Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Qatar Masters Tips 2020

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The golf betting Gods are rarely kind enough to allow successive winners and so it proved last week with 80/1 selection Brandon Stone missing out at the 3rd play-off hole in Oman, having seen the impressive Sami Valimaki make what can only be described as a clutch putt on the 72nd hole to force extra time. Disappointment aside, it was still a profitable week and we can take confidence into this week’s event in Qatar.

We move north-east from last week’s venue in Oman to complete our early-season Middle East events, as the Tour heads to Doha for the final event in the Gulf until much later in the year. In a typically European Tour twist though, we’re not playing at the Harradine-designed Doha Golf Club this week which we’ve become accustomed to since the event’s inauguration in 1998; instead we’re heading across town to the brand new Jose Maria Olazábal design, Education City Golf Club, so do bear this in mind when using this week’s event stats.

Much the same cast to last week’s event have assembled in Doha for this week’s task. Thomas Pieters has just about relinquished favouritism to Martin Kaymer after last week’s missed cut, with the former Ryder Cup teammates both rating as around 16/1 chances at the time of writing. Robert MacIntyre (22/1) and Matthias Schwab (25/1) add a little more quality to the top end of the betting this week, however as we saw last week with a 250/1 winner getting over the line, anything can and does happen in this game.

Before we talk through my Qatar Masters tips, 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) the Golf Betting Show on YouTube and our hugely popular private group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

2020 Majors Competition Sponsored By bet365:

Following on from the success of the last 8 annual GBS Majors competitions, bet365 have kindly offered to sponsor the 2020 edition with a massive £250 CASH prize fund! Our 2020 winner will receive £150 (or currency equivalent) in cash with additional £75 and £25 prizes for 2nd and 3rd place finishers.

Basically we want you to pick a single player for each of the 4 Majors any time before the start of the 2020 Masters and get those 4 names entered into the competition by one of the methods detailed on our rules page here. Best of luck all!

Qatar Masters Tips – Featured Bookmaker:

Boylesports are attacking this week’s Qatar Masters, offering an industry-best 8 places each-way at 1/5 odds, with strong prices to boot. If you haven’t already got a Boylesports account then new customers can access their new customer offer using the link below:

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Course Overview. The final leg of our Middle-East adventure takes us away from Doha Golf Club for the first time since the Qatar Masters began in 1998, in turn rendering the results and statistics from the past 2 decades or so as background information only.

On paper, the new layout doesn’t differ massively to Doha GC with the Jose Maria Olazábal design stretching to 7,307 yards from its tips for its par of 71 and it’s still fundamentally an exposed, desert layout. On first inspection though, whereas Doha Golf Club shared a number of almost linksy features and sat just a mile or so inland, Education City sits at on the western outskirts of the Qatari capital and looks a little more parkland in style with more green space and colourful landscaping.

In constructing the course which opened in 2018, Olazábal has retained as many of the original features as possible, including an ancient wadi wall and water well. The track itself has been designed in line with USGA standards with Platinum Paspalum grass used throughout the layout, including on the greens.

The 36/35 split features 3 par-5s measuring 539, 593 and 592 yards in length. 2 of the 4 par-3s are over 200 yards long and only 2 of the par-4s play under 400 yards. The par-4 18th hole looks a brute at 513 yards, following another couple of stern par-4s in what may well prove to be a testing close to the round.

qatar masters tips

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. As previously noted, Education City Golf Club is being used for the first time this week so the tournament form should be considered accordingly: Current Form Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats Combined Stats.

Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.

Winners & Prices. 2019: Justin Harding, 55/1; 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. After a couple of breezy days as the players have got to grips with the track here, the wind is forecast to drop for the tournament days themselves with 10-15mph expected.

