The Dubai Desert Classic seems the most popular choice of the punters this week and in truth, breaking down the field in America at Pebble Beach is proving more difficult for me than usual with a case to be made to oppose nearly all the top 12 or so in the market, so the Dubai Desert Classic gets the nod this week. Picks on Twitter @Nicspicks later in the week for the AT&T.
Scandinavia, and Denmark in particular is the area of focus for my two main Dubai Desert Classic picks this week. Unfortunately, they are widely fancied and already have been backed in from 33's.
The Emirates golf club will play 7,300 yards to a par of 72 and with average width fairways(a lot with doglegs) plenty of trees, and wind forecast to be gusting strongly, premium is likely to be on good ball striking and intelligent play rather than bombing, even though rough is not too deep.
Dubai Desert Classic Picks
Pick 1: 1pt e/w Anders Hansen @ 28/1 (Bodog - 6 places) 5 top 25's in last 6 European tour events and showing progressive form, Hansen shot a closing round 67 last week to share 12th place. T2nd last year in the Dubai Desert Classic, top 20 in 2009 and good form in this part of the world makes Hansen a standout pick this week. Greens are set to run fast and true which will give him an added edge.
Pick 2: 1pt e/w Thomas Bjorn @ 28/1 (Bodog - 6 places) I'm sticking with Bjorn this week having watched him recover brilliantly after an opening day 79 in strong winds last week to post another top 25. Bjorn played his final two rounds -11 in Qatar and will be eager to continue where he left off this week at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Pick 3: 0.5pts e/w Matteo Manassero @ 60/1 (general) If it's good ball striking and intelligent play you're looking for at the Dubai Desert Classic, Manassero is the man. Billed as the next Luke Donald, Manassero missed the cut last week, hense the large price but we can disregard that given the high winds. His form previous reads a progressive 34, 23, 6.
Pick 4: 0.25pts e/w Joost Luiten @ 80/1 (Ladbrokes) Another top ball striker, averaging almost 76% GIR this year so far and one who a lot of you know has been on my radar for a long time. Indeed, he got his first win at the back end of last season. Decent form this year and 80/1 for the Dubai Desert Classic looks huge on a player who can go very low - The "Dutch birdie machine".
Pick 5: 0.25pts e/w J.M Olazabal @ 150/1 (Bodog - 6 places) I never thought I'd be tipping Olazabal but with a run of tournaments under his belt for the first time in years, he may come under the radar this week. He's posted a 6th and 12th place finish this year already in big events along with a top 20 at the Dubai Desert Classic last year. His scrambling skills could be a big advantage around Emirates GC. A Spaniard has won this event the last two years running and maybe he can follow the trend!
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Note: If you're betting E/W, take advantage of Bet365's offer up to £200 in free bets to use on this week's Dubai Desert Classic.