Straight back to the grind this morning after what proved to be a tense final 18 with Patrick Reed at Humana. It's onto the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters - which starts Wednesday - where we're looking to make it a Doha GC hat-trick of wins on the spin after previous Paul Lawrie (50/1) and Chris Wood (90/1) successes. In fact you may spot a familiar theme when I'm dissecting the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters field this week.
Tipster comp: win a £100 free bet this week with Stanjames
Free Bets: Up to £200 in golf bets with Bet365
Peter Harradine is the course designer at Doha and if you didn't already know, he's also the man behind last week's venue in Abu Dhabi. I always say the Qatar Masters at Doha GC is like an extension of the Abu Dhabi Championship course, and being played immediately after, you won't be too surprised when I tell you the leaderboards can often resemble that of the previous week on the Desert swing....
Follow me on Twitter: @Nicspicks for more insight throughout the week
Nicspicks' man to beat: Peter Hanson 28/1
Market #negatives: Sergio Garcia 15/2; George Coetzee 28/1; Robert Karlsson 30/1
Note: Many of you will know I'm George Coetzee's biggest fan (ala Jimmy Walker State-side) but despite just missing out at the 2013 Qatar Masters and with a return to form last week, IMO you'd have to be a little mad to back him here sub 30/1. Robert Karlsson was also prominent on the radar before the initial prices came out but given his recent driving "yips" I expected him to be much, much bigger and I'll be passing on this particular big Swede.
Likely to be tipped / backed: Alvaro Quiros 50/1; Big George 30/1; Cabrera Bello 40/1; S. Gallacher 55/1; David Howell 150/1
The Course: Doha GC - Length 7,400yds; par 72
Key features: Dog legs - plenty of corners to be cut from tees. "Lengthy" rough from tee to green. Water hazards feature prominently throughout. Testing par 3s. Wind often a factor. Greens medium speed 11.5' on stimp.
Premium on: Shot shaping from tee and controlling ball flight. Tee to green game: will need to hit fairways to allow access to pins from approaches.
Qatar Masters Shortlist
Pick #1: Peter Hanson 28/1
Course from: 22-2-70-14; Current form: 10-32-10 #simmering
key stats: (2013) Stroke average: 19th; Putts per GIR: 20th
Other: Ideal game for this course. Narrowly missed out in 2012 here. Now in the "world class" bracket. Recovered from injury and if the wind blows, he'll have a big advantage on most.
Pick #2: Ernie Els 55/1
Course from: 73-31-3-13-1; Current form: 29-11
key stats: n/a
Other: Plays in marquee grouping with Hanson and Kaymer. Excellent wind player and ball striker.
He said: "I’ve always enjoyed the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters as the Middle East has beautiful weather at this time of year and I enjoy the course layout at Doha Golf Club"
Pick #3: Stephen Gallacher 55/1
Course from: 59-mc-12-49-16; Current form: 38-29-8 #progressive
key stats: 21st in GIR% 2013
Other: Two top 10s here in 02/04. Winner of the 3rd stop on the desert swing this time last year with an impeccable performance #Bio-rhythms; Out with Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and will be eager to impress. Excellent ball striker and wind competent.
Pick #4: Shane Lowry 100/1
Course from: mc-24; Current form: mc-44-39
key stats: n/a
Other: Followed him at the Irish Open and was surprised to see just how good a ball striker he was (upstaged Rory). Short putts let him down that week but an excellent wind player and a lot of similarities with my reasoning for Chris Wood last year here.
Pick #5: David Howell 150/1
Course from: 22-mc-5 Current form: 37-24
key stats: 11th in putts per GIR in 2013 and back to his best with the flat stick
Other: 4/5 top 10s here from 2002-2008 and showing some of that form of old lately. Simply looks too big a price in the relative field given course form. Also fits into the #nappyfactor category! Returned to winners enclosure at the Dunhill Links last year and is well equipped if it blows.
Best of the rest: Danny willett 80/1; Top 10 chances: C. Lee (175), S. Hansen (175), A. Sullivan (200)
Qatar Masters Finalised staking plan
1.25u ew P.Hanson @ 28/1(Boyles, Coral)
0.75u ew E. Els @ 55/1 (Stans)
0.75u ew S. Gallacher @ 55/1 (Bet365, Stans)
0.75u ew S. Lowry @ 100/1 (Coral)
0.75u ew D. Howell @ 150/1 (Boyles)
Come back Tuesday for trading pointers or see the Qatar Masters Betfair market here
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