Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Tips: Each-way selections for the start of the Desert Swing

Rafa Cabrera-Bello has a fine record in the Gulf Swing
Rafa Cabrera-Bello has a fine record in the Gulf Swing

The first leg of the Desert Swings has brought together a world class field for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and with seven places on offer for each-way bettors the betting.betfair golf team are here to provide a quintet of selections...

"I've long felt this Gulf Swing was Rafa Cabrera-Bello's optimum spell of the season. His first win was as an outsider in the Dubai Desert Classic and he's been runner-up there since. In Abu Dhabi, he's twice finished top-seven among six top-25s."

*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 7 Places

Dave Tindall: Back Tyrrell Hatton @ 22/1

A happy Hatton makes for a profit-making Hatton and he's full of good cheer right now after helping Europe win the EurAsia Cup with a maximum three points. A back-to-back winner on the European Tour in October, the Englishman loves playing in the desert and his last five starts in the United Arab Emirates read 8-3-13-2-6. He's got a 10th and a 6th here and was the 54-hole leader 12 months ago before it went wrong on Sunday. Can start his year with a bang.

Paul Krishnamurty: Back Rafa Cabrella-Bello @ 33/1

After a couple of progressive seasons that have transformed his reputation on the world stage, Rafa Cabrera-Bello is fancied to send a strong early signal that there is even better to come in 2018. I've long felt this Gulf Swing was his optimum spell of the season. His first win was as an outsider in the Dubai Desert Classic and he's been runner-up there since. In Abu Dhabi, he's twice finished top-seven among six top-25s. Most of that form was earned before the significant recent improvement that yielded a Scottish Open victory and places at the Open, Players Championship, HSBC Champions Trophy and Hong Kong Open. The key was ultra-accurate iron play and that is precisely what is required here.

Steve Rawlings: Back Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1

None of the last six winners of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship had previously recorded a top-ten finish around the Abu Dhabi Golf Club and last year's winner, Tommy Fleetwood, had course form figures reading MC-MC-19-MC-MC so I'm not worried that Matthew Fitzpatrick's course form isn't great. He missed the cut on debut in 2015, finished 26th in 2016 and he again missed out on weekend employment 12 months ago, which given how well he plays in the desert is strange. He has a great bank of form, including a win, at the DP World Championship and he finished fifth at the Dubai Desert Classic last year. There's no reason at all why he can't improve dramatically on his past performances here and the 40/1 available is perfectly fair.

Joe Dyer: Back Ian Poulter @ 80/1

Common consensus suggests Ian Poulter is on the downgrade but it's Ryder Cup year and the old boy might just have one last hurrah in him. And his record in desert golf and high-class events like this certainly gives him a sniff of victory, with the Englishman beating strong fields in WGC events in the US and China to show his class over the years. Of course the last one of those came five years ago, but the industry best 80/1 is enough to justify an each-way wager. Poulter was runner-up in this event in 2010 and finished top 10 in the two runnings preceding that and has also finished with just one player ahead of him on two occasions at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The 42-year-old is not the longest though he never has been in truth and that is not the be-all and end-all in this event. More importantly, he is accurate with his irons and a very good operator on and around the greens when in the mood. Let's hope the old feels remain for another good week in the desert.

Mike Norman: Back Branden Grace @ 20/1

Although outsiders have won a number of recent renewals of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship I'd still much favour a fancied player to prosper; recent leaderboards have always been stacked with high quality players with the likes of DJ, Rose, McIlroy (three times), Stenson, Kaymer (twice), Pieters (twice) and Wiesberger all finishing in the top five within their last three appearances when highly fancied. Another player who I've failed to mention is my pick this week. Branden Grace finished top five here in both 2013 and 2016 and is a renowned desert golf performer having twice won the Qatar Masters in recent years. Grace finished second in his home Open last week - he was beaten by a great Chirs Paisley performance rather than throw it away himself - so we know he is in good form, and in what is usually a low-scoring event he can hole his fair share of putts to keep him bang in contention all week.

2018 Season P/L to date: -£115.00

- UBS Hong Kong Open, Paul Peterson @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)

* Total P/L for 2017 Season: -£336.17
* Total P/L for 2016 Season: +£267.58
* Total P/L for 2015 Season: +£958.37
* Total P/L for 2014 Season: +£251.75

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