Course Designer: Peter Harradine
Fairways: Wider than average
Water Hazards: Featured throughout
Par 5's: 3rd, 8th, 14th, 18th
Hosted Since: 2022
Premium on: Length
Warm and sunny all four days. Wind picks up slightly in the afternoon each day.
Thurs: Sunny. Max wind 12mph.
Fri: Sunny. Max wind 11mph.
Sat: Sunny. Max wind 11mph.
Sun: Sunny. Max wind 14mph.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
- This is a new event on the DP World Tour. However, the course did host a Challenge Tour event between 2016-2018 and also hosted the Ras al Khaimah Championship last week.
- Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
- There was a significant draw bias over the opening two rounds last week. Only two of the top 14 at halfway played PM-AM.
Last week the winning score was -24. Between 2016 and 2018, the winning scores were -17, -15 and -20. We'd expect to see scoring around -20 this week given conditions and course setup.
Nicolai Hojgaard came into last week on the back of two missed cuts. Two of the three winners of the Challenge Tour events played here were in good form prior to their win. Only Jordan Smith came in when out of form (missed his two previous cuts).
The three Challenge Tour events hosted here have generated three different nationalities. A Spaniard, a Swede and an Englishman have won here. Hojgaard is Danish.
SG: Off The Tee
The first two home last week at the Ras al Khaimah Championship ranked 1st and 2nd for SG: Off The Tee.
Only two of the top 6 last week ranked inside the top 10 for SG: Approach. Favour driving over approach play.
SG: Around The Green
None of the top 6 were in the top 10 in this category.
Only two of last week's top 6 were in the top 15 for SG: Putting.
The 9th and 10th play as the toughest holes on the scorecard.
The first five holes will see plenty of birdies and we should expect players starting on the first tee to get off to a hot start.
Fast or Slow Start
Nicolai Hojgaard was two shots back after the opening round last week. Adri Arnaus won the Challenge Tour event in 2018 when shooting a 66 in round 1 to jointly lead. In contrast, Jens Dantorp was 7 shots back in 2017 when he opened with a 71. Finally, Jordan Smith won in 2016 when firing an opening 69 to lie four back after the opening round.
The last hole is a 576 yard par 5. It is a real risk or reward par 5 as water runs all the way down the right hand side. A great finishing hole!
“It’s a great place with amazing weather and the golf course is stunning." Sebastian Soderberg, 2018
“This is my first time in Ras Al Khaimah and I’m really impressed with the place. Al Hamra Golf Club is really nice; it’s a good course with a great design and has been kept in really good shape. You need to hit it long and straight as it’s a long course but it’s really special.” Antoine Rozner, 2018
“Not a day goes by where I don’t think about how important my Ras Al Khaimah win was in getting me to where I am today.” Jordan Smith, 2017
"I’m feeling good. The weather is perfect, the course is perfect, I love the course – it sets up perfectly for me I think. It’s very fair and if you play well off the tee you make it a lot easier. The greens are quite small, if you miss them it can be difficult to get up and down because there’s lots of grain outside the green, but if you play well you can score low." Francesco Laporta, 2017
"The course is quite young I think but the design is very fun to play because you can make a lot of birdies but there’s strategy involved and you have to be patient too. You have to be aggressive round here too, which is my natural game too – it suits me perfectly because I don’t have to change my style, I like that. It’s a really fun place to play, and I played really well, I liked the course, so that’s two really good rounds to start this event and we will now have to see how the weekend goes.” Romain Langasque, 2016
"The course is good and quite long, which is nice for me – I’m not short off the tee so I think that’s quite an advantage this week." Joel Stalter, 2016
"Everyone I have spoken to has said that the course this week is really nice. They have told me it is really wide and long, which doesn’t suit me too much." Steven Brown, 2016
"It feels very similar to that win in Egypt – Ras Al Khaimah and this course remind me a lot of that week, which is probably a good thing. I sweat just as much as anybody else but the heat seems to suit me." Jordan Smith, 2016
Players We Almost Backed
NOTE - These are players who we shortlisted for this event but ultimately didn't advise to subscribers. If you want to find out who we did tip, you can subscribe using the link below.
Romain Langasque 33/1
Strong driving stats once again last week despite a missed cut. The MC didn't overly worry us considering his good Challenge Tour record at Al Hamra but others just preferred.
Francesco Laporta 90/1
A player to follow when in form, Francesco has the Nappy Factor and is due a win soon. Again, others marginally preferred.
Maverick Antcliff 175/1
Another player who has a tendency to maintain form, we would have preferred 200/1+.
2022 Ras al Khaimah Championship In-Play Blog
12 February 2022, 6:55pm (UK time)
Three birdies in his last six holes has given Ryan Fox a commanding six shot lead heading into the final round of the Ras al Khaimah Classic.
Fox described all aspects of his game as under control and he's now a best price of 4/11 to convert. He'll no doubt feel some nerves on the first tee tomorrow as he tries to win a strokeplay event for the first time since 2016.
Fox hasn't been in serious contention for several years now and although he finished 2nd at the 2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open, he came from off the pace to do so. It would be a surprise to see him shoot over par in tomorrow's final round and that means the challengers need at least a round of 65 or better.
