THE European Tour travels from South Africa to the Middle East for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and even with the late withdrawal of Rory McIlroy there is still a strong field with quite a few playing their first tournament of the year.

Among them are Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson, Masters champion Danny Willett and US Open winner Dustin Johnson.

The course is long and flat but is littered with bunkers. The greens can be quite fast and I’ll be looking at GIR and form in the desert for this one.

It’s hard to believe Rafa Cabrera Bello hasn’t won since 2012. The Dubai resident plays well in the Middle East with his last European Tour win in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and has eight top-10 finishes in the region, with four inside top 15 at this event.

In his last start on the European Tour he finished runner-up at the UBS Hong Kong Open and with his performance in the Ryder Cup there seems to be a refound confidence. His GIR stat is 76% (5th) and I am expecting big things from him this year, hopefully beginning this weekend.

This is Bernd Wiesberger’s first outing of the season so it could be a big ask of the Austrian. Having said that in the last two years Wiesberger has six top sixes in the Middle East including a T4 in his last tournament of last season, the DP World Tour Championship. He is a long hitter and with a GIR stat of 75.5% (6th) and average putts per round of 29. If he has retained the form he showed to the end of last year he will be close on Sunday.

Another who makes his first outing of the season but seems to like the Middle East is Korean Byeong-hun An. The 25-year-old didn’t win on the European Tour last year but he has had seven top-15 finishes including four in the top five in the Middle East over the past two years. His GIR is 73.7% (13th) and I'm hoping he also can hit the ground running and do the business this weekend.

Recommended Bets

1.5pts ew Rafa Cabrera Bello (Betfair 25-1)
1.5pts ew Bernd Wiesberger (Betfred 28-1)
1.5pts ew Byeong-hun An (Betfair 30-1)

Ace Venturer

  1. sa1nt 5 years ago

    I can’t see past Stenson (7/1 SB) for this.
    Stensons fairway hit %
    Plus previous scores in these conditions makes him my pick.

    Random other bets
    J.Smith 70/1 @ SB
    M.Fitzpatrick top GB and Ireland 8/1 SB

  2. chazthedog 5 years ago

    Happy New Year ace!

    Been away a while waiting for my fav time of the year in the golf – usually money to be made with the middle eastern swing and good trends around.
    Unfortunately in Abu Dhabi quite a few players consistently challenge here and hard to pick. At least McIllroy dropping out makes it a bit easier.
    Cant argue with the credentials of Stenson or Fowler, but at their respective single/close to single figure odds Im happy to swerve in search of some better odds.

    Instead Im in the same price bracket as you for my 2 main selections, with similar thinking and previous at this time of year:

    Joost Luiten (30/1) has 3 top 6 finishes here, and another 2 top 20, so at 30/1 I hope to get a good run for my money

    Martin Kaymer (30/1) also tends to find form at this time of year, and at 30/1 has the potential to make the price look very generous

    Gary Stal (300/1) won this back in 2015 and took the course apart with 4 sub 70 rounds (and held off McIllroy and Kaymer to win). Hes shown nothing like it since, but 300/1 is massive and worth a quid each way

    Will also chuck a whole £2 at Marcel Siem (250/1) who again can blow massively hot and cold, but has the game to do well here

    Good luck!

  3. aceventurer 5 years ago

    Hi guys, good to hear from you. I think you are both right in that someone who has consistently played well here is going to be in with a chance. ANyway good luck with your picks.

  4. townie 5 years ago

    Kevin Kisner @ 35/ 1 CareerBuilder Challenge

    Woody Austin @ 20/1 Mitsubishi Electric Championship.. seniors golf.
    double crazy odds why not

  5. townie 5 years ago

    Henrik Stenson @ 7/1 – Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
    Zach Johnson @ 25/1 CareerBuilder Challenge
    Joe Durant @ 12/1 Mitsubishi Electric Championship. seniors golf.
    treble 3275/1 EW OF COURSE

  6. townie 5 years ago

    sorry that was for trixie

  7. townie 5 years ago

    Nice start by henrik aye son, 3- after 4 holes.

  8. townie 5 years ago

    Sorry again – Stenson

  9. aceventurer 5 years ago

    Bad double bogey for Cabrera Bello at the 13th but I am happy at where my three selections after the first round. You know what they say… you can’t win it after the first round but you can lose it.

  10. chazthedog 5 years ago

    Any chance of a monsoon blowing thru till Monday?!

  11. aceventurer 5 years ago

    Chazthedog have you no faith in Kaymer? He looked good today but Rafa is on his tail. I’m happy with all my selections on both sides of the Atlantic and hoping for a return on Sunday night.

  12. chazthedog 5 years ago

    Delighted so far, hope he’s back to his BMW like reliability but tended to throw a few bad rounds in last year when in the mix. Swing looks much more solid again tho.
    All yours in with a shout here – all you can hope for after 2 rounds. Even Gary Stal has an ew sniff.
    Scared of both the spaniards – have the ability to rip any course to pieces when they are on it and Pablo has previous here.
    Did Danny Lee over in the states at 25/1, looking solid so far.
    So long as one of us takes cash off the bookies I’m happy!

    • chazthedog 5 years ago

      Sorry, 50/1

  13. chazthedog 5 years ago

    Any thoughts on golf cash outs Ace? Nice healthy profit on kaymer on offer (effectively an 8/1 win) but can never bring myself to do it on golf in particular with the 30/1 dangled carrot!

  14. aceventurer 5 years ago

    Chazthedog. Great 64 by Danny Lee in the second round equalled by my tip Brendan Steele. Be good to see them go head to head tomorrow and Sunday. ON cash outs, it just depends on whether your happy to accept the 8-1. Just remember there are still 36 holes to go. Good luck on what ever you do.

  15. townie 5 years ago

    last two rounds for two of the abu dhabi and career builder,
    rafa Cabrera 9/2
    phil mickelson 12/1
    double 70.5/1

  16. aceventurer 5 years ago

    Not a great start for Cabrera Bello (-9), bogeying the first two holes, but he steadied the ship and is still four off tbe lead. An (-11) and Wiesberger (-11) are both still in with a chance, two behind leader Hatton. Looking forward to tomorrow.

  17. chazthedog 5 years ago

    Absolute bloody anybody’s this! Kaymer had his wobble as feared but wheels didn’t come off like last year and in the mix still.
    Had a few quid on Larazzabal ahead of final round, 16-1 and 3 places looks like a bit of value for a former winner.
    Look forward to watching it in the morning post gym

  18. townie 5 years ago

    another top score of “59” in the builder career by a. hadwin , not his all to lose yet
    but it happened last week and that guy one.
    waiting on a couple of ew bets. interesting day or morning ahead.
    whats the next bet type to be looked at, so many players shooting a round of 59??
    anyway gla

  19. chazthedog 5 years ago

    Looks much tougher to score, think -16 at least gets a playoff and maybe even wins it.
    Tailor made for stensons consistency

  20. chazthedog 5 years ago

    Could watch larazzabal play golf all day, talented loonatic

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