By News Team
27th January 2021
After his impressive display at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, it’s unsurprising that Tyrrell Hatton is a warm order to go back-to-back at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week. The Englishman, the 7/1 favourite, looks to hold strong claims of following up last week’s win, but could a couple of compatriots spoil the party?
Here’s our preview ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
Time is right for Wallace
There’s no way of getting around the fact that if Hatton brings the same sort of form to Dubai as he brought to Abu Dhabi then he’ll be very tough to beat. To play like he did, being paired in the final group with Rory McIlroy, was incredibly impressive and given he’s gone back-to-back in the past, there’s no reason to suggest he’s not a massive player again. The only real negative is that winning takes plenty out of you and he might be feeling a touch of mental and physical fatigue here. However, that’s a very small blot in the copybook and plenty will think there is enough juice in the 7/1.
Hatton is most certainly the one to beat, but if you’re looking for a bit more value then look no further than MATT WALLACE at 20/1, who could easily make it back-to-back victories for English players. The 30-year-old, seeking his fifth European Tour win this week, has become one of the tour’s most solid players. He rattled off three wins in 2018 – a sequence which many thought would gain him a spot in the Ryder Cup, but he wasn’t picked, and you feel that knocked his confidence somewhat and he’s been winless since.
The lack of a win in over a year has perhaps been more of a hindrance to him than many others and you just feel he needs to be a little less hard on himself and that elusive victory will come. And Wallace will think that this week’s test in Dubai represents a perfect opportunity to do just that given his impressive record in the desert. He finished second in this event in 2019 and he also posted a runner-up finish in the Golf in Dubai Championship at the back end of the last season. With this being a Ryder Cup year, Wallace will want to do everything he can to get into the side at Whistling Straits and based on his interviews last week, he seems very focussed on making the team. He showed in Abu Dhabi the game is in great shape with a solid seventh-placed finish and that cherished win could easily come a week later in Dubai.
Keep an eye on Casey
It could also be worth adding PAUL CASEY to the staking plan at 22/1. It’s interesting he makes the long journey over to Dubai for the first time since 2014, but if his form prior to the seven-year hiatus is anything to go by, he’s got to be a big player too. In seven starts at the Dubai Desert Classic, he’s only failed to finish out of the top 20 once, so it’s clearly a course Casey enjoys. The long journey over from America is obviously a slight concern, but he’s a seasoned professional these days and he’ll be well used to having to adjust to jet lag.
We hadn’t seen Casey since he finished in a tie for 38th at the Masters, but he showed little signs of rust finishing in a tie for eighth at the American Express. He finished second in SG Tee-To-Green there and if he can arrive with that in Dubai, he’s got to go well. His past performances show this is a layout that sets up well for him and he could very well land a 15th European Tour title this week.