Starts: 11th March 2021
Course: Education City GC, Qatar
Par: 71 (36-35)
Length: 7,307 yards
2020 Champion: Jorge Campillo
Overall Profit/Loss: -12.5 pts
Pre-Event Bets: -7.5pts
0.75pts EW Garrick Higgo (1/5 1-8) - 80/1 @ Ladbrokes
0.5pts EW Pablo Larrazabal (1/5 1-7) - 90/1 @ Betfair
0.5pts EW Jorge Campillo (1/5 1-6) - 100/1 @ Betfred
0.5pts EW Wade Ormsby (1/5 1-8) - 100/1 @ Ladbrokes
0.5pts EW Benjamin Hebert (1/5 1-7) - 100/1 @ Betfair
0.5pts EW Renato Paratore (1/5 1-6) - 125/1 @ Unibet
0.5pts EW John Catlin (1/5 1-7) - 125/1 @ Skybet
In-Play Bets: -5pts
12 March 2021 (-3pts)
0.75pts EW Alexander Bjork (1/4 1-5) - 250/1 @ Bet365
0.75pts EW Brandon Stone (1/4 1-5) - 300/1 @ Skybet
13 March 2021 (-2pts)
0.5pts EW Julian Suri (1/4 1-4) - 100/1 @ Skybet
0.5pts EW Grant Forrest (1/5 1-5) - 300/1 @ Betfair
Designer: Jose Maria Olazabal
Type of Course: Desert
Used Since: 2020
Fairways: Average width
Greens: Sizeable, contoured
Water Hazards: On over 50% of holes
Par 5's: 2nd, 6th, 13th.
Premium on: Wind/desert form
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
The tour returns to UAE after a few weeks break. Education City GC was a new venue in 2020 so we only have one tournament to go on.
The field strength was poor last year due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
Sunny all four days with temperatures peaking around 29 degrees Celsius in the late afternoon. Currently due to be windiest day on Friday reaching 17mph.
Sunny and strong breeze. Winds of 7-13mph,
Showers and moderate breeze. Winds of 11-17mph.
Sunny and moderate breeze. Winds of 11-14mph.
Sunny and moderate breeze. Winds of 8-12mph.
Campillo won last year with -13. It should be noted the field strength wasn't great though.
Campillo ranked 125th in the world when winning last year.
Doha Golf Course is not far from this new venue and has similarities. We should look for comfortable desert golfers in the first instance. Perhaps a coincidence but three of last year's top 6 had a previous top 5 finish at the Tshwane Open. It's even more notable when you consider George Coetzee finished 7th here last year and is a 2x Tshwane Open winner.
N/A - everyone was making their debut last year.
Campillo arrived with form MC-67-MC-MC. Drysdale, who he defeated in a playoff arrived after two missed cuts. The best finish of anyone in the top 6 the previous week in Oman was 30th. On one years evidence, form is not essential.
2020 was a European dominated leaderboard - only 1 out of the top 20 was non-European. South Africans have a good record in Qatar though, with 5 winners since 1998.
As the course was first used in 2020, we will focus on the stats from that event. From last years ebidence we are looking for a player with a tidy short game.
Last year's winner, Jorge Campillo, ranked 99th in this category and runner up David Drysdale ranked 74th.
SG: Off The Tee
Campillo and Drysdale ranked 62nd and 41st. Good drivng isn't essential.
The top two ranked 56th and 72nd last year. It os possible to do well without hitting your irons well.
SG: Around The Green
Campillo was 5th and Drysdale 24th. A solid short game is essential.
Campillo was 17th and Drysdale 4th. Look for a strong putter this week.
Long par 3 9th played by far the hardest hole in 2020. Par 4's 17th and 18th were the next two toughest holes, both averaging 4.16.
The three par 5s (2nd, 6th and 13th), played the easiest last year and need to be taken advantage of. Par 4's 5th, 10th and 14th played next easiest.
Fast or Slow Start
Three of the top 5 were in the top 10 after round 1. Four of them were within 4 shots of the lead. A strong start looks preferable here.
The 17th and 18th rank among the three toughest holes on the course. 15 and 16 also ranked in the top 9 toughest so it's a difficult closing stretch.
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Qatar Masters In-Play Blog
13 March 2021, 7pm
Viewers were treated to another entertaining round of golf in Qatar with the leaders battling for pars all the way in extreme winds. Only four players broke par including leader Darren Fichardt who finished strongly to card a 70.
Fichardt, aged 45, used all his experience despite a run of bogey-double bogey midway through his back nine. He recovered fantastically with two birdies and even missed a short birdie putt on 18 to extend his lead.
With four European Tour wins (one of which was in Qatar in 2003) and two African Tour wins in 2020, Fichardt is going to take some beating now, and odds of 5/2 are quite tempting. He has far more experience than his closest rivals Senior and Bhullar and is playing some of the most consistent golf of his career with only one missed cut in 2020.
