DP World Tour Championship First-Round Leader Tips: Warren could be a wise choice

Scotland's Marc Warren
Scotsman Marc Warren can get off to a flyer

The European Tour reaches its climax in Dubai and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at the Earth Course...

"He opened with a 64 in last week's Golf in Dubai Championship to lie fifth at close of play. Warren added rounds of 70-68-67 to finish T8."

Back Marc Warren each-way @ 100/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Jumeirah Golf Estates: It's the desert. It's sunny! Temperatures are locked in around the 80 degree mark for most of the golfing day. But the key thing to note is the wind. It gradually picks up as the day goes on so the later groups will have to play in 12mph-14mph winds.

FRL history at the Earth Course

2019 - 63 Mike Lorenzo-Vera
2018 - 66 Adrian Otaegui, Jordan Smith
2017 - 65 Patrick Reed
2016 - 66 Lee Westwood
2015 - 66 Andy Sullivan, Martin Kaymer, Marcus Fraser, Ian Poulter
2014 - 66 Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry
2013 - 66 Alejandro Canizares

Strategy: Some big names have set the pace but there's certainly scope to look much further down the betting. That idea plays out nicely this year because the field tee off in reverse Race to Dubai order so those near the bottom should get the better early conditions.

Warren can wow on day one

It's the last tournament of the year so I don't mind throwing up a Hail Mary in the form of Marc Warren.

To be fair, it's not just a case of picking someone way down the betting for the sake of it.

No, there are reasons both past and present to give the Scotsman a go.

In terms of history, he's played here five times previously. On debut he opened with a 66, on his third visit he fired a 65 and in each of the last two he's shot a 68.

That 66 put him second after 18 holes.

Now fast forward to the present day and he started with a 64 in last week's Golf in Dubai Championship to lie fifth at close of play. Warren added rounds of 70-68-67 to finish T8.

Two starts earlier he was eighth following round one in the Scottish Championship while R1 66s at July's Austrian Open and August's Celtic Classic put him second and fourth respectively.

In other words, he's been rewarding backers in this market.

This is his first appearance in the season closer since 2017 so he has an extra spring in his step.

He told The Scotsman earlier this week: "I didn't have any status a few months ago, so to qualify for the DP World is great.

"It's a course where I've done decently in the past and I love playing it. It's a special week to finish the year."

Warren tees off at 08:55.

Donaldson can hit the deck running

Like Warren, Jamie Donaldson will be thrilled to be back at the Earth Course after an absence.

In his case, it's been five long years.

The Welshman has some happy memories to draw upon though and between 2012-2014 he posted 9-8-12 at this venue.

He comes in full of confidence after finishing runner-up at last week's South African Open when he threw in a second-round 63.

Just a month earlier he opened the two Cyprus events with a 65 at the Open and a 66 at the Showdown. That placed him third and second respectively after round one.

The last time he held a first-round lead on the European Tour is also worth noting as it came in the UAE. That was thanks to a blistering 62 on the first day of the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic.

His Strokes Gained: Approach and SG: Putting numbers were excellent last week and hopefully he can keep the ball rolling.

The Former Ryder Cup star, a 66/1 shot for FRL, tees off at 08:05.

Jump in for Jamieson

My final pick is also from the first third of the draw.

Scott Jamieson had built some good momentum with three nice weeks in South Africa.

He was T20 at the Joburg Open, T6 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and T18 after 54 holes of the South African Open before running out of gas on Sunday.

Jamieson landed us the FRL cash in the middle of those after starting off with 66 and earlier in October he posted an opening lap of 64 in the Scottish Open.

He completes the glad-to-back-among-the-big-guns angle as this is the first time he's qualified for the season-ender since 2017.

The Scot fired a six-under third round that year while his two previous visits to the Earth Course resulted in T14 and T26.

Finishes of T8 and T11 in the last two editions of the Abu Dhabi Championship add in some useful desert form and a hot putter suggests there's a low one in his locker.

Jamieson, a 70/1 chance, is in the third group out at 07:35.

Dave's First Round Leader P/L

Staked: £1020
Returned: £500.35
P/L: -£519.65

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles