One last stop in the Arabian Peninsula completes the European Tour’s desert swing. This week the field attacks a brand new course for the playing of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. This event has undergone a number of changes over the years with a different slot on the schedule affecting the prize pool and field strength. And for the first time since its inaugural playing the event has a different host. The Education City Golf Club takes over duties from Doha with many in the field getting their first look at the new venue. Justin Harding returns as the defending champ, but many are wondering if another big underdog can pull through like Sami Valimaki did in Oman. Odds suggest a wide open field with a number of tantalizing matchups. Visit BookMaker.eu for a complete list of tournament matchup odds and to place your wager.
Pablo Larrazabal +107 vs. Jason Scrivener -137
Connor Syme +122 vs. Kalle Samooja -153
Scott Jamieson -173 vs. Rasmus Hojgaard +137
Min Woo Lee +120 vs. Justin Harding -150
Gavin Green -104 vs. Haotong Li -126
Alexander Levy -141 vs. Clement Sordet +111
George Coetzee +120 vs. Jordan Smith -150
Zander Lombard -176 vs. Sami Valimaki +140
Guido Migliozzi -117 vs. Marcus Kinhult -113
Sam Horsfield -131 vs. Dean Burmester +101
Matthias Schwab -117 vs. Joost Luiten -113
Martin Kaymer -130 vs. Robert MacIntyre +100
Romain Langasque -134 vs. Nicolas Colsaerts +104
Joost Luiten -121 vs. Thomas Detry -109
Mikko Korhonen -140 vs. Eddie Pepperell +110
Ross Fisher +100 vs. Haotong Li -130
Gavin Green -120 vs. Ross Fisher -110
Alejandro Canizares +109 vs. Matthieu Pavon -139
Matthew Jordan -109 vs. Grant Forrest -121
Brandon Stone +122 vs. Benjamin Hebert -153
Martin Kaymer -118 vs. Thomas Pieters -112
Paul Waring -154 vs. Adri Arnaus +123
Andy Sullivan -118 vs. Victor Dubuisson -112
Matthias Schwab -122 vs. Thomas Detry -108
Thomas Pieters -124 vs. Robert MacIntyre -106
Need to Know
As mentioned in the opening the field takes on a brand new course this week. Education City Golf Club opened in 2018 and there are a lot of unknowns. It appears to be a standard desert layout that doesn’t play overly long at 7,307 yards and par 71. Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal designed the course with an emphasis on iron play I’m sure. Nothing about the venue stands out, but give it time. It’s a gorgeous layout that will present new challenges to the field. Two par 3 holes measure at around 210 yards and there are several short par 4s. It’s not all gravy, though. With a number of sizable and deep bunkers, water hazards protecting the greens, and thick fairway rough it’ll be a stiff test for the field. Now let’s get to the important stuff. I had a great week on my matchups in Oman going 4-1 with all the winners placing in the top-10, including plus-odds Clement Sordet. Let’s continue the heater this week.
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Matchup Picks
Martin Kaymer -130 vs. Robert MacIntyre
Since we know so little about the course and how it plays, looking at results in the desert is important. One player who has fared well in those elements is Kaymer. The former World No. 1 is a big fan of desert golf and he has the numbers to back it up. He grabbed a top-10 last week and has placed among the top-16 in his four starts in Arabia this season. It’s been six years since he played in this event, but he likes a challenge that the new course will bring. “I’m always looking at ways to challenge myself and to ultimately improve my game,” he said.
Alejandro Canizares +109 vs. Matthieu Pavon
Canizares is trending in the right direction which makes him a solid play this week. Following a MC in his first start in 2020 he followed with a T15 at the Vic Open and grabbed a share of sixth in Oman last week with strong iron play. Continuing that should put him in line for a matchup win against a struggling Pavon. Canizares isn’t a fixture on the desert swing, but he’s played in Qatar several times nabbing a T5 and 8th in consecutive starts a few years ago.
Joost Luiten -121 vs. Thomas Detry
Luiten has been as solid as anyone on Tour not missing a cut anywhere since last July. He still needs to have a breakthrough to regain any hopes of Ryder Cup consideration, though, and this is a good event for him to do that. He had a strong defense of his title in Oman with a T10 and was cruising through 54 holes until a Sunday 75 moved him down the leaderboard. He hasn’t played in Qatar since finishing a back-to-back T13-T21 in 2017, but he does enjoy playing in the desert.
Eddie Pepperell +110 vs. Mikko Korhonen
We haven’t seen Pepperell in over a month, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since it was his decision. Another player with hopes of competing in the Ryder Cup, Pepperell needs to focus and start making a move up the rankings, that’s why he took some time off. He won this tournament two years ago at Doha Golf Club and started moving in a positive direction with a T11 at the Dubai Desert Classic. A Sunday 76 that weekend hasn’t sat well over the last several weeks and Pepperell is looking to make amends.
George Coetzee +120 vs. Jordan Smith
I seriously considered Coetzee for the individual title based on recent form and the fact that South African players traditionally do well in Qatar. But this is a new course so I held off. It was also a tough call in this matchup with Smith one of the better desert players right now. Again, though, a new venue wipes the slate clean. And it’s hard to pass on Coetzee at plus-odds. Coetzee had three top-8s in his last four turns at Doha and is coming off a T6 in Oman, so his desert game is in a good place.
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