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Before getting into our betting tips for the Dubai Desert Classic, I do recommend having a read of my tournament preview article here. You can catch-up on all my deep-dive analysis of the Majilis Course at Emirates Golf Club, correlated course form, and weather for the tournament. It also helps provide context and some of the background research behind the Dubai Desert Classic betting tips below.
A few names unlucky to miss out on the Dubai Desert Classic betting card. Yannik Paul and Thriston Lawrence make our list of golfers who just missed the card for the second week running. Paul was left off just, with others preferred at similar odds. Lawrence was again brilliant at the Dubai Invitational, and has shown good recent form in Dubai. However, he has three missed cuts here from three appearances. We would prefer to see him display something on this golf course first, especially on a course where prior course form is the most correlated of all tournaments on the DP World Tour.
At longer odds, Adri Arnaus showed some signs of life at the back-end of 2023 and has an excellent record at the Emirates. He looked truly dreadful last week, and had he shown any glimmer of form he likely would’ve made the card here. Haotong Li also looked promising at a juicy 250/1 at market open. However, that was very swiftly backed into 140/1 within half an hour making that position untenable.
Overall, it is a rather strange market this week. There is a real divide between the class of the field and the rest of the pack. Highlighting this is the lack of any golfer being priced between 50/1 to 65/1 on open.
Updated 16 Jan 00:00AM ETAs always with early odds, prices may fluctuate as bookmakers open markets. Bet365 allows cash out and will update to reflect best prices once other release pricingSuggested Staking
Joaquin Niemann – Your Dubai Desert Classic Favourite2.5pt E/W +2500 (Unibet with 6 places 1/4 odds)
Adrian Meronk2.5pt E/W +2500 (Unibet with 6 places 1/4 odds)
Ryan Fox2.5pt E/W +3300 (Bet365 with 5 places 1/4 odds)
Thorbjorn Olesen2.5pt E/W +3300 (Unibet with 6 places 1/4 odds)
Jordan Smith2pt E/W +4500 (Bet365 with 5 places 1/4 odds)
Jayden Schaper0.5pt E/W +12500 (Bet365 with 5 places 1/4 odds)And1pt Top 20 +450 (TAB)And3pt Top 40 +180 (TAB)
Kalle Samooja – Your Dubai Desert Classic Best Value0.5pt E/W +15000 (Unibet with 6 places 1/4 odds)And1pt Top 20 +550 (TAB)And3pt Top 40 +210 (TAB)
The first name I searched for in the market was Joaquin Niemann. Initially, we were to exclude him as he opened at a short 16/1. He was not liked at that sort of price given this field. However, he drifted to 25/1 when more bookmakers released their pricing which is a lot more playable.
Overall, I suspect Niemann has developed significantly over the past year. Getting a gauge on the state of LIV Golf players still proves notoriously difficult. Particularly, the lack of strokes gained data is a major hinderance. We can look to the 5 top 10s in the 2023 LIV season for some indications. Stepping into DP World Tour level, Niemann ended 2023 with a 5th and a win in Australia.
With that win, he earned an automatic spot into the Open Championship. Niemann has slipped outside the top 50 in the world, and likely undeservedly so. He is on record speaking to unfair those current rankings are and he is desperate to qualify for the other majors. That is the reason we see him this week. Simply put, the man is on a mission.
The link between the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters is well established. Niemann was 16th in 2023, sitting in the top 10 at the halfway stage. He is also a winner at Riviera. Much akin to Emirates Golf Club, it is another ball-strikers course where shaping your shots is imperative. It is also one of the best Masters’ form guides. We see more evidence in his 3rd place finish at the Memorial, with Muirfield a course designed by Nicklaus with Augusta National firmly in mind.
Desert golf looks to suit Niemann, with an 8th and 10th in the Saudi International and 5th in Oman noted. Expect a strong showing this week.
If the Dubai Desert Classic has proven an excellent guide to the emerging talent on the DP World Tour, there may be none better suited than Meronk this week. It always grabs my attention when a player can perform well at their first look on a golf course. The strong driving Pole did just that, finishing 4th here on debut. Perhaps no surprise, being a golf course built perfectly for his game and being a Dubai resident.
Other Middle East form is also easy to find. Included in that is a 7th at the neighbouring Jumeirah Golf Estates for the DP World Tour Championship, a 4th and 6th at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and a 2nd at Challenge Tour level there, a 3rd in Doha, and a 10th in Abu Dhabi. Strong driver golf courses are a key this week. The record at Marco Simon holds particular appeal, where Meronk has always performed well having a win and runner-up finish in three appearances with strong fields. Finally, a 3rd at the 2023 BMW International Open appeals, being a golf course where multiple winners have claimed both that title and the Dubai Desert Classic.
Shaking off the rust at the Dubai Invitational last week, Meronk recovered from an average first round 70 to eventually finish 10th. Particularly, the driver looked excellent sitting 2nd in the field for SG: OTT gaining both for distance and accuracy. Complimenting this was a 16th in SG: APP, leading the field in the final round for GIR. This course is an infinitely better fit. Now on the PGA Tour, he will be keen to take advantage of his limited playing opportunities on the DP World Tour. Don’t be surprised to see Meronk lift his 5th DP World Tour trophy this week.
The long-hitting Kiwi has quickly established himself as a man for the big occasion. Elevating his game in 2022 and 2023, Fox remains on the rise and deservedly also earned a PGA Tour card. It is the nature of his titles which holds the most appeal. A winner in the desert in neighbouring emirate Ras Al Khaimah, he has won both the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the BMW PGA Championship. Those are flagship events on the DP World Tour, just as we find here this week.
