Golf specialist Rob Taylor (@RobTaylorSport) previews the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and provides us with his best bets for this week’s event.
- 2019 Profit & Loss: -£10
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 January
- Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi
- Channel: Sky Sports Golf
The European Tour kicks off this week with a return to the desert and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. I love the desert swing, as for me it really kicks off the new season. The sun shines, the courses are spectacular, and the inevitable skyline back drop gets more and more impressive each year. This year there is an added incentive for a good performance, with the event also being the first of the year’s Rolex Series events, bringing with it a $7m prize fund.
Tommy Fleetwood is the two time defending champion, with other recent winners being: Rickie Fowler, Gary Stal, Pablo Larrazabel, Jamie Donaldson, Robert Rock and Martin Kaymer (three times).
A reminder that this event is a Wednesday – Saturday event, so make your selections in good time!
Key Stats & Facts
Abu Dhabi Golf Club has hosted this event for the past 13 years, with Tommy Fleetwood (2), Martin Kaymer (3) and Paul Casey (2) winning seven of the renewals. Certain players seem to continually do well in this region, so it’s definitely worth having on side, players who have good form either here, or in other desert locations such as Dubai.
The course itself is a 7,583 yard par 72 course, which rewards good ball strikers. Whilst a bit of length off the tee will find you in good attacking positions from the fairway, we are not just looking for a bomber. It’s more important to hit lots of greens in regulation and convert those birdie opportunities.
With the wind set to pick up over the weekend, those who play well in more links like conditions should also be considered. Controlling the ball flight and avoiding bogeys will be imperative to be in with a chance of lifting this magnificent trophy.
There has been a real mix of short and long priced winners here, with three sub 16/1 winners and three 125/1 and bigger winners in the past 8 years. So picking the ideal candidate isn’t that straightforward this week.
Recent winning scores include -22, -17, -16 and -19.
Betting Odds from Bet365 – the top 10 in the market
- Dustin Johnson 6/1
- Brooks Koepka 10/1
- Tommy Fleetwood 10/1
- Henrik Stenson 16/1
- Louis Oosthuizen 18/1
- Thomas Pieters 20/1
- Tyrrell Hatton 22/1
- Rafa Cabrera Bello 25/1
- Haotong Li 28/1
- Matt Wallace 30/1
With Tommy Fleetwood going for a hatrick of consecutive wins, alongside Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka at the head of the betting, I’m selecting three players who I believe can get amongst it this week.
Henrik Stenson 16/1: Stenson is my number one pick this week. With a mix of strong desert and recent form, great GIR and putting stats, alongside a love for the challenge of a windy links feel. He was impossible to leave out this week.
Stenson has won three other high profile events in the region, but so far a win here eludes him. Don’t let that put you off though, as two runner up finishes alongside a 3rd and three other top 8 finishes, shows that he loves it here. His recent form is good as well, a 12th place at the season ending DP World Tour Championship and two 4th placed finishes on the Asian leg, shows that he’s back to his best following his elbow injury last year.
Branden Grace 40/1 is my 2nd pick this week. With Martin Kaymer’s former caddie Craig Connelly now on the bag, Grace is hoping for a resurgence in form, following a disappointing 2018.
Grace has already won twice in the desert, winning the Qatar Masters back to back in 2015 and 2016. His form here is also solid, with 3 consecutive top 15 finishes, including a 5th place in 2016. He has more recently begun to find form again, with two decent performances on home turf, including a 7th place at the South African Open. Grace also has a pedigree on the links, so as a proven winner who drives the ball magnificently, I fancy Grace to kick-start his year with another decent performance here.
Joost Luiten 66/1 has always been a favourite of mine, so I’m delighted to see him now injury free and raring to go. He was out of action from May until October last year, easing himself back in with 5 consecutive top 30 finishes, including an 11th place at the Andalucia Masters.
He’s been positive about the state of his game on social media, and is another player who has a good track record on this and other desert tracks. With three top 5 finishes in his last 5 events here, Luiten has proved Abu Dhabi suits his eye. He’s a fine ball striker who gives himself plenty of birdie opportunities, so if he can reduce the amount of mistakes, he could go well at a decent price.
Two other players that I’m likely to back a lot this season, who I liked at good prices this week are Matt Wallace (33/1) and Lucas Bjerregaard 55/1. Their lack of course and desert form just couldn’t get me involved this week.