Matt Wallace likes breezy desert golf
Mike Lorenzo Vera has excellent course form
Adri Arnaus has a strong record in the Middle East
There is something a little unusual about this week, and something very familiar too.
The former element regards the fact that this is the last regular event of the season and yet the DP World Tour is not on the Atlantic Coast at the Portugal Masters which, in recent years, has become the common spot to cross the Ts and dot the Is at the end of every season.
What, then, of the recognisable element of this week? We're back at Doha Golf Club for the Qatar Masters, albeit at a time of year the circuit has never previously ventured to that country (every other visit was in the first three months of the year).
It's a track that punters have always enjoyed and one reason is that the Pete Harradine design, although plumb in the middle of the desert, has often suited high quality links performers.
Open champions Paul Lawrie, Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson have won at Doha. Adam Scott, Thomas Bjorn, Chris Wood and Sergio Garcia, all of them Claret Jug nearly-men, have also won there. So, too, has one-time Amateur champion (at Open-hosting Muirfield) Rolf Muntz and the Open's low 18-hole record holder Branden Grace.
I once asked Lawrie, who has won the tournament on two occasions, about this relationship and he said: "It does play like a links course in that you have to be in control of your ball flight and sometimes run shots into greens instead of flying it all the way."
It's an element that Steve Rawlings is keen on, too, and in his preview he notes yet more "links links" among quality Doha performers.
I wonder if there is not another avenue worth pursuing this week? One centred on the Earth Course at Jumeirah.
Because Robert Karlsson was a winner both there and at Doha. So, too, were Alvaro Quiros and Henrik Stenson. Lawrie was a runner-up on the Earth Course, Grace third, Scott played there only once and was seventh and Garcia has five top 10s.
Bjorn, Wood and Pepperell have really quite poor records on the Earth Course so let's not get too carried away, but it's something to keep in mind.
And beyond the trophy this week, what else is at stake? Currently, 17th in the rankings is good for one of the 10 PGA Tour cards up for grabs for players not already exempt across the Atlantic and the top 116 will retain full playing rights for 2024 this side of the pond.
There's lots to like about England's Matt Wallace on this test. Let's start with his links log book which lacks a win but is not without high points.
Back in 2019 he was second at Hillside when looking like the winner for much of the week, he's also been second at Fairmont St Andrews and was sixth in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last month.
Also, his trophy cabinet proves he can play in other blustery spots. In fact, both his first win on the DP World Tour, in the Open de Portugal at Morgado, and his debut win on the PGA Tour in this year's Corales Championship came at breezy seaside locations.
He was a two-time winner on desert courses on the third tier and has maintained that fondness for this type of golf with second place at Emirates, Jumeirah's Fire Course but also on the Earth Course.
And in his only previous appearance on the course he was T19th back in 2018 (when not in the greatest of form but the result gave him confidence and he won the first of three titles that year in his very next start).
The last time he was up against this kind of field, on this kind of test, he was second in the Czech Masters and he can contend again.
The charismatic Frenchman Mike Lorenzo Vera is, in theory, still under threat of his card being snatched from his fingers this week.
He's 42 points above the cut off point in 111th but he's going to need five players to finish top 25 this week to ruin his Sunday dinner.
And this week's location should prove a boon, too, because he's made his last five cuts at Doha, a record that includes fourth (one shot outside a play-off) in 2017, T10th in 2018 and second in 2019.
He's also got a fine record at Jumeirah, finishing T13th on debut in 2017 and third in 2019 (when the halfway leader).
He's never entirely convinced on linksland but blustery definitely works for him.
He won the Challenge Tour Grand Final at San Domenico and the closest he has come to winning on the DP World Tour was when he was denied in extra holes at Verdura in the Sicilian Open.
He was ninth at the Open de Espana two weeks ago and a second round 65 last week got him into the weekend and with it probably guaranteed the card.
He can absolutely secure it this week and quite possibly in fine style.
The column backed Adri Arnaus two weeks ago in Madrid off both his good form there and the feeling that he's finding his form again.
That didn't work out but a third round 65 last week on his way to T19th was another reminder that he's playing himself out of the doldrums and he really does fit the bill nicely here.
Because he was T14th on course debut in 2019 when a Thursday 67 saw him share the first round lead and that's all part of a very fine record in the Middle East.
He won there on the Challenge Tour, has three top 15 at Emirates, two top 20s at Abu Dhabi, a third at Royal Greens and he has really taken to the Earth Course.
He was one shot back of the 54-hole lead when T10th in 2020, ninth 12 months later and ninth again in 2022.
There's enough there for a fellow with an excellent A game and a nice price this week.
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