Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Ras al Khaimah Classic Tips 2022

Get Paul's previews as soon as they're published @golfbetting Follow Now

 

We stay in Ras al Khaimah and at the Al Hamra Golf Club for a second consecutive week, as the DP World Tour cunningly replace the word ‘Championship’ with ‘Classic’ to create an entirely new event. ‘Entirely new’ might be over-egging things a tad given that we’re on the same course as last week with largely the same field, facing largely the same conditions, but with a fresh trophy up for grabs on Sunday let’s roll with that description.

Notable additions to the field versus last week include 2018 Al Hamra winner Adri Arnaus, Justin Harding, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Laurie Canter amongst others, however it’s last week’s winner Nicolai Hojgaard who just about shades favouritism from runner-up Jordan Smith at around 14/1 and 16/1 respectively.

bet365 2022 Majors Competition sponsored by bet365

We’re giving you the opportunity to win in 2022 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.

✅ Bet £10 get £50 in free bets for new customers
✅ Bonus code SPORT50 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 4 Majors in 2021 with very competitive odds

bet365 New Customer Offer: Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code SPORT50 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

boylesports Ras al Khaimah Classic – Featured Bookmaker:

Boylesports are leading the way for this week’s Ras al Khaimah Classic, and across the DP World Tour in general, offering a huge 8 places each-way at 1/5 odds this week.

They are now a must have for golf punters who want maximum each-way return opportunities. If you haven’t already got a Boylesports account then new customers, both sides of the Irish Sea, can access their specific new customer offer using the links below:

✅ Bet £10 Get £20 for new mobile customers using this qualifying link
✅ Regularly extending full-field PGA Tour events to a market-beating 10 places each-way
✅ Offered 12 places each-way 1/6 odds at the 2021 Open Championship for the first time ever

Boylesports UK New Customer Offer: 18+. UK/IRE mobile customers only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&Cs apply. #Ad

✅ Bet €10 get €40 in bonuses for new Irish customers using this qualifying link
✅ Regularly extending full-field PGA Tour events to a market-beating 10 places each-way
✅ Offered 12 places each-way 1/6 odds at the 2021 Open Championship for the first time ever

New Customer Offer. 18+. UK/IRE mobile customers only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Before we go into the detail surrounding the Ras al Khaimah Championship, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System as the early season progresses. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,000 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Overview. Al Hamra Golf Club is this week’s venue and the Peter Harradine design stretches to 7,325 yards for its par of 72. Although new to the DP World Tour, Al Hamra hosted 3 events on the Challenge Tour between 2016-18 which form this week’s event stats and combined stats. The latter also includes last week’s results from this course.

A regular 36/36 setup, the back 9 is longer than the front 9, and that makes the back 9 a tougher prospect with many of the best scoring opportunities coming in the first 8 holes.

The Par-5s are all long without being excessively so at 576-607 yards; 3 sub-400 yard Par 4s also add to the scoring potential of a course that’s designed for the tourist trade primarily and allows for birdies and eagles.

Set just off the coast of Ras al Khaimah, there’s definitely a coastal vibe about the track and the exposed fairways and desert surroundings are complimented by water hazards in the shape of lagoons on a number of holes for the errant. Paspalum grass has once again been used for this course, similar to what we saw in Abu Dhabi last month.

ras al khaimah classic tips

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Ras al Khaimah Classic that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at this event: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Current/Course Form.

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

Course Winners:

  • (DP World Tour). 2022, Nicolai Hojgaard (-24), 35/1.
  • (Challenge Tour). 2018, Adri Arnaus (-17); 2017, Jens Dantorp (-15); 2016, Jordan Smith (-20).

Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for Ras al Khaimah is here.

In almost a repeat performance of last week, the tournament should enjoy mild (mid-70s) and dry conditions throughout the 4 days. The breeze picks up a little in the afternoons although nothing excessive is expected with Sunday the breeziest day at 15-20mph.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors.

Whereas my preview 7 days ago was essentially a stab in the dark given that lower-tier form was all we had to go on, this week we have the benefit of last week’s result to help shape our approach.

Strokes Gained: From a Strokes Gained perspective, the top 2 finishers compiled their score in very similar fashion last week:

  • 1st: Nicolai Hojgaard. T: 1st; A: 2nd; T2G: 1st; ATG: 38th; P: 43rd
  • 2nd: Jordan Smith. T: 2nd; A: 45th; T2G: 7th; ATG: 30th; P: 11th

Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.

What Jordan Smith lacked with his approach play he almost made up for with the putter, but both men excelled from Off the Tee and from Tee to Green and that seems like a robust strategy for overcoming the challenges here at Al Hamra.