Senior is a two time Challenge Tour winner and had a 4th place finish in South Africa at the start of 2020. However, he is short enough at 7/1.
The bookmakers rate Antoine Rozner the most likely to catch Fichardt after he shot a 68 - joint best round of the day. He is without a doubt a big danger and the bookmakers agree, pricing him up at 7/1.
Donaldson and Detry are probably more likely to win from off the pace so this may suit them, but we can’t back them 10/1 and 12/1 respectively.
Bhullar is a fair price at 14/1 considering he’s alone in 3rd and won an Indian Tour event as recent as December. He has nine wins worldwide since 2009 and a 2nd place finish on the European Tour.
The wind is not forecast to blow like Friday and Saturday with 13mph expected.
Our 66/1 play, Brandon Stone, is four shots back and our pre-event 100/1 play Jorge Campillo has an outside chance of defending from five back. With no prices jumping out at us we will cheer those two on, but the expectation is that Fichardt should be able to hold on.
- No Bets
12 March 2021, 7:50pm
As expected, the wind caused major problems for the field today, with the afternoon players experiencing the worst of it. The halfway leader Jeff Winther shot a joint best of the day 67 and now leads by two shots over five players.
The Dane finished 3rd here last year and expressed how much he loves this course after his round, stating that he finds the greens easy to putt on. He may not find the putts quite as easy the rest of the weekend though as he carries the pressure of chasing his first European Tour win. In our opinion, the 7/1 favourite should be taken on.
There are thirteen players on 5 and 6 under par so this remains a typically hard European Tour puzzle to solve. The bookmakers agree, with nine players priced up between 7/1 and 20/1. One of those players is our 66/1 in-play pick Brandon Stone and we are optimistic he can continue his progress tomorrow. Our pre-event pick, Garrick Higgo, remains in the hunt too and can hopefully move himself up the leaderboard in round three.
We’re in store for another wild and windy day tomorrow in Doha with the current forecast suggesting 18mph winds. It will calm down a touch for Sunday at 13mph. We’re therefore reluctant to get involved in anyone under 20/1 at this stage and look for more value further down.
- 0.5PTS Each Way (1/4 1-4) Julian Suri 100/1 @ Skybet
Julian is 4 shots off the lead after a terrific 68 in the worst of the weather this afternoon. That in itself tells us he will be able to manage the wind this weekend and he is one that often pops up in these conditions – similar to Matthieu Pavon who narrowly misses out. Julian had no top 10’s in 2020 but was a top 100 golfer as recently as 2019 so this may be the perfect opportunity for him to rediscover his quality.
- 0.5PTS Each Way (1/5 1-5) Grant Forrest 250/1 @ Betfair
Grant is 5 shots back at 3 under par so has a bit of work to do but he proved at the Golf in Dubai Championship at the end of last year that he could finish fast (he shot a Sunday 63 to finish 6th). Many of his best finishes are on wind exposed tracks – 14th in Portugal, 10th in Oman and 4th in Mauritius. He is quite a hit and miss type player to back but at 250/1 he is worth a small investment.
11 March 2021, 7:40pm
David Law has the 1st round lead after a bogey free 64. He ranked 1st for putting and scrambling today, and his iron game was also strong as he finished 9th for approach. Bookmakers still rate him an outside chance at 35/1 and that is probably about right given his form of late.
Since his win at the Vic Open in early 2019, he has not managed a top 10. Although it has to be said, that win in Australia was in severely windy conditions and the forecast suggests it will blow all weekend.
Thomas Detry is the only player within two of the lead that is in the world's top 100, although our pre-event selection Garrick Higgo is just outside at 107th. George Coetzee and Kalle Samooja also demand respect at the front of the market, however given the weather forecast, we won’t be touching anyone at short odds at this stage.
The current forecast is for 17mph winds tomorrow, 19mph on Saturday and 14mph on Sunday. Early starters tomorrow should gain an advantage with winds lesser in the morning.
Therefore, we are looking for early starters tomorrow, who are competent wind players.
- 0.75pts Each Way Alexander Bjork 50/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
Alexander is currently 3 under par, four shots off the lead. He has a low ball flight which is perfect for the challenge ahead. The Swede tailed off towards the end of 2020 but he did record a 3rd at The Hero Open and a 6th here in Qatar earlier in the year. A winner in China in 2018, he has top 10’s all over the world and enough pedigree to make a challenge over the weekend.
- 0.75pts Each Way Brandon Stone 66/1 @ Skybet (1/4 1-5)
Brandon is one shot further back at 2 under par. He ranked highly for putting yesterday which interests us as it can sometimes be a weakness for him. Usually, he has a strong tee to green game so if he can find his usual ball striking he can climb the leaderboard. He is a fine wind player and also has a strong record in the desert, evidenced by his 2nd place finish in Dubai earlier this year. Brandon played the WGC two weeks ago which demonstrates his ability in comparison to this field, take a chance the South African can get off to a fast start tomorrow morning.