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DP World Tour Championship Betting Tips: Four Each-Way picks in Dubai

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The 2022 DP World Tour Season culminates in Dubai this week, at Jumeirah Golf Estate’s Earth Course with the DP World Tour Championship. An event that sees the top 50 available players on the Race to Dubai rankings battling it out not just for this season ending title but the Race to Dubai title itself for those still in the running.

The DP World Tour Championship debuted at Jumeirah Estates in 2009 – an event won by Lee Westwood – and has taken place every year since, with Collin Morikawa the latest person to take home the title last year, though he doesn’t return to defend.

Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm and Matt Fitzpatrick have each won the tournament twice, with Stenson’s -25 winning score in 2013 still the tournament record.

This low scoring was generally the case in the early years of the event, with four winning scores of -20 or lower in the first seven renewals, though has become more difficult in recent years; the winning score failing to hit the -20s in the last six years and an average of -17.5 since 2016.

With Morikawa out it means we aren’t just missing the defending champion of the DP World Tour Championship but also the Race to Dubai, leaving the door open for Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm or Tommy Fleetwood to take home that title again, or will we see someone new crowned Race to Dubai winner this week?

The Course

The Earth Course at Jumeirah Estates is a monstrous 7706 yard par 72, designed by Greg Norman. It looks like a typically big, open Middle-Eastern course, though offers a good mixture of strategy and “bombs away” golf. 

Some of the fairways are deceptively narrow, with players generally struggling to find fairways over the last couple of years, though there are many with more generous landing areas for equal measure. Whilst the huge undulating greens are protected by deep, intimidating bunkers and steep run-off areas; many of them elevated from your position in the fairway.

Further difficulty lies aside the fairways, with more of those bunkers strategically placed to ask questions and well in the mind of players with driver in hand; whilst there is further trouble lurking in the shape of sandy waste areas, some sticky rough and water in-play on around five holes; particularly over a difficult and exciting closing trio of holes. 

This kicks off with the 486 yard par 4 16th, where you must avoid a couple of strategically placed bunkers in the fairway to control your approach into the large, shallow green, which is protected by bunkers short and water to the right. 

From there we move on to the daunting 195 yard par 3 17th; an island hole surrounded by water on all sides, with huge bunkers waiting to collect errant shots into this long, narrow green. 

Finally we finish with the par 5 18th, which at 651 yards is the longest hole on the course; there you must drive into a fairway split straight down the middle by a creek that runs throughout the entire hole, with thick rough on either side of the split fairway and bunkers, collection areas and that creek in-play again. It’s a closing stretch that provides plenty of excitement throughout the week, no more so than that closing hole, which can make or break your tournament.

It's a true risk/reward course, if you attempt to take it on with driver you can make many of these holes a whole lot easier and make plenty of birdies, though this in turn is what brings most of that danger that lurks around the course on nearly every hole into play.

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The Stats

Stats Breakdown (last three years):

2021 – Collin Morikawa produced a strong all-round performance when winning last year, ranking top 10 in each T2G statistic, whilst also putting well, though actually excelled in scrambling, ranking 1st in the field. Alexander Bjork and Matt Fitzpatrick chased him down, both relying heavily on a strong week on the greens, ranking 1st and 2nd respectively.

This also the same with 4th place finisher, Robert MacIntyre, who excelled on the putting surfaces, ranking 3rd, combining it with a good driving week, ranking 11th. Whilst Nicolai Hojgaard used his power-packed driving game to put up an excellent debut effort in 4th, ranking 4th off-the-tee for the week.

2020 – Though showing more quality T2G than last year when finishing 2nd, we can indeed find Matt Fitzpatrick’s love for these putting surfaces in his win in 2020, as he led the field on the greens, combining it with a solid T2G performance. Lee Westwood finished 2nd to him there, thanks in no small part to that superb ball-striking game that much of his career had been defined by; ranking 4th in approach and 6th off-the-tee for the week.

Viktor Hovland is another who excelled with the ball-striking in 3rd, ranking 4th off-the-tee and 6th in approach, whilst Patrick Reed in 4th was mostly reliant on a strong short-game, ranking 1st around-the-greens but also ranked top 10 in approach.

2019 – Jon Rahm was top class in every area when winning the 2nd of his titles here in 2019; a ranking of 4th T2G and 9th in putting just about good enough to get it done anywhere. Tommy Fleetwood was his closest challenger and produced a ball-striking clinic, ranking 2nd in approach and 5th off-the-tee.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera picked up a surprise 3rd place finish thanks to a high-class approach game and short-game, ranking 1st around-the-greens, 4th in putting and 5th in approach. With Rory in 4th excelling off-the-tee, as you’d expect, combining it with a strong short-game display.