Adrian Meronk and Adri Arnaus are joint second favourites in the betting at 14/1 and it is Arnaus who we will be cheering on. We put the Spaniard up pre-event at 25/1 and it looked like he was set to challenge Fox in round 3 after playing his first three holes in four under par. Three dropped shots between the 5th and 9th meant the closest he could get to the Kiwi was six shots.
Last week's event at this course saw Nicolai Hojgaard go into the final round with a three shot lead. Hojgaard would eventually win by four shots but he was caught early on the back nine by Jordan Smith. It's debatable whether we see anyone catch Fox given how well he's played this week. He's bounced back with a birdie each time he's dropped a shot this week and he's made at least six birdies every round this week. Stranger things have happened though.
Weather for the 4th round will be sunny intervals with the wind reaching a max of 14mph .
Round 4 Bet
With pre-event interest on Adri Arnaus, we're happy to cheer him on and see him as the most likely challenger to Fox. Scott Jamieson (2/1) to win his three ball was a tempting selection but we decided against it in the end due to the threat posed by Adrian Meronk.
11 February 2022, 6:20pm (UK time)
|Six players tied
Ryan Fox continues to lead and has now opened up a three shot lead with 36 holes to go.
As we mentioned yesterday, we backed Fox last week at 35/1 as he went on to miss the cut. The Kiwi revealed today he had been struggling with a back injury last week but now feels able to get through the ball after physio.
Odds of 5/2 seem a little on the short side considering his lack of recent winning experience (he last won a strokeplay competition in 2016). It's an extremely bunched leaderboard and we're expecting a few low scores on Moving Day. It wouldn't be a surprise to see his lead trimmed tomorrow.
If you take Ryan Fox out of the equation, 75 players are separated by only six shots. The players at three under par have Dan Huizng to thank after he bogeyed his last hole to move the cut from -4 to -3. Should Fox stumble it's not inconceivable we see a player make a move from even that far back. Oliver Bekker shot a 62 today after all.
We have three pre-event picks in the group at seven under par and are very much hoping they can make a move tomorrow. With a bunched leaderboard we're making a few extra selections at large odds with the each way places firmly in mind.
Weather for the 3rd round will be sunny with the wind reaching a max of 11mph .
Round 3 Bets
- 0.5pts Each Way Jazz Janewattananond 125/1 @ Skybet (1/4 1-4)
Jazz was one of our pre-event selections at 150/1 and we're happy to top up at the generous odds offered by Skybet. He narrowly missed out at the Kenya Savannah Classic in March last year when firing rounds of 65-64 over the weekend and he'll probably need similar scores this week to stand a chance of winning. He's a six time winner on the Asian Tour and more than capable of challenging for this title over the weekend.
- 0.5pts Each Way Sami Valimaki 300/1 @ Skybet (1/4 1-4)
Sami shot a disappointing opening round of 73 but bounced back in round 2 with a 65. He's six shots behind as it stands but only three back if Ryan Fox should stumble. His driving has been strong the first two days and we saw an improvement in his iron play in round 2. Odds of 300/1 are just too big for a player who has won in the Middle East before and is capable of bursts of low scoring.
- 0.25pts Each Way Callum Shinkwin 1000/1 @ Betfred (1/4 1-4)
Callum was another of our pre-event selections and is out in the 2nd group tomorrow in what should be the best of conditions. His long game has been solid so far this week, ranking 5th SG: Off The Tee and also gaining strokes with his approach shots (47th SG: Approach). At 3 under par, he obviously needs two fantastic rounds to stand any chance of winning but he's only six shots off the each way places and for that reason, we're happy to chance the 1000/1. (Oliver Fisher is also worth considering for much the same reasons as Shinkwin and we wouldn't put you off a very small bet on him at 2500/1 at Bet365)
10 February 2022, 5:20pm (UK time)
|Nine players tied
A sparkling 63 from Ryan Fox was enough to open up a two shot lead over Ricardo Gouveia and a three shot lead over the rest of the chasing pack.
Annoyingly, we put up Fox as last week's headline selection and watched in dismay as he putted terribly and missed the cut. It'll be a huge disappointment if goes wire to wire here this week.
The New Zealander hasn't won a strokeplay event since 2016 and whilst we do think he's a good fit for this course, we aren't interested in the 5/1 on offer now.
Robert MacIntyre is a clear 2nd favourite in the betting at 10/1 and has to be respected. He spoke in his post round interview about "the need to get out of his own way" and that appeared to be working as he shot a five under par 67. If pushed, we'd probably prefer the 10/1 on MacIntyre to the 5/1 on Fox at this stage.
Richard Bland (16/1) is the only other player sub 30/1 in what is a very open event.
Last week, we saw Nicolai Hojgaard up with the pace (2 shots behind) after round 1 before going on to win. We've also seen in previous years on the Challenge Tour that players can come from behind when winning here (see Preview tab).
Weather for the 2nd round will be sunny with the wind reaching a max of 10mph.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Francesco Laporta 33/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-5)
Francesco was on our shortlist pre-event due to a strong driving performance last week. It was the putter that was the basis for his opening 67 but we're happy to take the chance that his driving returns to last week's levels. Odds of 33/1 are fair for a player who is only three shots off the lead and has a morning tee time tomorrow.