The European Tour's 2020 season concludes with the DP World Tour Championship this week and Matt Cooper has three-each way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...
"He has a history of making tough decisions which deliver the goods."
Main Bet: Robert MacIntyre each-way @ 20/1
Twelve months ago Scotsman Robert MacIntyre exited this event a little disappointed with his T14th finish in the tournament, but relieved to have done enough to confirm success in the Rookie of the Year contest that was, in truth, a week-long distraction.
What we didn't know then was that he had a growing pain in the wrist that he was hoping would react to a few swing changes, but which would prompt a reversal in form that lasted longer than expected.
But since the 24-year-old broke that spell with a fast-finishing 68-67-66-65 for third place at the Cyprus Open he's been back to his best and reminding us what a formidable talent he is.
Indeed, just a week later he made the final day Showdown on the same course and this time closed with a 64 for a first triumph at this level and decent golf has followed: tied sixth in the Alfred Dunhill Championship and T19th last week in the Golf in Dubai Championship.
As an immediate response to the first win it wasn't bad and I rather like that he'll be a little irritated that he couldn't break par in last Sunday's round - it could easily be fuel for the fire that prompts a tilt at a first big title.
His results in the Middle East have been strong for longer than we might initially realise because he had a brief venture to the MENA Tour in late 2017 which reaped a win and a third place in Kuwait and Jordan.
A year later he was sixth at the 2018 Challenge Tour's Grand Final at Al Hamra GC and then in early 2019 on the main tour he made the cut in all three of his starts in the region.
The year ended with that T14th on this course, tied eighth at Emirates followed and his missed cut in Saudi Arabia was a result of his wrist really beginning to play up.
Add in last week's top 20 and it makes for a very solid logbook.
It also shouldn't be overlooked that he has a history of making tough decisions which deliver the goods.
He chose the MENA Tour over an invite to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship because he believed it was superior preparation for Q School.
He then opted to turn pro ahead of that journey because he might as well try and profit from the journey.
A few events into his Challenge Tour season he was struggling with missed cuts and asked himself if he was good enough; he then changed a few things, hired a new caddie and it prompted graduation.
Late this summer he repeated that exercise and credited his new bagman Mike Thomson with helping the maiden win.
He's talented, smart, hungry, plays desert golf very well and can make a bold bid this week.
Next Best: Victor Perez each-way @ 40/1
In his only two Challenge Tour visits to the United Arab Emirates Frenchman Victor Perez dropped hints that he rather liked desert golf, landing tied seventh and second at Al Hamra in 2017 and 2018.
A few weeks later he made his debut in the country on the European Tour and made the cut in both the Abu Dhabi Championship and Dubai Desert Classic before he returned late in the year, now the winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, to claim T20th on his Earth Course debut.
That effort was preceded by more proof that the elegant resident of Scotland has a bit of class: fourth on his World Golf Championship debut in China and play-off defeat in the Turkish Airlines Open.
He then opened this season's campaign with three more near-misses in the Middle East: he closed with a 63 to finished second in Abu Dhabi, headed into the final round at Emirates GC just one shot back of the lead (before finishing T16th) and then led the Saudi International at halfway (he finished T38th).
His results tailed off after that, but he bounced back with a solid T22nd on his PGA Championship debut, T14th at "home" in Scotland and then a mightily impressive solo second in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
That final effort intrigues me because this may be nothing more than coincidence, but Danny Willett and Jon Rahm finished one-two at Wentworth in 2019, Tyrrell Hatton won there this year, Andy Sullivan was tied third, Ian Poulter fifth, Matt Fitzpatrick seventh, and Patrick Reed was fourth and third in the two events - every single one of them has finished top two on the Earth Course.
Coincidence or not, I quite like the chances of Perez joining that little gang.
Final Bet: Tom Lewis each-way @ 40/1
Last week's trio of selections were trimmed to a pair when Tom Lewis tested positive for Covid and then had the frustration of following it up with a series of negative results.
Good news for his health, but an irritation having made the effort to travel from the States.
In one sense, however, Lewis was well-prepared for such niggles because back when his career found itself stuck in the doldrums he went through a spell of being the first reserve at tournaments and not getting the call to the first tee.
His mate Eddie Pepperell highlighted the vexing problem - and he did so again last week regarding the test results.
Lewis kept his patience with the first reserve difficulties and he's in the perfect spot to do so again this time around because his only starts in this event have reaped seventh in 2018 and sixth last year - indeed, he's never ended a round in a worse spot than T13th.
I wrote last week that a return to the European Tour after his difficulties on the PGA Tour in the second half of 2020 might work as a restorative and that he'd have to be encouraged that since he rediscovered his career mojo he's secured five top tens in eight starts in the Middle East.
I see no reason why that should have changed so am happy to keep the chips down on the 29-year-old Englishman.
Matt Cooper Season P/L