All round quality is typically required here but this is a course that just screams strong drivers more than anything else to me; virtually all of the par 4s and par 5s give you licence to pull the club out of the bag, even the shorter holes which have some of the wider fairways on the course; and whilst some more steady players have enjoyed good weeks - such as Alexander Bjork last year - it’s hard not to favour those who possess distance with the driver too.

Having said that, there’s plenty of evidence that the putter is as important a club, not just in those last three events but when we go back even further. 

The ideal candidate this week someone who excels with the driver and putter; complimenting those areas with an adequate ability in approach/scrambling.

Key Stats: SG Off-the-Tee, SG: Putting, Driving Distance

Secondary Stats: SG: Approach, Scrambling

Correlating Courses

This is one of those weeks where correlating courses come easy. Courses in this part of the world usually compare well with each other; desert courses that are generally quite open, full of sand and require some level of wind management. 

With this we can look at virtually any event staged in the Middle East:

Dubai Desert Classic

Abu Dhabi Championship

Ras Al Khaimah Championship/Classic

Dubai Championship

Qatar Masters

Oman Open

In addition there’s a few open resort courses in Europe that share plenty of characteristics with these courses and either already or will develop strong form-ties with this and other Middle Eastern venues:

Italian Open (2021 & 2022 @ Marco Simone)

Dutch Open (2021 & 2022 @ Bernardus Golf)

Portugal Masters

The Weather

We’re in for a warm, dry week in Dubai. In terms of wind, the opening two days look relatively calm early on before kicking up a little in the afternoon but not too severe. However this is set to increase over the weekend, only by a little on Saturday but by Sunday we could have winds of up to 17mph asking questions of the players.

The Field

With three players from inside the top 50 on the Race to Dubai Missing (Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Thomas Pieters) we go down to #53 in the rankings to complete this week’s field; with David Law, Paul Waring and Haotong Li the lucky recipients of the final spots.

Rory McIlroy is the headline act this week, not only as world #1 but as the current leader on the Race to Dubai. The man who trails him there, Ryan Fox is one of a further six players from inside the top 25 teeing it up, with #4 Jon Rahm, #9 Matt Fitzpatrick, #11 Viktor Hovland, #20 Shane Lowry and #24 Tommy Fleetwood the other five.

Plenty of star power there to make up for the missing Americans and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, giving us an exciting season finale in the process.

DP World Tour Championship Tips

World Cup Odds
Tyrrell Hatton - Each-Way 8 Places
16/1
Odds correct as of 2022-11-15 13:10 Odds subject to change.

This is a really tough betting market with a strong leading trio of McIlroy, Rahm and Fitzpatrick – who each have two victories here - looking simultaneously hard to beat but making very little appeal at the prices. With that we’ll try to get them beat and outside of that leading trio it’s Tyrrell Hatton who appealed most to me at the prices.

Hatton has hardly had a poor year; he made every cut in the majors, producing strong performances of 11th in The Open and 13th in the PGA Championship, whilst he went close in the Arnold Palmer Invitational amongst some other strong top 10 performances. However compared to the previous three years – where the Englishman had picked up a win in each year – it feels like a drop in form.

This was certainly the case in the middle part of this year after a strong start but he’s regained some good form over recent months – with three top 10s in his last eight starts – and can stretch that run of consecutive winning years to four this week.

The three top 10s saw Hatton finish 8th in the Wyndham Championship, 8th in the Italian Open and 7th in the Alfred Dunhill Links. Whilst when we last saw him he recorded a strong 13th place finish in the CJ Cup on the PGA Tour, hitting the ball well and looking very good on the greens, ranking 6th.

His game is one that has little in the way of weaknesses when at his best; the putting woes that stunted his progress at the end of 2021 a thing of the past this year, as Hatton ranked 4th on the greens on the PGA Tour for the 2022 season. As ever with these high-class players it’s about getting all of those areas functioning at once on a given week.

Hatton has a strong record here, having finished in the top 10 on four occasions, with a best of 2nd in 2016 and is no stranger to winning in the Middle East, as his last victory came in the Abu Dhabi Championship last year; this proven winner can add another this week at the Jumeirah Estates and sign off 2022 in style.

Min Woo Lee - Each-Way 6 Places
28/1
Odds correct as of 2022-11-15 13:15 Odds subject to change.

The uber-talented Min Woo Lee has been in excellent form towards the end of this season; possessing a power-packed driving game, as well as that bit of class around and on the greens, he can go even better than his impressive debut effort of 16th last year, this week in Dubai.

