THE Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week returns to the Emirates Golf Club and the wonderful Majlis course.
The course is shorter than last week and is really exposed as you’d expect. Also there are a number of doglegs and when the wind is blowing can cause a few problems and being out early can be an advantage. Driving Accuracy, GIR and Putting could be important this week.
I loved the way Fitzpatrick shot through the field last week in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. A nine-under 63 shot him right up the field and followed that up with a solid fourth-round 69.
He's already a winner in Dubai, lifting the DP World Tour Championship in 2016 holding off fellow English Tyrell Hatton. In his three years playing here he has steadily improved, finishing fifth last year.
With four wins already on the European Tour it’s hard to believe he is only 23. When you look at his stats everything seem in place for him to add to that total. I also notice Fitzpatrick spent most of the off season honing his skills on this course. That seems a good pointer for him this week.
- Driving Accuracy: 67.0% (3rd)
- GIR: 74.3% (18th)
- Putts per GIR: 1.682 (8th)
Fisher is another who tips all the boxes and is in good form. With three seconds in his last six outings there’s not much you can say against him. The only thing is he hasn’t won since the Tshwane Open in 2014.
He always seems to be in among it on the weekends but finds it hard to complete the job. When you look at his stats over the last 7/8 years the only thing that seems to have changed is he hits the ball further. Everything else is almost identical.
Last week he hit four sub-70 rounds including a 65 in the third round. It was good to see the 27-year-old in competing over the final few holes and hopefully that showing will give him the confidence to get back to winning ways.
- Driving Accuracy: 58.9% (30th)
- GIR: 77.8% (4th)
- Putts per GIR: 1.643 (2nd)
Rafa Cabrera Bello
I always say if you have feeling about someone but their form or stats don’t add up just go with your instincts. That’s the case with Cabrera Bello. He really let me down last week when he finished T40 in Abu Dhabi but a five-under 67 final round restored my faith in the Spaniard.
He seems to like the desert courses as he won here in 2012 and a T2 in 2016 plus top fives in the Qatar Masters and in Abu Dhabi. I have no hesitation in taking Rafa again as he has all the qualities and experience to win here.
- Driving Accuracy: 57.1% (36th)
- GIR: 70.1% (44th)
- Putts per GIR: 1.752 (34th)
For future reference. The last two winners of this tournament, Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia, went on to win the Masters the same year. Just saying.