Foxy’s record at the Emirates Golf Club is solid. A 30th and 41st in 2020 and 2021 were respectable with where his game was at the time. A 26th in 2022 was then followed by a 20th here last year, where he was also in the top 5 after the first round. The 20th also needs to be read in the context that he was fighting a stomach bug that week. Fox spoke about how fatigue caught up with him during that tournament. He claimed he was glad just to finish the final round. In that light, a 20th place finish in this standard of field was impressive.
Fox has a record of 26-14-3 at the heavily correlated Eichenreid and a 26th on debut at Augusta National also impressive. A finishing weekend of 68-68 at the Dubai Invitational came on a fiddly course. This should be more suitable.
Another Dubai resident, Olesen was well in contention at neighbouring Dubai Creek last week before a final round 71 derailed his title charge. Still, sitting 8th in a decent field was a promising start to the new year.
Olesen game has recovered back to it’s full skill, after some time in the wilderness. You can mark this time precisely to when found not guilty in a court case at the end of 2021, ending a turbulent period for him personally. His record at the Emirates Golf Club is excellent, reading MC-42-3-5-MC-8-32-29-7-35-16. A 4th last year at Ras Al Khaimah, won previously by strong drivers like Fox and Nicolai Hojgaard, compliments a 10th around Eichenreid and a 16th at Marco Simone.
The Masters link is also there for Olesen. He was a very impressive 6th on debut at Augusta National, with a 44th and 21st in his other two appearances there. A 7 time DP World Tour winner, victory at The Belfry in 2022 again has good links to the Dubai Desert Classic from players at both short and long odds. Finishing 2023 with a run of 17-9-9-3 suggest his game is back to it’s superb best.
It was the usual story for Jordan Smith at the Dubai Invitational last week. One of the best ball-strikers on the DP World Tour, he finished the week 3rd for SG: OTT and lead the field in SG: APP when finishing 4th. The short-game was what held him back, particularly finishing 40/60 for SG: ATG. However, his putter showed some small signs of life being a small gainer with the flatstick.
That is always the issue with Smith, where if he can find some form putting he often goes on to win. The putter has been at field average his last two appearances here, where he owns a solid record of 23-MC-29-32-60-9-20. A winner and runner-up at Ras Al Khaimah is again promising. As is the superb record at Marco Simone, where he holds a 12th and 16th the past two years. Furthermore, at Eichenried is last two appearances have been a 3rd and 8th.
He won on another driver heavy course at the Portugal Masters, giving credence to Iberian Peninsula form often seen in champions at the Dubai Desert Classic. Finally, the win at Green Eagle Golf Course is far from the worst link being the longest golf course on the DP World Tour. 45/1 looks juicy, placing him as the longest odds of a relatively small pool of likely winners.
Delving past a fairly mediocre mid-range in this field, there are a couple of speculative selections at triple figure odds. The first of those is the young South African talent Jayden Schaper. South Africans have long held an excellent record here, beyond the great Ernie Els to golfers like Charl Schwartzel, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Richard Sterne, and Brandon Stone.
The 22 year old Schaper has oodles of natural talent and this is the tournament that has often seen emerging stars first arrive on the scene in a significant way. A strong driver of the golf ball, he hinted to his continuing development at the end of 2023 with 4 consecutive top 10 finishes when returning to the motherland.
Data Golf currently rank Schaper as 162nd in the world, compared to a ranking of just 307th in the OWGR. Large discrepancies such as this one are often an indication that we can expect some imminent correction in a big way. Winning here would likely be a surprise, but a finish inside the top 20 or 40 would not be.
Finally, we round out our betting tips this week with our best value bet on the board. Having expected a price in the range of 80/1 to 100/1, I am delighted to be able to add him to the card at 150/1.
As in our Dubai Desert Classic betting preview, the Majilis Course at Emirates Golf Club has the strongest links of any golf course on the DP World Tour. Samooja has the best record here of any golfer in this field not named Rory McIlroy. Form here of 16-27-4-12-38 in just five starts is truly superb, especially for a golf only hovering around the top 300 in the world.
Samooja also had a 9th last year at Marco Simone and on another driver heavy course for the Open de Espana. Further, his record at the very long Green Eagle reads 18-1-22 in his last three appearances. Much like Niemann, Samooja will need a strong performance this week. Winning a qualifying spot for the LIV Golf tour, he will soon have few opportunities to earn OWGR points, and this is a golf course that evidently suits his game.
Finally, if you haven’t read already make sure to check out this article. The majority of One and Done golf contests began last week at the Sony Open. I have put together your ULTIMATE strategy guide to the season. I deep-dive optimal One and Done strategy, as well as preview every single tournament this year. It is well worth a bookmark in any case, to get a brief overview of each golf course on the PGA Tour this year.
You can join me in the free WinDaily One and Done contest here. It is always fun and I look forward to a wee bit of competition in 2024!
David takes the business international, joining the team from New Zealand and having grown up in Dubai. It was when living in the Middle East where he first developed his love of golf whilst working at local DP World Tour events, getting inside the ropes with the world’s best, and being fortunate enough to be coached as a junior by elite instructor Justin Parsons. Despite having experience working in multiple other areas of the sports industry, golf remains his main passion. David relies heavily on data, agronomy, topography, and meteorology in providing his @DeepDiveGolf analysis and betting tips for both the PGA and DP World Tour events. View Dave's P&L Tracker »
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