The year had been a largely poor one for this former top 5 amateur but he has sprung into life in a big way over his last three starts. Lee rediscovered form in the Open de Espana a little over a month ago, trailing Jon Rahm by a shot heading into the final round and looking every bit a serious challenger to the Spaniard but was blown away, as everyone was, by Rahm’s scintillating final round display, to eventually finish 3rd. 

The following week he was equally impressive at Valderrama in the Andalucia Masters, once again finishing 3rd, suffering in a similar way to the previous week as another Spaniard, Adrian Otaegui, dismantled the field; following that last week with his third top 10 in a row, finishing 8th in the Nedbank Challenge and would’ve been a serious contender if it wasn’t for a tournament ruining 76 in round two.

Across these recent 3 – 3 – 8 form figures, we have seen the best of Lee and what he has been all about since turning pro; a player who combines a wonderful short-game with a power-packed ability off-the-tee; gaining strokes both in putting and around-the-greens on his last six starts and five of six off-the-tee.

The quality of these areas often makes up for his deficiencies in approach, though in finishing 16th here last year he actually ranked 3rd in the field in approach, a struggling week on the greens his undoing. Plenty to like about that debut effort, with a 4th place at the Fire Course in the Dubai Championship last year, as well as an 8th in Portugal adding confidence to his chances.  

If able to rediscover that quality in approach that he showed last year whilst keeping up the strength in putting he’s shown this year; combined with his always high-class scrambling and driving, Lee – who showed he has the stomach to put away a stellar field in last year’s Scottish Open – is the one who can give the top five or six in the betting the most to think about.

Antoine Rozner - Each-Way 6 Places
66/1
Odds correct as of 2022-11-15 13:20 Odds subject to change.

Antoine Rozner has been hitting the ball well all year and coming into this event off the back of his best putting week since May in South Africa last week, the Frenchman can add another big performance to an already strong book of form in the Middle East. 

Rozner has shown bits and pieces of form all year but the main bulk of his better performances have come over the last couple of months; 4th place finishes in the Alfred Dunhill Links and European Masters rating as his best efforts in this time; finishing 16th or better in seven of his last nine starts. 

Ball-striking has been key, very much the case since Rozner stepped up to the main tour; ranking 10th in approach and 35th off-the-tee this season, whilst 28th in driving distance shows further his suitability to this setup.

The putter undoubtedly the biggest concern but there have been positive signs in recent weeks, not just at the Nedbank – where he ranked 12th on the putting surfaces – but he also produced an encouraging performance five starts ago in France.

Rozner hasn’t set the world alight in two visits here, finishing 36th and 39th but is more than accustomed to winning in this part of the world as a Qatar Masters winner and possessing a win at the Fire Course here on the Jumeirah Estates in the Dubai Championship, as well as a 4th; whilst he’s also recorded top 10s in Oman, the Dubai Desert Classic and in Portugal.

The ball-striking alone won’t be sufficient this week but there’s enough in recent form to suggest he can find the type of putting performance required to compliment his ball-striking and improve significantly on his other visits.

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Adrian Meronk - Each-Way 6 Places
66/1
Odds correct as of 2022-11-15 13:20 Odds subject to change.

Adrian Meronk’s form has slipped a little since earning a breakthrough victory in the Irish Open but at his best off-the-tee and on the greens, this course sets up well for the big-hitting Pole; he can sign off the season with a big performance here in Dubai.

After recording six top 10s in the early part of the year before that win in Ireland, Meronk has failed to find a similar level of form since, with a best of 11th in the Open de France over his last nine starts. 

However there’s been little wrong with his game; he’s still driving it well, producing the kind of performances that see him ranked 2nd on tour this season off-the-tee; very much the same with the putter, where he ranks 10th. 

If anything is up it’s his iron play, which has regularly been his biggest weakness and his performances in this area over recent weeks are a little worse than earlier in the season; though he’ll only need to find minor improvements if able to find the best of his driving and putting.

He did this last year when finishing 36th here on debut; the putter doing most of the heavy lifting but a positive performance in approach is a plus, with an unusually poor week off-the-tee stopping him from producing a better debut effort. 

We can take belief from some strong correlating form as to his ability to perform here, where he’s finished 2nd in the Italian Open and 3rd in the Dutch Open in recent years, as well as eye-catching form in the Middle East; a 3rd in Qatar, 4th in the Dubai Desert Classic and 6th at Ras Al Khaimah.

I’m certain he can improve significantly on that debut effort with his biggest weapons comparing nicely to what is needed around here and with that attractive book of correlating form to boot, Meronk has the game to cause problems amongst some of the stars in this week’s field.

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