The Betfair golf team pull out a trio to follow in the battle to be first round leader at the Dubai Desert Classic
"In five appearances between 2009 and 2014, Rory finished as leader four times and the other event would have yielded a place payout."
*EW Terms: 1/4 Odds | 5 Places
Adam Baylis says: Back Bernd Wiesberger @ 40/1
The World number 41 is no stranger to going close in this event having finished fourth and ninth in two of his last four attempts. His 2015 effort saw him shoot a 64 on day one and he backed that up with a 68 the year after. The Austrian has been a consistent desert performer in recent years and his finishing position of T15 in the Abu Dhabi Championship last week showed that he's very much on song again in 2018 clocking in 67-68-69 before a tough round on Sunday. His late tee time on Thursday is a slight concern but he's going round with Ross Fisher who will be keen to make an early impression after going close last week and can hopefully spur our man on.
Joe Dyer says: Back Rory McIlroy @ 10/1
Sometimes you just have to keep it simple and I find it impossible to ignore the favourite in the market this week. Rory's comeback last week was hugely promising, finishing third at the Abu Dhabi Championship in his first competitive outing since October. If we accept that he is even somewhere near his best then the 10/1 on finishing top of the pile is hugely attractive. In five appearances between 2009 and 2014, Rory finished as leader four times and the other event would have yielded a place payout. A two-time winner of the event, his last two trips to Dubai have seen him end day one in sixth place, so his course form is head and shoulders above everyone else. You'll get a quarter the odds - 5/2 - if he places (finishes anywhere between second and fifth) and I genuinely think that is a decent investment.
Mike Norman says: Back Chris Wood @ 100/1
There's no doubt that injuries have halted Chris Wood's progress in recent seasons, and following back-to-back missed cuts to start this year it perhaps takes a leap of faith to expect him to perform well in Dubai this week, and more importantly, on day one. But that's why we are getting 100/1 about a proven winner and a world class golfer when at his best. The 30-year-old Bristolian has bags of excellent form on Links tracks, and I always prefer that form line when looking for players to perform well in the desert. But in addition to that Wood has won in this part of the world, claiming the Qatar Masters five years ago, and he has some excellent form at the Emirates Golf Club, finishing inside the top 30 in all of his last seven visits here which included a couple of fast starts. Crucially Wood has a morning tee-time which can often be a huge advantage with the desert winds usually picking up in the afternoon.
2018 Season P/L to date: -£15.00
*£5 e/w per bet