The European Tour comes to a close and so does another year for the Betting.Betfair each-way column. After three years of positive P&L it'll be a tall order for us to finish in profit, but we are banking on the following five to do us a turn in this week's desert duel...
"Last Sunday's scintillating performance in South Africa has persuaded me he's ready to go to the well one more time - at this week's season finale; he was 30th in this event on debut last year and can put that experience to good use."
Dan Geraghty: Back Hao Tong Li @ 55/1
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Hao Tong Li's results since his wonderful third place finish at the Open Championship have suggested he's ready for a break after a gruelling season. His performance at the recent WGC in China was particularly disappointing. However, last Sunday's scintillating performance in South Africa has persuaded me he's ready to go to the well one more time - at this week's season finale; he was 30th in this event on debut last year and can put that experience to good use.
Ideally this week, we want a big-hitting, par-five specialist who putts well on fast greens and thrives in high-class desert events. Naturally, that favours numerous market leaders but, rather than choose between their various unarguable claims, I'm looking for some value at bigger-prices. George Coetzee ticks every one of those boxes and probably owes his 66/1 quote to only managing mid-division results on five previous visits. However top-30 finishes are no disgrace in an elite event like this and George has never been renowned for his consistency. For me, he's always been capable of significant improvement, which may arrive now in his early-30s. His game certainly looked in excellent shape during the late summer and autumn.
I've backed the big-hitting Belgian, Thomas Pieters, in this event in each of the last two years and if the truth be told, he's been a bit disappointing. He struggled to get to grips with the par five finishing hole on debut, bogeying it in the first two rounds before recording an eight there in round three but he still managed to finish tied for 22nd. He put in a mystifyingly lacklustre display 12 months ago when finishing down the field in 40th but this course really ought to suit him perfectly and I'm happy to chance him once more at a juicy price after his promising performance last time out in Turkey.
Although he hasn't been in great form of late there's a lot to recommend Ryan Fox this week on his Earth Course debut. Being a lengthy course with generous fairways, long hitters have virtually dominated this event down the years and no player on the European Tour has hit it further than the man from New Zealand this year as he currently tops the Driving Distance stats. I'm not too concerned about this being his course debut either as Fox played all three desert events at the start of the year and made the cut in all three, and in the summer he recorded top five finishes at both the Irish and Scottish Opens. So given I feel links form correlates well here, I'm happy to take the huge odds on offer about Fox going well in this week's season finale.
I'd have loved to play a long odds shot this week in an attempt to get the column back in to profit, but I just can't find a viable selection away from those chosen by the rest of the team and so I will play at the top of the market. I think we are set up for a desert duel between the best and when it comes to golf in these conditions few are better than Rafa Cabrera-Bello. A winner and runner-up at the Dubai Desert Classic, he also has four top-10s in Qatar and two in Abu Dhabi in the early season Desert Swing. His best finish at the DP World Tour Championship is ninth, but last week's aberration in South Africa aside, he arrives in good nick with a stunning run across three events in the Far East with a pair of top 10s and an 11th. This tournament is stacked with talent but Rafa's chance is as good as any and with the Race to Dubai pressure off I fancy his chances of going close.
2017 Season P/L to date: -£286.17
- WGC HSBC Champions, Rafa Cabrera-Bello @ 50/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Italia Open, Kiradech Aphibarnrat @ 66/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Alfred Dunhill Links, Robert Rock @ 200/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- British Masters, Graeme Storm @ 100/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- British Masters, Shane Lowry @ 28/1 - PLACE (Adam)
- KLM Open, Eddie Pepperell @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Czech Masters, Eddie Pepperell @ 50/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Made In Denmark, Chris Paisley @ 110/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- European Open, Zander Lombard @ 150/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- The Open, Brooks Koepka @ 25/1 - PLACE (Dan)
- The Open, Marc Leishman @ 55/1 - PLACE (Andy O'Rourke)
- Scottish Open, Anthony Wall @ 200/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- US Open, Brooks Koepka @ 40/1 - WIN (Dave Tindall)
- Lyoness Open, Dylan Frittelli @ 40/1 - WIN (Paul)
- Lyoness Open, Mikko Korhonen @ 50/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Nordea Masters, Chris Wood @ 33/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Nordea Masters, Thorbjorn Olesen @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Open de Portugal, Mark Foster @ 50/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Golf Sixes, Denmark @ 10/1 - WIN (Dan)
- Golf Sixes, Scotland @ 12/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Volvo China Open, Dylan Frittelli @ 35/1 PLACE (Paul)
- Masters, Paul Casey @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Hero Indian Open, Carlos Pigem @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Tshwane Open, Dean Burmester @ 16/1 - WIN (Paul)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Martin Kaymer @ 30/1 PLACE (Steve)
- Alfred Dunhill Championship, Thomas Detry @ 66/1 - PLACE (Dan)
- Alfred Dunhill Championship, Richard Sterne @ 22/1 - PLACE (Paul)
* 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