The team broke even last week thanks to Mike's wager Jorge Campillo finishing in the places at the Oman Open, and we remain in the desert for this week's quintet of selections as we look forward to the Qatar Masters...
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Thomas Detry @ 30/1
The Belgian showcased his talents in the desert with T9 in Abu Dhabi followed by T22 in Dubai. He's kept ticking over with a top 25 in Malaysia and T31 in Oman last week where he ranked second for Scrambling (a likely key stat this week). Detry had a first look at Doha GC last season and again emerged with credit, shooting 67-74-70-69. A winter training camp with Thomas Pieters and Nicolas Colsaerts is clearly having a good effect and a first European Tour win doesn't look far away. It could well come in this particularly modest field.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back George Coetzee @ 25/1
Given a notably weak field by Qatar Masters standards, those with course form credentials in much stronger renewals warrant the utmost respect. George Coetzee - whose Doha record between 2013 and 2016 reads 2//5/12/7 - is precisely such a case in point. The South African's powerful if sometimes erratic game is absolutely perfect for this wide-open layout and, if in anything vaguely close to his best form, he will surely contend again. There was much to like about Coetzee's warm-up too - finishing 67/66/66 in the Dimension Data to finish 13th, despite a disastrous opening round 78.
Steve Rawlings: Back Marc Warren @ 100/1
It's not often I back a player that shot 80 the previous week and 81 the week before that but that's precisely what I'm doing in the Qatar Masters with Marc Warren. The Scott has a habit of downing tools and playing some pretty rubbish golf at times but he's also more than capable of bouncing back - especially when conditions suit. Warren finished second in this event three years ago and that's no surprise given he's such a good fit. As detailed in the preview, links form counts for plenty at Doha and the two courses that correlate best with this week's venue are Gleneagles and Oceânico Victoria. Warren has lots of solid links form, he's won at Gleneagles and he finished second in the Portugal Masters at Oceânico Victoria in September.
Joe Dyer: Back Robert Rock @ 70/1
Robert Rock certainly needed a few weeks to get into the swing of things in 2018 - his seventh place last time out came on the back of three missed cuts, and by a fair few strokes too. But conditions should be very similar to Oman in Qatar and there's little reason to doubt this two-time European Tour winner's capacity to go close again. Rock has some encouraging form on the course, his best finish being a 20th place in 2016, which he can hopefully improve upon. The 40-year-old has a habit of playing well in patches, cuts made and missed seem to be in bunches, and his best results last year came on links courses (fourth at the Alfred Dunhill being the most notable). As Steve Rawlings says in his preview good play in that form of golf is a benefit on this windy track, so this 70/1 shot is certainly not without a hope.
Mike Norman: Back Paul Lawrie @ 150/1
As Paul alludes to, in a weak renewal of the Qatar Masters, and with very few players coming into this week's event in blistering form, then taking a chance of someone who has performed well here previously could pay dividends. My man then is 2012 winner Paul Lawrie who not only has that win in Doha to his name but he also finished 13th and 11th here in 2016 and 2014 respectively. The 1999 Open Champion is no back number by any means, in fact he won on the Sunshine Tour this time 12 months ago. Admittedly it takes a big leap of faith to expect the 49-year-old to win this week but if the wind blows then there are few players in the field who will be more patient and able to grind out a score than links golf expert Lawrie.
2018 Season P/L to date: +£150.00
- Oman Open, Jorge Campillo @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Maybank Championship, Shubhankar Sharma @ 60/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Dubai Desert Classic, Alex Levy @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- 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
£5 E/W Per Bet