2013 Qatar Masters Picks

Qatar Masters preview, posted Mon 21st Jan (Follow me on Twitter: @Nicspicks)

Next up on the blog is the Qatar Masters - scene of Paul Lawrie's 50/1 success for us last year. Last week subscribers of the mailing list benefited from an 80/1 winner with Brian Gay at the Humana, advised on Monday, and you can join the list for exclusive early tips from both weekly main events.

There's a possibility that the Qatar Masters will mimic conditions of Abu Dhabi last week in terms of course set-up on a Doha GC track exposed to the elements. Last year we had extremely strong winds here, especially in the first round and despite a moderate forecast, there's a decent chance of a repeat. The event was ultimately played over 54 holes but a certain Gonzalo Fdez-Castano shot an amazing first round -6 to lead after day 1. Fairways are twisty / dog-legged and very hard to hit when it gusts and dependng on the depth of the rough (fair according to David Horsey), we may see a tough challenge in Qatar. Premium will be very much on driving ability on a course stretching over 7,400 yards, and expect those who featured last week to dominate the leaderboard once more

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Pick #1: 1.5pts ew Branden Grace @ 25/1 Stanjames - six places is simmering now off the back of two strong finishes the last couple of weeks. A final round -7 in Abu Dhabi brought us a place and again, his ability with the driver when on form stands out for the Doha track. Grace hit a second round 68 here last year and if he starts fast he should be a big factor.

Pick #2: 1pt ew Gonzalo Fdez Castano ew @ 40/1 Stanjames - six places as mentioned put on a brilliant show here last year, eventually finishing eighth. Yesterday he said on Twitter that he loves the course in response to Sky Sports' Dave Tindall and it's hardly surprising as he is one of the best ball strikers in the game. Warmed up with a top 10 in Abu Dhabi last week and his tee to green game should stand him in good stead at the Qatar Masters.

Pick #3: 1pt ew Rafa Cabrera Bello ew @ 55/1 (Coral) is a player capable of going low when on song and there are signs of late that his game is bubbling under the surface. Following the theme of good drivers of the golf ball, Rafa closed out the weekend last week with two rounds in the sixties and also has previous at the Qatar Masters having banked a third place in 2011.

Pick #4: 0.5pts ew Victor Dubuisson @ 80/1 (general) The big hitting Frenchman stands out here having hit two top 10s from two starts. He obviously has a liking for the course and although he missed the cut last week, a return to the Qatar Masters may ignite the Frenchman who can over power courses and go super low on any given day

Pick #5: 0.5pts ew David Howell @ 80/1 Stanjames - six places 2012 saw a resurgence in form for David Howell and now he has designs on "returning to the upper echelons" of the golfing world. A fine performance last week in Abu Dhabi saw Howell challenge for victory only to come unstuck down the stretch. Showing progressive form of T12 and T6 in his last two events, "Howeller" also knows how to get around Doha GC, with a fifth and seventh place finish here in last five years. Top putter averaging under the 30 mark every year.

Pick #6: 0.5pts ew Chris wood @ 90/1 Stanjames - six places Horses for courses and Chris Wood has posted a couple of top 20s in the last three years at the Qatar Masters. A fine wind player and averaged over 290 yards from the tee last year combined with a fairways hit rate 0f 62%. Wood also posted a string of top fifteens pre christmas and could be set for a big year.

Qatar Masters First round leader: Chris Wood and Mark Foster tee it up early on day one, are capable of starting fast, and are my long odds ones to watch on day 1 this week. 0.5 units ew on each at 80/1 and 125/1 respectively.

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