Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Each-Way Tips: Still George's Qatar record gently reaps

George Coetzee
Coetzee boasts a superb record in Qatar.

The European Tour's Commerical Bank Qatar Masters returns to Education City this week and Matt Cooper has three each-way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...

"In nine tournament starts he has missed just the one cut and would have earned a place payout on no less than six occasions."

Back George Coetzee E/W @ 25.025/1

Main Bet: George Coetzee each-way @ 25/1

When this tournament moved to Education City last year plenty of punters were a little peeved.

Down the years, its original home, Doha Golf Club, had proved to be a venue where it usually paid to support quality linksland performers - and also where more than a few useful hints were dropped about that year's Open contenders and even winners.

South Africa's George Coetzee never really fitted into either of those categories, but he was a confirmed Doha specialist so he must have been a little frustrated himself by the re-location and yet, when it came to it, he plodded along as he always has in Qatar.

In fact, in nine tournament starts he has missed just the one cut and would have earned a place payout on no less than six occasions.

The last of those came last year when he finished tied seventh at the new venue and the rock-solid element of his game that had fuelled the long-term success was not unduly affected by the change.

He'd always recorded good putting and scrambling stats at Doha - and he duly repeated them at Education City.

Later in 2020, he landed second and first places on the Sunshine Tour ahead of returning to another favoured country to win the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro and then finish third in the Open de Portugal a week later.

If we've ticked off location form, course form, and winning form, what about current form?

Well, almost everyone in the field, by necessity, is a little rusty, but what we saw of Coetzee in January and February was promising.

His T11th in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship was not only a very decent effort, but the first cut he had made there in four attempts plus a first top 30 since 2014 (and he's been back every year).

Two weeks later he finished T10th in the Saudi International, spent most of the week in the top ten, and it was a big improvement on a missed cut in his only other visit.

That's decent form and Coetzee definitely seems to have sweet spots: he delivers more often than not in Morocco, ditto in Portugal, and he can do so yet again in Qatar.

Next Best: Alexander Levy each-way @ 66/1

Back in the spring of 2018 life was good for Alexander Levy.

He'd just won the Trophee Hassan II, his third win in his last 37 starts, and a fifth win on the European Tour.

He smiled a lot, he had an apparently carefree attitude and he attacked every course with an abandon that made him a favourite with the galleries.

Alas, as is so often the lot of golfers, the reality was far from being so straightforward.

Paris was about to host the Ryder Cup and Levy's smile became more than a little forced if he was ever asked about qualifying for it.

And behind the happy-go-lucky demeanour was a nagging truth: he wanted more.

The wins were one thing, but he wanted to contend in majors and rise the world rankings.

So he started to make changes to his swing and rebuilt his putting stroke.

That, and the pressure of the looming Ryder Cup, prompted a downturn in form and it was only towards the end of last year that he began to turn it around.

The first good sign was just a third sub-70 score (in 20 rounds) at Wentworth in September and the second was a very rare top 20 on the links in the Scottish Championship.

Then, during his tied seventh at the Cyprus Showdown, he got back into contention, reminding us of his exuberance and willingness to attack a course in search of another W.

He added tied sixth at Leopard Creek later in November and was tied ninth in the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year.

These are good signs that a fellow who knows how to win is on the way back and I like that the first top ten came in Cyprus on a course where last year's winner at Education City, Jorge Campillo, and the man he beat in a play-off, David Drysdale, both contended.

It's also true that, like any golfer at this level, Levy can play very good golf on any venue when in-form, but the majority of his best performances come on modern, resort-style designs and he can produce that again this week.

Pablo Larrazabal Qatar Masters.jpg

Final Bet: Pablo Larrazabal each-way @ 90/1

The great Jose Maria Olazabal designed this week's course and is there a clue in results at another of his creations, Real Club Sevilla?

Defending champion Campillo was fifth there in 2012; David Drysdale has finished second at both; Alejandro Canizares, who's finished second and third in Sevilla, made his last top 30 in Education City; and James Morrison lost a play-off in Spain and flew home on a wet-sail last year when only three men bested his total over the last 54 holes.

It's a line of thinking that leads to two names.

The first is Soren Kjeldsen, who finished first and second on the Spanish course and was in contention on his last start in Saudi Arabia, but it was only a third top seven finish for him in nearly four and a half years.

So instead I'm tempted by Spain's Pablo Larrazabal - and not just because he rhymes with the architect.

A bit like Levy, the 37-year-old can also be a little scrappy, but he also owns five European Tour wins.

He was second at Sevilla in 2012 and proved he liked Education City when carding a 67 and a 63 on his way to tied seventh last year.

He hasn't made the top ten since then, but he's made a lot of cuts over the last year and in doing so in his last two appearances his stats offer hope for both the long and the short game.

In the Dubai Desert Classic he ranked fourth for Strokes Gained Putting and in the Saudi International he was ninth for Strokes Gained Approach.

MATT'S 2021 P/L
Staked: 18pts
Returned: 0pts
P/L: -18pts

2020 P/L: -32pts

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