee some will come a Roy Cropper biting off more than they can chew off some tee boxes. Wind will play its part here mainly on Saturday looking at this weeks weather. A coastal, linksy, desert style track is similar to Sicily, Qatar, Mauritius and the Saudi course that Dustin won on a few weeks ago.
Luiten arrives off the back of an impressive weekend at the WGC In Mexico. He is rightly favourite and his price looks about right but I'd like to chance bigger prices this week given on any going week that Luiten has he rarely looks unbeatable. Thomas Pieters can't be far away from another win but we can happily let him pass at these odds given his tendency to get hot under the collar when patience needs to be exercised.
I regretted last weeks decision not to go with chunky each-way bets on both DJ and Rory but the same doesn't apply this week with this event. However I am reluctantly leaving out Alex Levy last minute simply because I have a string of 5 or 6 others who look lively bets at the prices and I just can't add Levy. Out of the top 5 or so in the market and double the price of the jolly I think Levy holds a solid chance of taking this title.
At $34 JUSTIN HARDING looks a decent enough proposition this week. He has been on a remarkably consistent run of results and I don't see why that should change this week in Oman. In January he was outside the worlds top 700 and now ranks 71st. His form has improved dramatically and I think he could cope well with what this Norman course will throw at him. Crucially this season he has a 4th in Mauritius and 11th in the Saudi International which had a high class field. Those two courses are strong pointers for me personally and having followed those results with another top 5 at the Handa Vic Open he looks to be trending towards a victory.
Min Woo Lee is another full of confidence and his good results look set to continue on a course that should suit also. A few others appeal more though and I really like the look of MIKE LORENZO-VERA. He is yet to win on the big stage and for someone of his experience he will be disappointed in that. If a win is to come though more than likely it will arrive in a lower grade tour event such as this in Oman. Last time out he shot a super 63 on the Saturday of the Saudi to eventually finish in a tie for 13th.
Beaten in a playoff in Sicily and a top 5 and top 10 at the windy Qatar Masters coupled with his top 20 in Saudi suggest he has all the tools to play well here. The worry would be the final day if in contention could he follow through with the victory. He hasn't had a ton of opportunities in the past so maybe he will get over the line at his next available opportunity.
MARCUS KINHULT has an impressive record here finishing 2nd in the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2017 before swiftly following that up with a top 20 finish in the big tour event a few months later. Marry that with a top 20 finish in the high class Saudi event and a 3rd placed finish behind Pepperell and Fisher in Qatar this exact week last year and we have a recipe for success here in Oman.
Kinhult has taken a few years to mature and maybe more suited by this drop in class from Saudi. He has a neat game tee to green and is one of the more talented youngsters who get into the winners enclosure here this week.
Victor Perez is a lively Frenchman worth keeping an eye on this week but given they are the same price in the betting I slightly prefer former course winner CLEMENT SORDET. Sordet was lying 9th last time out after 3 rounds strokeplay of the Super 6 event in Perth before succumbing in his first matchplay game on Sunday morning. Previous to that a 3rd round of 74 ruined his chances in the Vic Open eventually finishing 8th, 4 shots behind the miraculous winner David Law.
Sordet seems to play better on tracks he has shown form on before. He has a win and a 6th at Galgorm in the NI Open. A 2nd, 5th and 9th at the same track in the Vaudreuil Challenge. A top 10 in Hong Kong is another nice result to note on a track where it'll pay to have a neat long game as well as the 11th in Mauritius this term. Certainly looks a shade overpriced given he has won here before. His inconsistency remains a concern but he had a nice few weeks in Australia and I hope he can continue it here in Oman.
Spaniard ADRI ARNAUS promises to be a European Tour star and I'l take the chance he can get into the shake up this weekend. He won the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Ras Al Khaimah which is only a handful of hours down the coast here in the UAE. Last year seen him post a tie for 4th in the Open De Portugal on the Challenge Tour which provided tough conditions to score well. Overall he looks a talented sort and with $81 out there he looks one to have on side.
Finally I'll back ZANDER LOMBARD. He impressively dug deep to win the Qualifying school a few months ago and results have been flowing nicely ever since. 15th in the SA Open was followed by a 3rd placed spot in the Alfred Dunhill at the back end of last year. He managed a top 20 in Saudi Arabia which marries well with the beaten playoff result in Sicily a couple of years ago. Although certainly one of the favs in the Cape Town Open a few weeks ago he managed a runner up finish. He has been playing good golf and plays some of his best stuff in tough conditions so I'm happy to have him on the slips this week. As has been the case a few times this year we are backing six golfers which isn't to everyone's taste. Nevertheless they all look bets to me and must be followed through with clear each way stakes and see what we return come the end of the week.