Incoming Form: It’s worth noting that all Qatar Masters 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:

  • 2019: Justin Harding: 43/46/14/4/MC/MC/51/7/11/4/26/MC
  • 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. Prior to the wins of Justin Harding and Jeunghun Wang, there’s a case to be made for regarding event history positively, however this year’s switch of venue means that past results need to be considered accordingly:

  • 2019: Justin Harding: Debut
  • 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

With a brand new course and no previous professional tournament results to peruse for this week, we’re in the dark largely as to what to expect here at Education City.

The fact that we’re still in Doha, just a further couple of miles or so inland, shouldn’t make the previous results from this event completely irrelevant, however I suspect that it won’t play quite as linksy as the previous venue for starters.

The layout isn’t short given that it’s a par-71 at sea level, and the bunkering on the course suggests that a decent enough level of Total Driving is going to be required to master this layout. Paspalum grass is used throughout which also gives us a clue as to what to expect, particularly on the greens where results from events like the Mauritius Open, Saudi International and last week’s Oman Open may help narrow the field.

My Final Qatar Masters Tips Are As Follows:

Haotong Li 2.5pts EW 33/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Betfred

The argument for bypassing the top of this week’s betting market is much the same as last week with Thomas Pieters (MC) and Martin Kaymer (10th) both failing to secure a return for each-way punters in Oman. Of course Kaymer’s finish looks the more impressive and continues a sequence of 4 top-20 results over his last 4 starts, however I’m still wary of his ability to convert at the business end of proceedings given that he hasn’t won for nearly 6 years now.

Bobby MacIntyre will undoubtedly win something eventually given his talent, however the reward won’t be great and 22/1 this week is no bargain; likewise Matthias Schwab, at a few points longer, has the talent to win on the European Tour, however to date it hasn’t happened and his supporters must be running low on patience given the prices on offer about the Austrian.

Joost Luiten was tempting given that he found his iron game last week in Oman before fading, however I’m starting this week’s team with Haotong Li who must be buoyed by the winning performances of some of his Presidents Cup teammates over the past few weeks.

Since narrowly losing to Team USA in Melbourne back in December, Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott and Sungjae Im have all won on the PGA Tour from the Internationals and with Abraham Ancer and Hideki Matsuyama both having impressed in recent weeks, perhaps that statistic will continue to grow. This side of the Atlantic, Haotong Li is the best chance of that sequence of winners extending and given a relatively weak field here this week, perhaps he’ll get that win sooner rather than later and complete a personal hat-trick of European Tour titles.

A missed cut on his only attempt at the Qatar Masters back in 2017 is of lesser consequence given the change in venue; instead I’m happy to look at his win in the Middle East at the Dubai Desert Classic as close enough tangible form on a track here that I suspect will play far more like The Emirates than Doha Golf Club.

Since the Presidents Cup, the 24 year-old has been inconsistent with finishes of 41/MC/21/MC/18, but within those better weeks there’s been enough to encourage an investment this week. In Abu Dhabi, on his way to 41st place, he ranked 6th for Driving Accuracy and 3rd for Putting; 21st in Saudi was fuelled primarily by a 6th place effort in terms of GIR; and 18th last week in Oman was achieved predominantly as a result of his 3rd place performance on the Paspalum greens.

That final point is interesting as he’s got previous on these types of putting surface, having led the field for putting in Saudi last year when finishing runner-up to Dustin Johnson. With his game progressing nicely and a course that should suit this week, I’m excited to see how Li performs here. RESULT: MC

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Brandon Stone 1.5pts EW 50/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Betfred

As frustrating as it was to see Brandon Stone miss out in the play-off last week in Oman, in truth he didn’t do a massive amount wrong and I’m happy to stick with him one more week here.

The emotional rollercoaster that saw him nail a long putt from the fringe on the 72nd hole to take the outright lead, only to see Sami Valimaki impressively convert his birdie putt on the same hole from outside of 20 feet must have been immense, however he looked calm and controlled in the play-off before misjudging his approach on the 3rd playoff hole in the wind and allowing his playing partner to (just about) make his par putt and take the title.

