After a detour to Malaysia and Australia, the European Tour returns to the Middle East this week for the first staging of the NBO Oman Open, Phil Casey writes.
Although a new destination on the main circuit, the Greg Norman-designed course has hosted five events on the Challenge Tour, with winning scores ranging from seven to 21 under par, largely depending on weather conditions.
Wind is a key factor on the links style course and adds another element of difficulty to picking a winner, but with relatively calm conditions forecast our first selection is Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal.
The last of Larrazabal’s four European Tour wins came back in 2015 and he is a fiery character who can be difficult to predict, but his most recent start in Malaysia was hugely encouraging.
After opening with two rounds of 70 in the Maybank Championship, Larrazabal closed with rounds of 64 and 66 to finish third behind Shubhankar Sharma and posted on social media that he was delighted with his progress after going bogey-free for 36 holes.
A similar performance in Oman would be very welcome and Larrazabal can be backed at 33/1.
Both Larrazabal and Eddie Pepperell have been complimentary about the course in Oman and Pepperell also tweeted recently that he has found “the secret” to regaining his best form after a disappointing start to the season.
Pepperell missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and although he made the 36-hole cut in Malaysia, a third round of 80 meant he missed the 54-hole cut which was required to trim down the large field.
However, that is reflected in the price of 80/1 and the engaging Englishman is worth chancing in the each-way market.
The same can also be said of Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, who gave us a 100/1 winner in Sicily last year and has made just two halfway cuts since. Quiros was in similar form before his surprise win in the Rocco Forte Open and the similarities between that venue and this week’s mean a small bet is advised each-way at 200/1.
Oman Open betting tips
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