DP World Tour Championship: Three to play in the First Round Leader market
Dave Tindall looks at the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship and has three picks to make a fast start...
"Sullivan opened with a 66 to be first-round leader here in 2015, eventually finishing runner-up, while he was also in the top 10 after day one 12 months ago."
Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places
Weather forecast for Dubai: Surprise, surprise, it's going to be sunny. It'll be high 70s for the very early starters but hit the early 90s around midday. Winds are fairly mild early on but do pick up from about 3pm to 12-13mph.
Tee-times: We're back to two-balls for Thursday's opener so, unlike the last few weeks, there's a big gap (five hours) between the first group out (07.40 local) and the last (12.40).
Strategy: It's a little tough this week. The field go out in Race to Dubai order so the best players tee off last. That could be evened out by the later groups having to deal with some stronger winds towards the end of their rounds.
However, also note this quote from Ross Fisher: "You want to get off late as possible because first thing in the morning the ball doesn't fly that far and the par 5s you can't reach. Once you get to the middle of the morning or the afternoon, you can reach all the par 5s. That will be key." Those par 5s come at 2 (583 yards), 7 (572 yards), 14 (626 yards) and 18 (620 yards).
Perhaps the sweet spot could be around 10.30am. Temps have risen to the high 80s and players will get finished before the afternoon winds really kick in.
Side with Sullivan
Andy Sullivan heads out at 10.15 local which immediately puts him in the crosshairs.
And he looks an ideal candidate for this market.
Sullivan opened with a 66 to be first-round leader here in 2015, eventually finishing runner-up, while he was also in the top 10 after day one 12 months ago.
The Englishman has some strong history in the desert with three top sixes in the Dubai Desert Classic and we've seen him make some fast starts in recent events.
Last week, he was tied fifth after the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge while he ended the opening lap of both the European Masters and Open de France in second spot.
Back him at 40/1.
Wallace can sprint out early again
Matt Wallace's last eight opening rounds on the European Tour: 69-67-69-67-68-64-68-68.
That's helped him hold a piece of the lead after round one of October's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and British Masters, sit second after 18 holes at the Portugal Masters and finish the first round in tied fifth of last week's Nedbank Golf Challenge.Fast starts are his thing.
He also closed with a 67 to bank a top five in South Africa on Sunday so there's no sign of fatigue despite his busy end to the season.
It's Wallace's first look at the Earth Course but he's a quick learner, the course appears a good fit and he has a decent late-morning tee-time at 11.20.
Detry ready to go low early
Thomas Detry is a man in form after posting tied third at the Turkish Airlines Open and solo seventh in the Nedbank Golf Challenge over the last fortnight.
He had to overcome a slow start in South Africa but a Thursday 66 in Turkey put Detry in the top five after round one.
A R1 leader at his home Belgian Knockout in May, he also had a run of low first-rounders in August/September to finish day one in the top 10 three starts in succession.
Detry has shot some low scores in the desert - a Saturday 64 helping him to T9 in Abu Dhabi earlier this year - and I fancy him to shine on his course debut.
He heads out alongside Sullivan at 10.15 so hopefully the duo can spur each other on.
Dave's 2018 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)
(After the Nedbank Golf Challenge)