Each-Way Betting

Dubai Invitational Each-Way Tip: Ferguson can get off to a flier

Golfer Ewen Ferguson
Scot Ewen Ferguson is at home in Dubai.

The DP World Tour starts the year in the Middle East with this week's Dubai Invitational at the Dubai Creek Resort. Rory McIlroy is the hot favourite but Matt Cooper looks elsewhere for his three selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying six places...

  • Dubai-based Ewen Ferguson all set for 2024

  • Adri Arnaus loves playing in the UAE

  • Todd Clements has good course form


True story. In 2011 the Ladies European Tour held its one and only Fantasy Golf competition and I won it.

The prize was an all-expenses paid week in Dubai for two, including hospitality tickets at the Dubai Ladies Masters.

It was a marvellous week, one in which we observed Chris Waddle keenly supporting Laura Davies from behind the ropes (his refreshment carried in a supermarket carrier bag) and wanted for pretty much nothing (we even had £1,000 in spending money which, when I collected it from the sponsor's office, was handed to me in a brown paper bag, a bizarre detail that has delighted me ever since).

Oh, and we had a tee time at the Dubai Creek Resort which was then a past host of the Dubai Desert Classic and which this week returns to the schedule for a new tournament.

It was a funny day. I had a bad back, my partner wasn't really a golfer and we played with two Finnish fellows who had emerged from a harsh winter in Helsinki like a couple of little voles, blinking in the sun and slapping sun cream in all directions.

The course itself is very flat with half the holes featuring water hazards and the creek itself is in play off the tee at 17 and 18 with the two holes playing alongside it and often with a tricky crosswind.

Blustery breezes can be a factor but the forecast suggests the field will get a placid time of it so it's entirely possible that the scores will be low. Golfers who aren't afraid of drives and approaches defined by water will be at an advantage.

The two Dubai Desert Classics that the course hosted were won by David Howell and Jose Coceres, while Paul McGinley took a shine to the track finishing third in 1999 and second in 2000.

There's every reason to expect a solid performance from the players at the top of the market.

Since the start of 2009 favourite Rory McIlroy is a five-time winner in Dubai and has 21 top 11 finishes from 23 starts.

Tommy Fleetwood and Adrian Meronk are both multiple DP World Tour winners who reside in Dubai while the test looks like one the Hojgaard twins could easily gobble up.


Main Bet: Ewen Ferguson 1pt each-way @ 40/1

It's not just the power at the head of the market that presents a problem for the column's quest for each way value and options.

In the next rung or two down Jordan Smith's consistency and quality cannot be denied but he struggles to turn it into wins against weaker fields, while Sebastian Soderberg and Thriston Lawrence are column favourites who have provided good returns but notably when starting at bigger prices against lesser opposition.

The one name in that range who does appeal, however, is the Scotsman Ewen Ferguson.

At first glance the 27-year-old had a flat end to 2023, going MC-WD in South Africa but on both occasions he was suffering from migraines so I prefer to be reminded of his performance in the DP World Tour Championship which preceded it when he was ninth (and headed into the final round just three blows back of the lead).

He'd told The Scotsman (correspondent Martin Dempster is always an excellent source of player info) ahead of that week that he was excited about his chances because he is now, like Fleetwood and Meronk, a Dubai resident.

He was a two-time winner on the circuit in 2022 (including in the Middle East) and last year added consistency with 12 top 20s (five of them in a row before the migraines).

With a flat test and lots of water I also like that he was the 54-hole leader at Le Golf National last year and also fourth at The Belfry.

Back Ewen Ferguson each-way @ 40/141.00

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Next Best: Adri Arnaus 1pt each-way @ 125/1

If the Spaniard has been able to turn off and on, or hit control, alt and delete, over the short break then he could be a big price this week.

After a sparkling run before and after New Year 2022, which concluded with a first DP World Tour victory, he went off the boil a little but played nicely at the start of last year in this part of the world.

He then lurched through the summer before showing a few signs of recovery before Christmas.

Adri Arnaus.jpg

Those nice results in the UAE 12 months ago are part of a trend because he's always enjoyed playing golf there.

He won at Al Hamra on the Challenge Tour and has twice finished top 10 at the resort on the main circuit.

He's also got three top 15s at Emirates (including third in 2020), three top 10s at the Earth Course in Jumeirah and he has top 20s at Abu Dhabi and Yas Links.

Back Adri Arnaus @ 125/1126.00

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Final Bet: Todd Clements 1pt each-way @ 300/1

We'll close with a big ask but a big price (note the reduced stake).

Englishman Todd Clements was a popular winner of the Czech Masters at Albatross last summer, a victory secured with a superb closing round of 63.

It was his only top 20 of the campaign but he made the cut in his two visits to the Middle East and he ought to be confident that he can build on that this year for a couple of reasons.

The first is that he spent his early pro years on the MENA Tour, racking up plenty of top 10s in the process.

But more specifically he has good memories of this week's course.

He made his first start in a pro event there in 2016 and was second in the 2017 Dubai Creek Open.

Back Todd Clements @ 300/1301.00

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Now read Steve Rawlings on the Dubai Invitational.


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