Disappointment can lead to two conceivable extremes this week with a tailed-off missed cut quite possible, or a redemption victory also possible – plus of course a multitude of scenarios between those two. Let’s be positive though, he tweeted after Sunday’s play-off, “Well it may not be the result we were after, but it’s a performance I’m incredibly proud of,” and let’s be honest, on another day Valimaki wouldn’t have made birdie on the last, or Stone’s 12-footer on the 2nd play-off hole finds the bottom of the cup, and everything changes. As I said, he did little wrong.

The 26 year-old talked again about his health and fitness regime which is helping him to maintain his A game for a prolonged period of time and with incoming form now reading 10/2 over the past fortnight perhaps the best is yet to come. 1st for Total Driving and 1st for Ball-Striking last week in Oman was impressive and it will only take the odd extra putt or two to drop this week and he could be walking away with his 4th European Tour title. RESULT: T44

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Sami Valimaki 1pt EW 80/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Betfred

With a similar field playing in similar conditions and on similar greens this week, it’s not inconceivable that we see a very similar result to last week’s Oman Open, and if that’s the case then who’s to say that Sami Valimaki can’t follow up his maiden success immediately?

Undoubtedly some punters will contest that the value has disappeared with the talented Finn now a third of last week’s price following his victory. Mathematically that opinion is impossible to argue against as his price has indeed dropped markedly, however we saw recently on the PGA Tour with Brendan Todd that players who’ve just found top form shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, and some can and do win again immediately.

The 21 year-old could be excused for taking his foot off the accelerator, however in what will be just his 7th European Tour start this week perhaps he’ll be keen to follow the likes of Thomas Pieters and Jeunghun Wang who have followed their maiden win with another victory on their very next start in relatively recent times.

The Nokia lad won 4 times on the Pro Golf Tour last year, 2 of which were in consecutive weeks, to suggest that once he finds that winning formula he’s capable of maintaining his level, and if he continues to putt on these greens the way he did on last week’s Paspalum surfaces then who’s to say he won’t push immediately for another win here this week? RESULT: T38

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Fabrizio Zanotti 1pt EW 110/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Betfred

We got chance to see the vast majority of this week’s field in action last week and whilst there were a few eye-catchers statistically, one that stood out to me was Fabrizio Zanotti.

Generally a strong tee-to-green exponent when he’s playing his best golf, the Paraguayan caught the eye with the putter last week in Oman, ranking 2nd for putting average on the Paspalum greens on his way to a much-improved 25th place finish after opening efforts of MC/MC/56 in 2020.

That flat stick performance on a very similar putting surface to this week shouldn’t have been a complete shock as he’s done well on the greens of Oman in the past, ranking 24th and 13th for putts per GIR on his previous 2 starts. Marry that to the long game performances that we saw in Spain (9th for Driving Accuracy, 4th for GIR), Turkey (5th and 14th on the same measures) and Saudi (13th and 9th) and we have a potentially potent combination.

Of course marrying all those elements together is easier said than done – hence the 3-figure price – however with Zanotti at least we know that he has the ability to close out a victory having twice won at European Tour level at the BMW International Open in 2014 and the Maybank Championship in 2017. With his latest exemption long gone, another victory would be just the ticket this week to sew up his card for the next couple of years.

Competitive course form for all players is non-existent as we know, however the 36 year-old’s last visit to Qatar produced a personal best when he finished 11th at Doha Golf Club and with his game taking a step forward last week, perhaps he can improve on that and reward each-way backers here. RESULT: T28

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✅ Odds compiler takes a different view of many events meaning value can be found
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2019 US Open & Open Championship

Betfred New Customer Offer: Only available to new customers from UK & Northern Ireland. You must stake £10 or more at single/cumulative odds of Evens (2.0) or greater on your first bet. Free bet balance of £30 credited within 48 hours of your first bet being settled. Free Bets expire after 7 days. E-Wallet restrictions apply. Minimum 5 game rounds. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 18:30GMT 2.3.20 but naturally subject to fluctuation.