Of the top 6 finishers, only Adrian Otaegui really veered from this template, leading the field for SG Putting whilst losing shots from Off the Tee. For me, that’s quite telling and it would take a mercurial week on and around the greens for a player to overcome any weakness with the long game judging by what we saw last week.

Scoring Breakdown: Focussing on the same two players, who were 7 and 3 shots ahead of the rest of the pack respectively, we have the following breakdown in terms of their scoring:

  • 1st: Nicolai Hojgaard. Par-3: +1; Par-4: -10; Par-5: -15; 3 Eagles, 25 Birdies. 6 Bogeys/Worse.
  • 2nd: Jordan Smith. Par-3: -1; Par-4: -10; Par-5: -9; 26 Birdies. 6 Bogeys/Worse.

A knee-jerk reaction looking at Nicolai Hojgaard’s 15-under total on the par-5s would be to assume that scoring on the long holes is the most critical factor, however he was an outlier in that respect with only 12 players hitting double-digits under par for the 5s. Haotong Li, Adrian Otaegui and Matthieu Pavon were each just 6-under for the long holes for their 3rd place finishes, so although you could argue that it was a decisive factor in actually winning the title, getting into contention wasn’t predicated on Par-5 scoring alone.

Incoming Form. The incoming form of the 3 winners here at Al Hamra from the Challenge Tour days, plus last week’s winner Nicolai Hojgaard, suggests that some good recent form wouldn’t go amiss, as all four had recorded a top-8 finish in one of their last 3 starts:

  • Hojgaard: MC/21/17/1/20/14/MC/MC/2/4/MC/MC
  • Arnaus: 18/16/29/MC/13/11/2/30/9/48/4/18
  • Dantorp: 55/MC/34/62/49/22/48/5/15/8/MC/14
  • Smith: 20/15/MC/DQ/21/9/6/4/15/2/MC/MC

Hojgaard first two starts of 2022 had both resulted in a weekend off, however a drop down in class combined with a more free-scoring track did the trick for the talented Dane. A win at the Italian Open last autumn and some lofty finishes to close out 2021 shouldn’t have been ignored in hindsight.

Last week taught us that this resort course is very scoreable when conditions are tranquil and the risk-reward nature of many of the key scoring holes means that fortune may well favour the brave. With little wind expected over the first 3 days, I’m expecting another low-scoring affair this week where excellence in terms of SG Tee to Green, coupled with a compliant putter, should see the winner getting into the 20-under par region once again.

My selections are as follows:

 

Adri Arnaus 2pts EW 25/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

Returning immediately to the scene of last Sunday’s fight between Jordan Smith and Nicolai Hojgaard has prompted the bookies to make the pair clear favourites for a repeat performance this coming weekend, however former Al Hamra winner Adri Arnaus might have something to say about that.

The Ras al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final victory in 2018 rates as his highest-ranked professional victory ahead of a pair of Alps Tour wins in 2017, however it’s a case of when not if he gets over the line at DP World Tour level in my view and this week sets up nicely for him on familiar ground.

8th at the Portugal Masters and 9th at the DP World Tour Championship to close out 2021 was impressive enough ahead of a fast-finishing 20th place finish in Abu Dhabi to open his 2022 account, however it was his 3rd place finish at last week’s Saudi International on the Asian Tour that ultimately gets him the nod here. The Paspalum putting surfaces at Royal Greens G&CC aren’t dissimilar to this week’s test and in lieu of any Strokes Gained data, only one player in the field putted better than Arnaus last week in terms of putts per GIR.

Despite a Sunday wobble in Saudi, it still took birdie-eagle finishes from Harold Varner III and Bubba Watson to finish ahead of the Spaniard and he was mighty unlucky to not win the Spanish Open last year with Rafa Cabrera-Bello nicking the title in a play-off.

Much has been mentioned about Adri’s improvement with the flat stick in the past year, a fact that will undoubtedly give him more chances to win at this level as he progresses, however last week’s GIR ranking of 16th was his best result on that count since last April and that was complimented by his best Driving Accuracy ranking since the start of 2020. 18th for SG Tee to Green in Abu Dhabi also catches the eye and if he can combine all of this with his much-improved putting on a course that he’s proven victorious on in the past, then I think he could upset those at the very top of the betting. RESULT: T9

✅ Bet £10 get £50 in free bets for new customers
✅ Bonus code SPORT50 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 4 Majors in 2021 with very competitive odds

bet365 New Customer Offer: Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code SPORT50 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Rasmus Hojgaard 2pts EW 30/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Betfred

It’s almost getting to the point where putting a team together that doesn’t contain at least one Hojgaard is a dangerous ploy. Last week I chose the wrong twin and Nicolai proved triumphant despite his poor 2022 form to that point; I’ll stick to my guns this week and keep faith with Rasmus in the hope that his brother’s success will inspire him to victory this week.

