The Desert Swings moves to Doha Golf Club this week for the Qatar Masters which starts on Wednesday morning instead of the traditional Thursday start. The betting.betfair golf team provide their each-way picks...
"Marcel Siem's stats last week showed he was hitting it long and accurate, and was no slouch on the greens either. That sounds like a recipe for success in Qatar and the odds - 80-1 - look generous to me."
Dan Geraghty - Back Brooks Koepka @ 101.0100/1
They say insanity is doing the same thing time and time again expecting a different result. Well, call me insane then, as after last week's desperately disappointing performance I'm backing my American friend Brooks Koepka once more. Bear with me... on paper, this week promises to suit Koepka down to the ground and I'm willing to go in again. Steve 'The Punter' Rawling's makes a convincing case for backing messrs Alvaro Quiros and Tommy Fleetwood this week and I believe if you could create some kind of Frankenstein's monster combining the two you would come up with a huge hitting, links loving, streaky putter; Frankenstein Koepka.
Mike Norman - Back Stephen Gallacher @ 56.055/1
It's widely recognised that big hitters will have an advantage at Doha, so while Stephen Gallacher isn't the longest from the tee on the European Tour he's certainly no slouch either. In fact the Scot regularly averages over 300 yards and last week in Abu Dhabi he was sixth in the Driving Distance stats and third for Greens in Regulation. He finished eighth in that event suggesting he's in decent form, so the fact that he has a wonderful record in the Johnnie Walker Championship - which the Punter says is a big plus ahead of this week's test - then I've been tempted in.
Steve Rawlings - Back Alvaro Quiros @ 46.045/1
Alvaro Quiros' record in the Middle East is simply superb (three wins from 12 starts) and he plays Doha particularly well. He won here in 2009 and he's been runner-up twice subsequently, so there's no doubting his course credentials. Sceptics may point to the fact that he's still finding his feet following wrist surgery last year but he contended well at another of his favourite tracks, Oceânico Victoria, home of the Portugal Masters, last October and I can see him following his friend and compatriot, Pablo Larrazabal, into the winner's enclosure. He has an afternoon tee-time on Wednesday and that might be a big plus as he may well have been celebrating. Not just Pablo's victory though - Alvaro turns 30 on Tuesday.
Joe Dyer - Back Marcel Siem @ 81.080/1
An unexpectedly wonky back nine from Miguel Angel Jimenez crushed my each-way hopes last weekend but, undeterred, I will fight on with a player I've been waiting to back for a while. Marcel Siem suffered an indifferent campaign trying to mix it on both tours in 2013 but I'm willing to overlook that as an experiment that didn't quite work out. The German is a high-quality operator who knows how to win and is the right age to kick on and take his golf game up a level. His stats last week showed he was hitting it long and accurate, and was no slouch on the greens either. That sounds like a recipe for success in Qatar and the odds - 80-1 - look generous to me.
Paul Krishnamurty - Back Ricardo Gonzalez @ 126.0125/1
There's no substitute for positive course experience so, having repeatedly thrived at Doha, Ricardo Gonzalez looks overpriced at 125/1. Never known for consistency, the key to betting on this out and out bomber is finding the tracks that suit and Doha is famous on that score. Even when he's been showing nothing elsewhere, Gonzalez has fared well here, making eight of the last 11 top-20s, including four top-10s. Only two years ago, he bagged a top-five finish. Recent form is fair in comparison to before those past renewals, making eight of his last ten cuts but notably saving his best form for the most suitable tracks, for example finishing runner-up at Gleneagles and seventh in the Dunhill Links.
1. Dan Geraghty: +£37.50
2. Mike Norman: -£30.00
2. Joe Dyer: -£30.00
2. Steve Rawlings: -£30.00
2. Paul Krishnamurty: -£30.00