GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Golf in Dubai Championship.
Golf in Dubai Championship | 2nd-5th December 2020 | Sky Sports
The European Tour season is very nearly drawing to a close as we head to Dubai for two final events. This week are actually gifted with another stop in South Africa, though the field is considerably weaker compared to this one.
Both this week's Golf in Dubai Championship and next week's season-ending Rolex Series finale will be held at Jumeirah Golf Estate in Dubai. First up is the Fire Course before the usual trip round the Earth Course.
With no Rafa Cabrera-Bello or Lee Westwood, the front of the market it competitive with two winners on the ET this season, Bernd Weisberger and Robert MacIntyre sitting alongside former US Open winner, Martin Kaymer. All 14/1 or below.
There is a temptation to back Matt Wallace, who is rarely seen in Europe these days as he looks the pick of the bunch in the next rung of budding hopefuls but instead, I have a six-pronged attack of quality individuals who look wrongly priced. Perhaps as a result of just how strong this field is.
As we often see in the Middle East, there are certain types that contend regularly, so you may well recognise many names in my staking plan.
Tom Lewis (45/1 SkyBet)
Just like Wallace, we haven't seen Tom Lewis (45/1 SkyBet)
in a while as he's been competing across the pond – and quite rightly too. The World no.71 had two top-six finishes in these parts last season, including a T6 at the neighbouring Earth Course whilst over on the PGA Tour, he very nearly clinched his maiden title in a WGC, running Justin Thomas down to the wire.
He does not arrive in the best of form, hence the price, but the PGA Tour is a different kettle of fish entirely. He has two ET titles to his name as well as a Korn Ferry Tour triumph in 2019 too. Lewis is a classy operator, who can turn in a low, low round at any given opportunity. He also ranked 12th on tour for GIR in 2019 and should fancy his chances in more familiar surroundings – he's had five top-10s in eight starts in the Middle East.
Jordan Smith (60/1 William Hill)
Another Englishman I like this week is Jordan Smith (60/1 William Hill)
. There is just something about this region that Smith enjoys. His two wins on the Challenge Tour came in the UAE and in Egypt, and has often shown a liking for Qatar in many trips there during the ‘Desert Swing.' In his first two trips to Jumeirah, he notched two top-25 finishes also.
He has been a bit hit and miss this year but has flashed with two top-10 finishes, one of which was at Al Mouj for the Oman Open, one course that could correlate nicely here – a windy, linksy feel. Again, he's regularly shown up in the UK on tracks like this (that other T10 this year being the Irish Open), further adding weight to why he should be way shorter than the 60s on offer.
I would argue that Smith is one of the better players in this field too, ranking 9th on the ET for stroke average. Only four other players teeing up this week have bettered him. He also ranks 3rd for GIR and 11th for SG: OTT, proving he's an elite ball-striker, which bodes well for the Fire Course, for sure.
Alexander Levy (60/1 William Hill)
One of my most frustrating players to back is Alexander Levy (60/1 William Hill)
, though I think he is worth chancing this week. The Frenchman has long gone off the boil since failing to make the Ryder Cup squad. Throw in a back injury, then you'll soon see why 2019 was a write-off. If anyone benefitted from the early season lockdown, then it's this man right here.
He appears to be back, fit and firing, rounding into some nice form ahead of his return to the Middle East. The 5-time ET winner has top-10 finishes in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman and Saudi Arabia since 2018 and comes into this event on the back of two top-sevens in his last three outings. In Cyprus, he ranked 1st for GIR and 2nd for Driving Accuracy, so maybe it's finally about to click for the Frenchman.
You'd struggle to find someone who hits the ball as well as Levy on his day. Hopefully, that day will be this week.
Gavin Green (66/1 Betfred)
I simply can't ignore the prospect of Gavin Green (66/1 Betfred)
clinching his first ET triumph and me not being on board. His best-ever finishes are a mix of Middle East, the UK and in recent tournaments – to me, that signals an opportunity here at fairly long odds.
This season, we've seen him finish T18 in Oman, T12 in Qatar, a third in Saudi (only major winners Graeme McDowell and Dustin Johnson beat him), T11 and T8 at Celtic Manor, and T7 in Cyprus three starts ago. As a prolific winner in Asia, it's beyond me why the promising Malaysian is yet to claim a maiden European title.
Green is one of the longest yet accurate drivers of the ball on the ET, and he also ranks inside the top-25 for SG: Approach and GIR. He's more than capable of showing up these odds this week as an all-round beast that deserves a trophy sooner rather than later.
Marcus Kinhult (80/1 Unibet)
I was quite surprised to see Swede sensation Marcus Kinhult (80/1 Unibet)
available at these odds. He is much shorter elsewhere, so clearly the bookmakers here have made an error in judgement. Kinhult is one player that never went to South Africa during the past few weeks, which may bode well for his chances. You never truly know that but his form at correlated venues could hint towards success in Dubai.
T6 at the Scottish Open was followed by a T10 at Wentworth whilst earlier in the season, Kinhult finished T7 in Qatar despite playing in Mexico the week before. He has had a short schedule this year but don't let that sway you off of him. At lot is at stake for him this week as he must finish strongly to make the season finale with so many names playing between here and the South African open.
He could well do exactly that as he's regularly shown up in the Middle East and the UK (his only win thus far has been the British Masters) – he's had top-5 finishes at the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge, in Oman and Qatar. He was 6th going into the final round at next-door's Earth Course too, before finishing in a tie for 16th.
Jorge Campillo (80/1 SkyBet)
And finally, we'll throw some money onto Jorge Campillo (80/1 SkyBet)
, the very winner of this season's Qatar Masters. After getting over from the hangover of winning for the second time in two years, the Spaniard followed two missed cuts with a run of form of T8-T7-T17-T8. And just two starts ago, he finished third in the Cyprus Showdown.
He may have missed the cut last week with many on him, but I see no reason why he can't contend here. He even missed the cut before winning in Qatar, so in reality, it means very little. Quite frankly, he should not be 80/1 just because of a recent MC, and as a winner this year, he's done a lot more than the majority of names in front of him. Kaymer, whilst he has flashed at winning, hasn't done so since 2014 yet he's 14/1.
I'm quietly optimistic about all six of these players this week, so hopefully, we can end the season with a bang. Here's hoping that hasn't cursed our chances!
Golf in Dubai Championship – Tom Lewis (45/1 each-way SkyBet)
Golf in Dubai Championship – Jordan Smith (60/1 each-way William Hill)
Golf in Dubai Championship – Alexander Levy (60/1 each-way William Hill)
Golf in Dubai Championship – Gavin Green (66/1 each-way Betfred)
Golf in Dubai Championship – Marcus Kinhult (80/1 each-way Unibet)
Golf in Dubai Championship – Jorge Campillo (80/1 each-way SkyBet)