We’ve already seen back-to-back Hojgaard victories in the recent past with Nicolai capturing the Italian Open a week after Rasmus’s success at Crans-sur-Sierre last autumn, and the same feat in reverse is what I’m suggesting here. Nicolai has stolen a march on his brother now in terms of the World Rankings, leaping up to 67th compared to his brother’s 108th after last week’s win, and Rasmus may well want to balance the books as soon as possible.

Rasmus’s breakthrough win in Mauritius back in 2019 shares topography and agronomy with this week’s test in RAK, and 6th place finishes in both Oman and Saudi would suggest that Paspalum grass is certainly not a weakness, despite missing a lot of opportunities last week on the greens.

The real killer though was the short par-4 5th hole last week which he played in 5-over par over the 4 days. It’s not inconceivable that on another week he’d have played the same hole under par each day, be that birdie or eagle, and had he done that over the first 3 days we would have seen him right in the mix, rather than a throttled-down Sunday while his brother took control. If he gets that hole right this week then it could be an entirely different story this time around in my view. RESULT: T30

✅ Bet £10 Get £60 in bonuses for new customers using code BETFRED60 and this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Betfred promo code page
✅ Odds compiler takes a different view of many events meaning value can be found
✅ Offered 10 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2021 US Open and Open Championship

Betfred New Customer Offer: New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply. #Ad

Daniel van Tonder 1pt EW 50/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Ladbrokes

One player who’s already shown the ability to win the second leg of one of these same course double-headers is Daniel van Tonder and there was enough encouragement in his game last week to take a chance here.

Last year’s win at the Kenya Savannah Classic at 21-under earned the South African his first trophy at this level. However 7 wins prior to that at Sunshine Tour level tells us that he’s no stranger to accumulating silverware. There was further evidence of that fact in December when he was triumphant at the SA Open Championship, which was dropped from the DP World Tour schedule as the Omicron variant took its toll on the golfing calendar.

When at his best, van Tonder can produce the kind of long game Stokes Gained stats that I’m expecting to see associated with this week’s winner. 1st for SG Off the Tee and 1st for SG Tee to Green on that aforementioned win in Kenya last March is a case in point, and the 30 year-old ranked 7th overall in the Off the Tee category for the full season in 2021, despite some otherwise indifferent results, to suggest that he’ll enjoy his second look at Al Hamra this week.

13th place last week doesn’t tell the whole story as Danie was 3-over through his first 3 holes on Thursday and eventually shot 73 to give him work to do just to make the weekend; rounds of 68, 69 and 65 from there saw him levitate up the leaderboard and a bogey-free final day should set him in good stead for this week’s task. RESULT: T20

✅ Bet £/€5 get £/€20 in free bets using this qualifying link.
✅ For further details read our Ladbrokes promo code page.
✅ 8 places each-way, 1/5 odds consistently used on full-field PGA Tour events
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 4 Majors in 2021

Ladbrokes New Customer Offer: 18+. UK+IRE customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excluded. Min £/€5 first bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stakes not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Andy Sullivan 1pt EW 70/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Ladbrokes

Finally, the longest priced player in my team also happens to be the most decorated in terms of titles at this level and that’s Andy Sullivan.

4 successes on the European Tour as it was at the time all came on South African or European soil, however his record in the Middle East isn’t bad at all and he’s worthy of support this week on a resort course that plays to his strengths. 23- and 27- under were the winning totals from his Portugal Masters and English Championship wins respectively and after seeing Nicolai Hojgaard reach 24-under last week while he downed tools for a week, Andy should be licking his lips for this one.

To my point on his form in the region, Sullivan finished 2nd at the DP World Tour Championship in 2015 and 10th in 2019 & 2020, 2nd 4th and 6th at the Dubai Desert Classic between 2015-18, and 2nd (2020) and 4th (2021) on the Fire Course at Jumeirah. A short journey up the coast here to Ras al Khaimah in very similar conditions should be right in the 34 year-old’s wheelhouse, despite not having the luxury of playing last week.

That 4th place finish at Jumeirah before Christmas was the Nuneaton man’s last piece of decent form as he’s started 2022 with results of MC/47, however he seems positive about the swing work that he’s been putting in under the tutelage of Mike Walker and this drop in class, combined with a more suitable resort-style challenge, should suit better than his price suggests. RESULT: MC

✅ Bet £/€5 get £/€20 in free bets using this qualifying link.
✅ For further details read our Ladbrokes promo code page.
✅ 8 places each-way, 1/5 odds consistently used on full-field PGA Tour events
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 4 Majors in 2021

Ladbrokes New Customer Offer: 18+. UK+IRE customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excluded. Min £/€5 first bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stakes not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 16:30GMT 7.2.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.