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Rupert Wyman 25th Jan 2011 - 10:43

Sergio's not a paella of rubbish!

Bahrain's maiden European Tour event takes place on Thursday at the Royal Golf Club. The Volvo Golf Champions tournament features some fantastic names and some major winners. The course was designed with the help of Europe's 2010 winning Ryder cup captain Colin Montgomerie (125/1).

The tournament has a specific qualification criterion that has ensured the field is of the highest quality.  It consists generally only of past winners on the European Tour.  It is the European Tour's newest event and many of the players will be making their 2011 European Tour debuts.

With this special inaugural event taking place this week comes the problem of tipping potential winners. All the players will be desperate for a slice of the €1.7 million prize fund.

Co-designed by Colin Montgomerie, the course is made up of lush fairways that travel through desert terrain.  The course is designed a little like a links course with water hazards dominating the final holes.

One player looking to shine on Monty's course will be one of his 2010 Ryder Cup players Jimenez (20/1). He had a golden year in 2010 and he won three events on the Tour. He started slowly in Abu Dhabi last week but he hit a fantastic 66 in his final round to finish tied for eleventh. He has won in the United Arab Emirates before and he claimed the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February last year.

He will be fresh after his winter break and the flamboyant Spaniard is 17/10 for a top ten finish. The Welshman Rhys Davies (66/1) was fantastic in the months of March and April on the Tour last year. His good form started with a strong performance at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, when he finished tied for sixth.

He tailed off at the end of last season but he probably needed a break. He is a player of exceptional talent who helped out at the Ryder Cup in a non-playing role. It is a fantastic field but he could be a cracking each-way punt at 66/1. He is here on merit and deserved his maiden win in the Trophee Hassan II last year.

Another player itching to get his first win of 2011 will be Harrington (12/1). He is one of golf's most well known tinkerers, he has made significant changes to his swing during the winter break and he has recovered well from his persistent neck injury. He has won three majors and he believes he is fitter than ever.

He was unfortunate to be disqualified after signing his scorecard wrong at the Abu Dhabi Championship last week after a viewer emailed a rules infraction to tournament officials, this is another grey area in golf.  He will be desperate to put things right this week and after a poor 2010, this could be his year.

Another player that will be looking to improve on his form in 2010 is Sergio Garcia (25/1). One of the golden boys of golf, he has never quite fulfilled his potential. He has been alarming of late with the putter but the break he took in autumn, has improved his game.  He has won eight times on the Tour and he finished his last two events in 2010 in good form.

His past form in the United Arab Emirates has been solid and he generally falls inside the top-twenty players. I would not go against him to finish in the top-10 at 21/10.

With the likes of Paul Casey (7/1), Karlsson (10/1), Franceso Molinari (10/1) and Poulter (10/1) also taking part, there is wealth on talent on display in Bahrain and we should be in for some high quality golf this week.  However, they will all need to avoid the water hazards on the last four holes or they could be regretting their stop in Bahrain.

 

 
 
 

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