The European Tour’s Desert Swing moves on to Dubai this week, with another closely-fought battle for the title likely, writes Dave Clark.
Tommy Fleetwood pipped Ross Fisher and Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi on Sunday to defend his title, but it is the latter of those that makes our first selection at 9/2.
The four-time Major winner was making his first appearance since October at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and played some excellent golf in finishing third.
There was no shame in being beaten by Fleetwood’s spectacular back-nine 30 on Sunday, but the Englishman’s record at Emirates Golf Club is mediocre, while McIlroy can benefit from having a week’s competitive action under his belt to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic for a third time.
The Northern Irishman, who has not been outside the top 10 in this event since 2008, is likely to be run close by Ryder Cup team-mates Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson – both also former winners.
However, Garcia has had to deal with travelling from Singapore and Stenson did not appear as sharp as McIlroy following a winter break in finishing eighth last week.
Our second pick is another former champion in Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, who makes plenty of appeal at 33/1.
The 2012 winner also has a runner-up finish to his name here, and was second in Hong Kong earlier in the season.
The desert specialist also performed well in the EurAsia Cup a fortnight ago, so has form in the bag as well as course pedigree.
Those looking for a longer price may be tempted to go for two-time winner Stephen Gallacher at 80/1, but the Scot’s form has taken a nosedive since he made the 2014 Ryder Cup side and he is without a top-10 finish since coming ninth in this event a year ago.
Instead, another veteran at the same price, Lee Westwood, can roll back the years at 80/1.
The Englishman may not have won here, but he has been a runner-up three times and with another six top-10s over the layout, is a safe bet to be in contention come Sunday afternoon.
Those looking for an outside punt could do worse than consider Romain Wattel at 250/1.
The Frenchman finished third here in 2014 and was an impressive winner of the KLM Open towards the end of 2017.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic Betting Tips
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