European Tour Form Guide: Quiros to continue fine desert play
Desert specialist Alvaro Quiros
"Thankfully though, desert specialist Alvaro Quiros is still on our radar having played well in two of the tournaments just before Christmas."
The European Tour moves to UAE this week where a world class field has been assembled, but Mike Norman's Form Guides points us firmly in the direction of a likeable desert specialist.
In just its second outing the Form Guide threw up its maiden winner last week, but then that was hardly surprising given that we were on a South African born golfer playing in his home country.
Apologies if I'm starting to sound like a broken record but if there is one note that you need to put in your golf betting manual then it has to be the one that reminds you to back South African players when the Race to Dubai returns to that part of the world in November.
Branden Grace - who was suggested at [32.0] as a player to watch - won his second European Tour title in as many weeks on Sunday after defeating compatriots Retief Goosen and Ernie Els in a three-man play-off. Grace's triumph means 10 of the last 11 tournaments to be played in South Africa have been won by a home player.
True, there's often a large contingent of South Africans participating in tournaments on home soil so finding the winner still doesn't come easy, but the stats show that we can virtually eliminate any non-South African player from the start.
Tournament Finishing Positions
(Tournaments used: Volvo Golf Champions, Joburg Open, Africa Open, Dubai World Championship, UBS Hong Kong Open, SA Open Championship)
Branden Grace (3)... 34.5
Retief Goosen (3)... 25
Louis Oosthuizen (3)... 22
Alvaro Quiros (2)... 15
Charl Schwartzel (2)... 15
Peter Hanson (2)... 15
Jaco Van Zyl (2)... 14
Ernie Els (1)... 13
Jamie Elson (1)... 12
Rory McIlroy (1)... 12
Hennie Otto (1)... 12
*number in brackets after a player's name is the number of top-10 finishes achieved in qualifying period
**players in bold are scheduled to participate in the next tournament on tour
This week's Form Guide comes with a definite note of caution attached to it. Because four of the last six tournaments on the European Tour have been staged in South Africa it's players from that country that comprise seven of the 11 'in-form' players listed. However, the Tour moves to the United Arab Emirates now and we are going to see some completely different assembled fields to what we have seen in recent weeks.
And there's one thing that we will never advise here, and that is not to back players who haven't played recently. After all, there is nothing to suggest they are not in form.
The purpose of this guide is simply to highlight the players who are in form, and the players to watch are an automatic choice based on who out of the above list is participating this week.
The Abu Dhabi Championship has a high-quality line-up with players like Rory McIlroy ([7.8]), Tiger Woods ([9.8]), Lee Westwood ([14.0]) and Luke Donald ([15.0]) all in attendance. Thankfully though, desert specialist Alvaro Quiros is still on our radar having played well in two of the tournaments just before Christmas, whilst Grace, Schwartzel, and Peter Hanson complete our quartet of players to follow.
Jaco Van Zyl... 16
Charl Schwartzel... 14.5
Retief Goosen... 12.5
Luke Donald... 12
David Drysdale... 12
Ernie Els... 12
Jamie Elson... 12
Gregory Havret... 12
Robert Karlsson... 12
Ockie Strydom... 12
Albeit in their own country, Jaco Van Zyl and Schwartzel have been two of the better weekend performers in recent weeks; Schwartzel's third round 68 in difficult conditions last Saturday was particularly impressive. Should either or both make the cut this weekend then a wager will be placed In-Play in either the Winner or Top Five Finish market depending on how far back they are.
Players to watch In-Play: Jaco Van Zyl, Charl Schwartzel
(Van Zyl available at [75.0] in Top 5 Finish and at [25.0] in Top 10 Finish at halfway stage; Schwartzel available at [17.0] in Winner market)
With such a terrific tournament in prospect, don't forget to check back later in the week to read The Punter's in depth preview of the event.
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