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Saudi International Tips & Predictions: Garcia to prevail in star-studded field

Sergio Garcia features in our Saudi International tips & predictions.
Sergio Garcia features in our Saudi International tips & predictions.

Resident golf tipster Russell Palmer is back with another three tips for this week's event on the European Tour, the Saudi International from Thursday...

The Desert Swing continues this week with the rather controversial Saudi International, played for the third year at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

With only a $3.5m purse this week, it's fair to say that there's an invasion of PGA Tour based players here on sponsors exemptions who must have been made it their while to make the trip to Saudi Arabia and bypass this week's event in the States, the Phoenix Open.

There are eight players who have made the trip this week, including the number one in the world, reigning US Open champion, last week's winner at Torrey Pines plus five other top players on the PGA Tour.

It's not totally a coincidence that I'm not putting any of them up here this week. I do question the general motivation for the players this week, although Dustin Johnson won here two years ago and was second last year, whilst Bryson DeChambeau finished 6th here twelve months ago and has won in the desert on the Euro Tour on an invite before.

Johnson is 5/1 this week and I'm not going to be putting him up at that price only playing once so far in 2021, finishing 11th in the Sentry.

Bryson DeChambeau has a really good chance this week. The course isn't penal in the slightest and it's short. There's a chance he can drive a few of the par 4's and he could really dominate the course. He finished 7th in the Sentry and is an 8/1 chance here, a bit skinny for me given the quality of the field.

Patrick Reed was a winner on the PGA Tour last weekend, courting some controversy along the way I don't really like backing players to win back-to-back, especially across Tours. Tony Finau is in fine form but just can't find the winning post whilst Viktor Hovland and Abraham Ancer are both quality ball-strikers. 

The addition of these players does mean that there's some value to be found elsewhere. Both Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa failed to make an impression in the last two weeks taking on the Europeans and I'm happy to take a chance on some Euro tour players this week.

Golf odds
Saudi International at a glance
Saudi International at a glance
Sergio Garcia each-way (7 places)
25/1
Odds correct as of 2021-02-01 20:20 Odds subject to change.

First up this week I'm taking a bit of Sergio Garcia at 25/1 each-way with Betfred paying 7 places.

As short as 22/1 with other books, Garcia shaped nicely last week finishing 6th in Dubai and returns to the course where he also finished 12 months ago.

I'm keen on players who are strong off the tee this week leaving themselves in a good position to attack the greens and Garcia ticks those boxes.

The Spaniard ranks 1st on the European Tour for shots gained off the tee (4th on the PGA Tour) and also in the top 20 for greens in regulation this season (70.83%).

Putting is Garcia's achilles heel but he's already a winner this season on the PGA Tour and I like his chances here this week in a field he should revel playing against.

US Masters Odds
Robert MacIntyre each-way (8 places)
33/1
Odds correct as of 2021-02-01 20:25 Odds subject to change.

I'm taking a speculative punt on Robert MacIntyre following up on last week's third place finish in Dubai.

The left-hander played in the final group on Sunday and I'm hoping seeing playing partner Paul Casey win will have sharpened him up for this week.

Undoubtedly a more competitive field, MacIntrye has form figures of 3-16-23-6-1-3 in his last six starts and ranks second on the European Tour behind Garcia for shots gained off the tee and 12th for greens in regulation (71.54%).

Last week's finish propelled the Scot into the world top 50 and judging by his tweet on Monday (below) he's gagging for more success this week.

The Scotsman is trending in the right direction and I like his chances at 33/1 with Paddy Power paying eight places.

Laurie Canter each-way (7 places)
80/1
Odds correct as of 2021-02-01 20:25 Odds subject to change.

Last up this week is a favourite of mine, Laurie Canter.

The Englishman featured heavily in my previews during the restart of the European Tour last summer and has gone strength to strength.

Canter finished T4 last week in Dubai, to go with the five top-10s he had on the European Tour last season (including two seconds), helping to propel him into the world top 100 for the first time (94).

The Englishman heads the GIR stats on the European Tour this season (76.85%) and he's no mug off the tee, ranking 5th (4th in this week's field).

He's destined to break his duck on the European Tour this year, whether he can in a field this hot is questionable but at the prices I'm happy to take a chance at 80/1 with Betfred paying seven places.

As ever, good luck with your bets if you're following and please gamble responsibly. I'm going to keep showing my record post lockdown for a few weeks until we have some 2021 results to show.

Follow me at Twitter @rustyboy75.

Post-lockdown form:

Winners

  • Tyrrell Hatton - BMW PGA Championship - advised at 16/1
  • John Catlin - Irish Open - advised at 40/1
  • Jon Rahm - BMW Championship - advised at 14/1
  • Dustin Johnson - Northern Trust - advised at 20/1
  • Justin Thomas - WGC FedEx St Jude - advised at 12/1
  • Webb Simpson - RBC Heritage - advised at 30/1

Placed

  • Colin Morikawa - T7 Sony Open In Hawaii - advised at 14/1
  • Xander Schauffele - T5 Sentry Tournament of Champions - advised at 10/1
  • Laurie Canter - 2nd Italian Open - advised at 45/1
  • Kristoffer Ventura - T6 Sanderson Farms Championship - advised at 80/1
  • Xander Schauffele - 5th US Open - advised at 16/1
  • Kristoffer Ventura - T7 Safeway Open - advised at 80/1
  • Laurie Canter - 2nd Portugal Masters - advised at 66/1
  • Si Woo Kim - T3 Wyndham Championship - advised at 40/1
  • Jason Day - T4 USPGA Championship - advised at 40/1
  • Phil Mickelson - 2nd WGC FedEx St Jude - advised at 110/1
  • Viktor Hovland - 3rd Workday Charity Open - advised at 25/1
  • Kevin Streelman - T7 Workday Charity Open - advised at 60/1
  • Tyrrell Hatton - T4 Rocket Mortgage Classic - advised at 16/1
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