Abu Dhabi Championship Tips: Five each-way bets for the first leg of the Desert Swing

If Casey gets the putter working he will be very dangerous

The BB golf team hit place money in Durban last week with Tommy Fleetwood doing the business for Dan Geraghty and we stay on the European Tour for this week's selection with a plethora of top stars lining up at the Abu Dhabi Championship

"Harrington always fares well on this track, twice earning a top-five place and even making the top-25 when badly out of sorts 12 months ago."

Paul Krishnamurty: Back Padraig Harrington @ 67.066/1


Dan Geraghty: Back Brooks Koepka @ 81.080/1

Following his breakthrough 2013, I was slightly surprised to see Brooks Koepka available at such a big price this week. Sure, he didn't win on the European Tour but the well-travelled American claimed three quick victories on the Challenge Tour and performed with great credit alongside the established names towards the end of the year. Koepka then took up a sponsor's invite in America and finished third at the Frys.com Open in October. The long Abu Dhabi course won't bother this gym rat one bit, the American led the European Tour for driving distance in 2013. I don't think fancy prices about the young star will be here for much longer.


Mike Norman: Back Paul Casey @ 41.040/1

It can sometimes be demoralising - not least for us punters - for a golfer to play so well from tee to green only for their chances to evaporate with a stone cold putter - just ask Lee Westwood! That's exactly what happened to Paul Casey both last week in Durban and last year in this tournament. Casey ranked third for Driving Accuracy last week and second for Greens in Regulation, yet he finished down the field thanks to a poor putting display. In last year's renewal of this event he ranked second for GIR but 68th for putting, so on both current form and course form he ticks the boxes with his general play - let's just hope his putter warms up on a course where finding greens in the right number is a huge advantage.


Joe Dyer: Back Miguel Angel Jimenez @ 67.066/1

Perhaps it's his (undeserved) reputation as one of the tour's shortest hitters, the sheer weight of top names lining up at Abu Dhabi or the fact that he turned 50 on Monday but Miguel Angel Jimenez is perhaps not getting the respect he deserves in the betting this week. My favourite golfer is a serial winner who has landed 14 titles since turning 40, the most recent of which came in Hong Kong only last month, and has already stated his ambition to make the 2014 Ryder Cup team. Hardly the signs of a golfer preparing for the Champions Tour, right? While no Alvaro Quiroz, the stats actually show that Jimenez has got longer off the tee as the years have advanced and the rest of his game remains extremely high-class in all departments including Greens in Regulation, which will be all-important this week. Jimenez has finished runner-up in Abu Dhabi before so we know he enjoys the course. Let's hope he celebrates his birthday week by doing what he likes best - winning. 


Steve Rawlings: Back Branden Grace @ 29.028/1

After an incredible 2012, Branden Grace's 2013 was decidedly ordinary. He ran Phil Mickelson mighty close at the Scottish Open, before losing in a playoff, and he got to the semi-finals of the Volvo World Matchplay but other than those two efforts, his only other top-five performance was in this event, even though his stats were poor. Nobody putted better than Branden but he ranked just 69th for driving accuracy and a lowly 52nd for the key stat, greens in regulation, so to be beaten by just four strokes in fifth was a fantastic effort. He ranked sixth and seventh for greens hit in his last two starts (sixth in the Nelson Mandela and second on Sunday in Durban) so he's arguably in better shape than he was 12 months ago.


Paul Krishnamurty: Back Padraig Harrington @ 67.066/1

Based on the age-old maxim that form is temporary, class permanent, Padraig Harrington is a tasty price to build upon last week's much improved effort. The three-times Major champion's fast finishing fifth place in Durban was his best effort in ages and must bode well for this week's very suitable test. Harrington always fares well on this track, twice earning a top-five place and even making the top-25 when badly out of sorts 12 months ago. His very best days may be behind him, but let's not forget that it's less than two years since he last challenged in the US Masters and US Open. When on song, he remains a contender at the highest level.


2014 Proft/Loss

1. Dan Geraghty: +£47.50
2. Mike Norman: -£20.00
2. Joe Dyer: -£20.00
2. Steve Rawlings: -£20.00
2. Paul Krishnamurty: -£20.00

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