A week to forget in Oman with my team quickly getting blown out of contention and headline pick Alex Levy, who started brightly with a 4-under first round to sit 4th after the opening 18 holes, retiring with back issues as the event ended without so much as a whimper from a betting perspective.
On to this week then and we move north-east from last week’s venue in Oman to complete our early-season Middle East events, as the Tour heads back to Doha for the final event in the Gulf until much later in the year. An early attendee list that included the likes of Joost Luiten, Alex Levy and Paul Dunne has suffered some late changes and it’s left a rather disappointing field in comparison to some years with the enigmatic Belgian Thomas Pieters leading the betting at a best price of 11/1. Jordan Smith is the next player on all of the bookmakers’ lists at around 20/1, followed by the likes of Alexander Bjork, Tom Lewis and Mike Lorenzo-Vera in what looks to be a wide open affair.
2019 Majors Competition sponsored by bet365
We’re giving you the opportunity to win in 2019 as we’re running our popular Majors Competition in association with bet365 who’ve put a total of £250 in cash up for grabs to the winners. The competition is in the form of a one-and-done, so all you need to do to enter is give us a single player for each of the 4 Majors – full details are here.
Before we talk the Qatar Masters, the number of new visitors to Golf Betting System is increasing in the inevitable build-up to The Masters. Welcome to you all and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published Tuesday) our Golf Betting Show on YouTube and our hugely popular private group on Facebook – you can Join Here. Masters lovers will also enjoy our Ante-post Masters Podcast.
Doha GC. Designer: Harradine, 1996; Course Type: Desert; Par: 72; Length: 7,400 yards; Water Hazards: 6; Fairways: Bermuda; Rough: Bermuda; Greens: Bermuda/Poa Trivialis, 11’6″ on the stimp.
Course Overview. The final leg of our Middle-East adventure takes us to the Harradine-designed Doha Golf Club which has hosted this event since its inauguration in 1998, giving us plenty of course history stats to review. At 7,400 yards in length, the course has historically favoured longer hitters when conditions are tranquil; wayward drives aren’t punished as severely as other courses on the European Tour circuit with relatively thin rough, allowing the bombers to attack more freely. However the exposed layout is particularly susceptible to wind and even the most tranquil of forecasts in the region can still result in a fair breeze blowing over the track at times, which brings the more controlled ball-strikers into the mix.
The par-72 layout is a conventional pair of 9s with the outward 9 measuring 230 yards longer than the inward 9. The par-5s play amongst the easiest of the holes as you might expect with even the 639 yard 9th playing under par generally, however the driveable par-4 16th is also a birdie and eagle opportunity for most of the field.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Qatar Masters that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at this event: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Top 20 Finishes | Combined Form Stats.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Winners & Prices. 2018: Eddie Pepperell, 70/1; 2017: Jeunghun Wang, 33/1; 2016: Branden Grace, 8/1; 2015: Branden Grace, 25/1; 2014: Sergio Garcia, 8/1; 2013: Chris Wood, 100/1; 2012: Paul Lawrie, 50/1; 2011: Thomas Bjorn, 200/1; 2010: Robert Karlsson, 66/1.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the Doha region in Qatar is here. Clear skies and temperatures in the high-70s Fahrenheit will greet the players this week. The wind is often a factor here at Doha and this year is expected to be no different, particularly for the start of the event where average wind speeds on Thursday are expected to be 20-25mph before dropping to 15-20mph by Sunday.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors.
Analysing the final stats of the past 9 winners here gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:
- 2018: Eddie Pepperell. 268 yards (77th), 67.9% fairways (3rd), 80.6% greens in regulation (16th), 71.4% scrambling (9th), 1.66 putts per GIR (9th).
- 2017: Jeunghun Wang. 292 yards (37th), 50% fairways (40th), 77.8% greens in regulation (26th), 68.8% scrambling (7th), 1.71 putts per GIR (15th).
- 2016: Branden Grace. 306 yards (6th), 46.4% fairways (44th), 76.4% greens in regulation (19th), 76.5% scrambling (3rd), 1.71 putts per GIR (4th).
- 2015: Branden Grace. 296 yards (9th), 48.2% fairways (61st), 83.3% greens in regulation (3rd), 66.7% scrambling (23rd), 1.63 putts per GIR (2nd).
