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Nic Ladds 2nd Feb 2011 - 13:43

Kaymer to crash Karlsson's defence in Qatar?

Commercialbank Qatar Masters 2011 betting preview

Less than three months after winning the Dubai World Championship, the ever-powerful Robert Karlsson will aim to become the first man to successfully defend the famous Qatar trophy this week at odds of 10/1 in the outright betting.

The 41 year-old former European No.1 may well be on his way back to the top ten in the world and a title defence this week will only bolster that claim, but for the first time in 17 years two Europeans will take centre stage as the world's first and second ranked players for this week's main event, the Commercial Qatar Masters.

Sweden's Robert Karlsson is defending his title this week, but it's world No.1 Lee Westwood (9/1) and tournament favourite Martin Kaymer (13/2) who are set to battle for supremacy in this powerful field of European Tour stars.

Westwood will be making a sixth consecutive appearance in Qatar, though the five previous events have proved fruitless for the current world No.1.

The Brit favourite was only one shot off the lead going into the final day in Qatar last year, but with lady luck not on his side, Westwood cracked the face of his driver and then struggled to find the fairways on day four.

The Englishman though, does believe the course suits his style of play.

"It's a golf course that suits me down to the ground really," said Westwood "When you get rough like Doha, you would say it's a good driver's golf course so I would expect it to suit me."

"It's almost like a Major Championship setup - a US Open - with firm greens and thick rough. With its firm greens, you can get close to the flags but you need to be mentally strong as it is a thinking man's golf course."

So will tournament second favourite Westwood be able to keep it together with world No. 2 Martin Kaymer hot on his heels?

If mental strength is what's required, the test is on.

"There is no pressure as such of being No.1. It was a reward for having played well," said Westwood.

"You get to the top position by being consistent. I'm happy that I have been able to do that. I have learnt not to expect anything. I play each week as it comes. Whoever is good enough will be there at the top."

Kaymer can upset Karlsson, and catch Westwood!

After winning last month's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by 8 shots - his third title there in four years - Germany's Martin Kaymer (13/2) is more than able to steal Westwood's No.1 position this week, though the US PGA Champion is in no rush to usurp Westwood, preferring to concentrate on consistent results.

"My goal is not to become the Number One in the world right now," said the youngster "For me it's just important to play tournaments, to play as good as I can those tournaments, winning those tournaments, and then you know, if I take care of that, then yes, I will become Number One, one day. But at the moment, I'm not focusing on my World Rankings. I know I'm in the top ten, and that's important to me."

The German has struggled in three previous appearances in Qatar, missing the cut in 2008, tying for 31st a year later and finishing 32nd in 2010, so is this the year Kaymer will crash the party?

The 13/2 for Kaymer in the Qatar Masters outright betting may appear a little short considering the previous finishes, but with the German playing the golf of his career, I believe he'll be in the mix come the final round.

All Martin Kaymer needs to claim that World No.1 spot is at least a second-place finish in Qatar, provided Westwood finishes no higher than 22nd that is...

After winning the Volvo Golf Champions tournament in Bahrain last week, Paul Casey (12/1 outright) finally ended a 20-month barren spell on course and hiked his name back up the world rankings. Current world No. 6 Casey should always be considered a danger.

Having spent almost three years inside the world's top ten, the surprise entrant of the week in Qatar has to be Steve Stricker of the United States priced at 22/1 in the Qatar Masters Outright betting.

Following his most recent victory in July 2010 at the John Deer Classic, Stricker opened his 2011 account with consecutive top ten finishes in Hawaii and although this week's appearance will be the American's first in the Middle East, the Wisconsin born hitter may fancy his chances on a Qatar course which provides a particularly stiff test for the usual participants.

For those out there fancying a low-stake each-way punt, Henrick Stenson at 33/1 is worth representing having placed in the Qatar events in 2008 and 2009, so a top 5 finish and therefore an each-way return is far from out of the question this week.

Tournament Winner Outright: Robert Karlsson 13/2

Each-way recommendation: Henrick Stenson priced at 33/1 (1/4 odds a place 1-5)

Winning Margin: With the last three years event's won by a 3-stroke margin. 9/2 for a 3-shot reoccurrence looks a decent price

Previous Qatar Masters winners

2010 Winner - Robert Karlsson | 2009 Winner - Alvaro Quiros | 2008 Winner - Adam Scott |

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