Close but no cigar last week when 50/1 chance Sean Crocker lost his quarter-final, but back to a traditional strokeplay event the Betfair golf team are confident of banking more profit at the first ever staging of the Oman Open...
"Whereas on almost every start to date at this level, Pavon has been a course debutant, Oman offers an advantage over most of the field, having already finished third here on the Challenge Tour in 2016."
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Alexander Bjork @ 40/1
It's been a bit feast or famine for Alexander Bjork in recent events but second place in Hong Kong and a top six in Dubai show his obvious class. He'll surely win this year after an excellent rookie campaign and, in a modest field, this looks a great chance for the Swede. He's played the course three times at Challenge Tour level and improved his finish each time - 53-24-7. His top 10 in 2016 included a second-round 63 and adds to the evidence that he's a strong player in desert conditions.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Matthieu Pavon @ 40/1
After a series of eyecatching performances during his rookie season, Matthieu Pavon is very much one of my players to follow on the European Tour during 2018. Only Rose, Fleetwood and Dubuisson ranked higher for ball striking over the past 12 months - the mark of a class act - and four consecutive top-20 finishes to close out 2017 implied this 25 year-old Frenchman is progressing at a rate of knots. Given that he's invariably been available at triple-figures, I did baulk at this week's shortened odds but they reflect an important fact. Whereas on almost every start to date at this level, Pavon has been a course debutant, Oman offers an advantage over most of the field, having already finished third here on the Challenge Tour in 2016.
Steve Rawlings: Back Jeunghun Wang @ 30/1
All three of Jeunghun Wang's European Tour victories have come at coastal, wind-affected venues and while the breeze isn't forecasted to rise this week, the exposed, flat, links style Al Mouj Golf Course in Oman looks right up his alley. The young Korean put in a poor effort on terrible greens in Malaysia last time out but he was in great order in the desert before that and I fancy he can warm up for next week's title defence in Qatar with a stellar performance here. In what isn't the strongest event you'll ever come across, 30/1 is a decent price for someone with three wins in his last 52 starts.
Joe Dyer: Back Chris Hanson @ 80/1
Being diplomatic let's just say we've seen better fields in European Tour events, but there will be one man holding the silverware come Sunday and I will take a stab at Chris Hanson being the one with a big smile on his face and a large cheque for his bank account. The Englishman put up an eye-catching sixth place finish at the Dubai Desert Classic a few weeks ago which is a nice bit of form against this field and, perhaps more importantly, back in the Middle East. Hanson can also point to a top 20 at the Qatar Masters and a 23rd in 2017's Abu Dhabi Championship to show he can play the desert golf game. A contemporary of Chris Paisley, hopefully my man can take inspiration from the Geordie golfer's fine form in 2018 and employ his long, accurate game to go close on a venue where he finished 12th in a Challenge Tour event in 2014.
Mike Norman: Back Jorge Campillo @ 40/1
While Shubhankar Sharma's price to win this week - 18/1 - is upwards of three times less than it was when he won the Maybank Championship a fortnight ago, the runner-up that week, Jorge Campillo, is still the 40/1 shot that he was in Malaysia. The 31-year-old Spaniad rose to a career high 112 in the world rankings after that runner-up finish, and that excellent performance followed top-15 finishes in both the SA Open and the Abu Dhabi Championship meaning Campillo goes into this week's inaugural Oman Open as one of the most in-form players. The venue isn't such an unknown given it has staged many Challenge Tour events, but rather than sift through the form of those tournaments I'd much prefer to keep an in-form player on side this week who is clealry playing the best golf of his life.
2018 Season P/L to date: +£155.00
- 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