- 2014: Sergio Garcia. 300 yards (5th), 51.8% fairways (54th), 75.0% greens in regulation (32nd), 72.2% scrambling (12th), 1.72 putts per GIR (18th).
- 2013: Chris Wood. 297 yards (13th), 62.5% fairways (17th), 81.9% greens in regulation (6th), 53.8% scrambling (58th), 1.65 putts per GIR (3rd).
- 2012: Paul Lawrie. 300 yards (9th), 54.8% fairways (23rd), 79.6% greens in regulation (7th), 72.7% scrambling (6th), 1.63 putts per GIR (3rd).
- 2011: Thomas Bjorn. 288 yards (34th), 42.9% fairways (56th), 77.8% greens in regulation (3rd), 68.8% scrambling (9th), 1.69 putts per GIR (5th).
- 2010: Robert Karlsson. 296 yards (15th), 57.1% fairways (49th), 77.8% greens in regulation (4th), 68.8% scrambling (11th), 1.63 putts per GIR (4th).
High GIR and decent enough putting are the common themes in the analysis above with slightly less emphasis on accuracy from off the tee. Scrambling isn’t overly difficult here as is reflected by the high percentages, therefore bogey avoidance in general is quite high – indeed last year’s winner Eddie Pepperell dropped just 4 shots on the week which is similar to Wang’s 5 Bogeys from 2017 and Grace’s 4 bogeys and a double the year before that.
The par 3s are the toughest element of the course in my opinion, so picking players with a strong mid-iron game is a positive. This venue is particularly susceptible to the wind so siding with strong ball-strikers or those with a proven wind/coastal pedigree if the forecast suggests anything other than a flat calm week isn’t a bad move either
Incoming Form: It’s worth noting that all winners featured in the analysis below had recorded at least one top-10 finish in their previous 7 starts and all had played the week before:
- 2018: Eddie Pepperell: 3/3/MC/7/10/6/34/48/MC/MC/MC/44
- 2017: Jeunghun Wang: MC/MC/MC/43/MC/13/29/70/13/2/17/MC/11
- 2016: Branden Grace: 17/3/47/30/17/5/22/3/8/4/4/5
- 2015: Branden Grace: 46/MC/MC/46/25/21/16/19/9/13/1/15/20
- 2014: Sergio Garcia: 40/61/29/37/4/18/9/11/4/2/1/19
- 2013: Chris Wood: 36/12/1/26/WD/43/MC/15/7/10/26/70
- 2012: Paul Lawrie: 59/35/16/45/59/11/49/MC/46/2/10/8
- 2011: Thomas Bjorn: 15/MC/MC/11/17/38/5/MC/WD/52/MC/44
- 2010: Robert Karlsson: 53/71/32/16/MC/MC/33/MC/MC/2/9/60
Event Form. With the exception of 2017 winner Jeunghun Wang, all winners going back to 2010 had recorded at least one top-20 finish in Qatar prior to their victory here:
- 2018: Eddie Pepperell: MC/63/4/MC
- 2017: Jeunghun Wang: Debut
- 2016: Branden Grace: 47/6/13/1
- 2015: Branden Grace: 47/6/13
- 2014: Sergio Garcia: MC/19/7/7/24/9/5/2
- 2013: Chris Wood: 14/MC/20
- 2012: Paul Lawrie: 48/1/27/34/36/69/MC/11/25/46/MC/19/
- 2011: Thomas Bjorn: MC/MC/23/9/33/60/8
- 2010: Robert Karlsson: 40/2/MC/25/5/15/22/60/37
A cursory look through the list of winners here screams links golf which makes a level of sense given the often windswept nature of the course here at Doha. This is of course desert golf, however when the breeze picks up it tends to favour a certain type of wind-positive player and with a fairly strong breeze forecast at various parts of the week, I don’t see any reason to overly oppose that train of thought this week.
For me, some positive event form is one element to look at, as is a smattering of recent form without the need for anything too spectacular. Bermudagrass-positive players should also shine on these greens and those players who perform well on par 3s – the toughest part of this track as I’ve mentioned above – should excel.
My selections are as follows: