Having gone so close in Durban with Scott Jamieson the week before, the blog quickly established some early profit for the season when Jamie Donaldson duly obliged in Abu Dhabi at 60/1 with Betpack/Stanjames/Paddypower. Part 2 of the Desert Swing tees off in Qatar on Wednesday (not the usual Thursday) to allow the locals to support on Friday & Saturday so if placing bets make sure to do so tomorrow as the event starts Wednesday morning at 3:30 GMT. This event has not been kind to me the past couple of seasons and my notes from last year suggested avoiding this year if weather conditions suggested doing so. However, I feel a bit like a player who has just grabbed the honour on a 220 yd par 3 over water this week as I have received alot of messages and tweets following the 60/1 win with kind words of congratulations. Thanks all and lets hope we can add to the bank again this week.(and make birdie on that par3!). Speaking of twitter, I did ask local Doha PGA Pro, Steven Troup via twitter this morning what the weather forecast would be for the week and Steve informs me that it will be "Beautiful v slight wind fcast for much the same all week. Rough not as thick as prev .." (You can follow me on @birdieclubtips and Steve on @stroup1) . So then, if the wind,as in previous years, does not show itself, the course could be there for the big hitters and therefore the players at the head of the betting must be considered.
Of the leading players I like Jason Dufner & Martin Kaymer. The latter never really got going in Abu Dhabi but is definitely getting back to his best. He definitely needs to get a low one early if he is to win soon. Dufner has been a bit of a surprise to me on his recent events outside of America with a 2nd in Perth and a top 10 last week. And because of those performances I think he can go well this week now having settled in. At 16/1, he just about gets my attention ahead of Martin.
I like the chances of former winner, Henrik Stenson this week as well. But for a poor 76 in round 3 last week, the Swede would have been in contention or at least recorded a top 10. He is a recent winner in South Africa and despite poor results here in Doha the past 2 years, he has recorded a win , 3x 2nds and a 7th the previous 5 years. He will be looking forward to it this week and I look forward to getting a run at 33/1 with him.
My third selection this week is Thorbjorn Olesen. I tipped him in Durban 2 weeks ago and he almost made a playoff with Donaldson on Sunday last. He will bring that confidence with him this week and if he drives as well he did last week I'm sure he will make plenty of opportunities to score. At 30/1 also, the Dane makes the staking plan.
I am adding a 4th player this week in the shape of Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson. Two top10s here the past 2 years should mean he likes the course. His performances last year from 20 events saw him make top 10 on 5 occasions and appears to be improving all the time, despite a missed cut (only just) last week and at 80/1, he is added to the lineup for this week.
TIP 1: 2 pts WIN J.Dufner @ 16/1
TIP 2: 1 pt e/w H.Stenson @ 33/1
TIP 3: 1 pt e/w T.Olesen @ 30/1
TIP 4: 0.5 pts V.Dubuisson @ 80/1