The DP World Tour Championship is the final event of 2020 so can Steve bag a triple-figure priced winner and end the year in style?
“Paratore played in the final group in round four last week and he was matched at a low of 4.67/2 in-running. If he does so again here, he’ll provide some profit and he’s my idea of the best value among the outsiders.”
There's a couple of ways to look at this week's DP World Tour Championship. On the one hand, in 11 previous renewals, only two outsiders have gone on to win. On the other, two of the last four winners have gone off at a triple-figure price and in last year's renewal, we witnessed a 160.0159/1 chance, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, getting matched at 2.01/1 during round two!
The two big-priced recent winners were Matthew Fitzpatrick in 2016, who was matched at a high of 120.0119/1 before the off, and Danny Willett in 2018, whose price drifted to 180.0179/1.
My initial thoughts when looking at this event last week were that it might be hard to witness another big-priced winner so soon after those two. But with Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, both of whom are multiple event winners, both absent, and with the market betting 10.519/2 the field, we've arguably got one of the most open renewals ever and there's scope for a shock.
I was hoping that South Africa's Dean Burmester might be as big as 100.099/1 as he's in form and he loves the course, having finished fourth on both his two previous visits. The venue suits his monstrously long driving and I can see him going well. Unfortunately, he's not going to reach a triple-figure price. I'm not convinced he's a great price at 75.074/1, given he's not the most reliable, but he might be worth an each-way play in a weak looking Top South African market at 8/1 with the Sportsbook.
One of my two pre-event picks, Antoine Rozner, who's looking to win back-to-back events for the second time in his short career was another I thought may just reach a big enough price. As he's still trading at only 90.089/1, though, I'm going with just two here - Adri Arnaus and Renato Paratore.
Arnaus to relish desert test
I wasn't remotely surprised to see 26-year-old Spaniard Arnaus miss the cut at last week's Golf in Dubai Championship. Arnaus lives in Dubai but he's only played the course once before and he was always going to struggle to lift himself after a very disappointing three-over-par back-nine on Sunday at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek the week before, where he slipped to a tie for sixth having looked a likely winner at the turn.
As highlighted in the preview, length off the tee is a big advantage here and form at the Dubai Desert Classic correlates particularly well too so the fact that Arnaus averages over 300 yards off the tee, and was tied for third in the DDC in January, bodes well.
If his sixth at Leopard Creek was his only decent recent effort, it would hard to make a case for the local resident, but he was also fifth in the Italian Open four starts ago and his sole success to date was in the Challenge Tour Grand Final in the UAE. So he has winning form in the region too.
Arnaus was 28th on debut here 12 months ago but his game's in good order and I can see him bettering that considerably.
Put your faith in Paratore
There was a spell last week, from his 13th hole of round two to his third in round four, when Italy's Renato Paratore played a run of 26 holes in 15-under-par, without making a single bogey. Unfortunately, the Dubai resident played the other 46 holes in just three-under and that was thanks largely to a destructive implosion on Sunday that saw him drop six strokes in six holes from the par five fifth onwards.
He found his composure after that and birdied 12, 13, 15 and 16 but the damage was done at the fifth where he recorded a seven after a terrible drive.
The scoring was so low last week that Paratore would have known he was toast as soon as he hit the poor drive on five, so the fact that he played poorly for half-a-dozen holes draped in the disappointment of defeat is neither here nor there. It's certainly not something that concerns me.
If we concentrate on the positives, he's extremely long off the tee, he's clearly hit form (also seventh in the BMW PGA at Wentworth recently), he's shown an aptitude for desert golf, and he's already a winner this season having won the British Masters impressively from the front.
Paratore played in the final group in round four last week and he was matched at a low of 4.67/2 in-running. If he does so again here, he'll provide some profit and he's my idea of the best value among the outsiders.
Back Renato Paratore 1u @ 180.0179/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 8.07/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter
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Back Renato Paratore 1u @ 160.0159/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 8.07/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1