Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Tips: Four big guns to back from the first day three-balls

Rory McIlroy has been top five on four occasions - can he win his big name day one three-ball?

Dan Geraghty is attracted to a quartet of Ryder Cup stars at the Abu Dhabi Championship in this week's three-ball betting column...

"There's no doubt in my mind that Paul Casey should at least be favourite for his three-ball with Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez."

Back Paul Casey @ 2.6813/8 

Surely Martin Kaymer's phenomenal record at Abu Dhabi golf course (6/cut/1/1/2/1/cut) merits favouritism in his day one three-ball with Sergio Garica and Matteo Manassero? Garcia's record is none-too-shabby and the Spaniard won last time out at the Thailand Golf Championship in December, but for me Kaymer is undoubtedly the man to beat. Among ordinary company, Manassero's course form would stand up to scrutiny, the Italian has made the cut here on all four attempts. However, his scoring average falls well below the standard his illustrious playing partners have set.

Another man that tasted victory last time out is Rory McIlroy, who comes into this week casting a very different shadow to the man who missed the cut in 2013. McIlroy has outstanding course form here - the young man has been in the top five on no fewer than four occasions and has spoken recently of his love for the course, in particular the par 5s. Three-ball second favourite Phil Mickelson is making his tournament debut and might take a while to adapt. Last year's victor Jamie Donaldson could provide the bigger challenge to McIlroy for day one honours.

Paul Lawrie looks a big price to outscore three-ball rivals Thongchai Jaidee and Robert Karlsson. Lawrie had a 2013 to forget but spent some time practicing with his family in Dubai over Christmas and appears ready to come out fighting in 2014. All three players have a similar scoring average at Abu Dhabi GC. Karlsson appeared badly out of sorts when finishing 32nd of 36 last week in South Africa, Jaidee could be the dangerman.

Like the aforementioned Kaymer and McIlroy, Paul Casey clearly has a liking for Abu Dhabi GC, his form figures read (19/-/23/27/1/cut/1/45). The Englishman's game is not quite the finished article yet, but he had a much improved 2013 that included a victory (Irish Open) and got rid of any rust with a 19th (of 32) placed finish last week, that included a third round 65. There's no doubt in my mind the Englishman should at least be favourite for his three-ball with Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez.


Recommended Bets
Back Martin Kaymer @ 2.6413/8 
Back Rory McIlroy @ 2.427/5 
Back Paul Lawrie @ 3.259/4 
Back Paul Casey @ 2.6813/8 


*Follow me on twitter @dangeraghty10

Season P&L: -1.7pts (based on 1pt per selection)

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