Scot aims to take a hat-trick of Dubai titles
Often dubbed the ‘Major of the Middle East’ there is a strong field at the emirates Golf Club this week for the Dubai Desert Classic.
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher is looking to become only the sixth man in history to win the same tournament three years in a row while Rory McIlroy’s recent form makes him the man to beat.
The favourites for the 2015 Dubai Desert Classic
Since he won this tournament in 2009, Rory McIlroy has never finished outside the top ten and so it’s no surprise that the world number one is the 10/3 favourite this week.
The 24 year-old began his season with a second place finish in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago and his recent record on the European Tour is nothing short of sensational.
McIlroy’s performance in his last six events on The European Tour stretching back to his win at the Open read: second, tied second, tied second, first, first and first. He will take some beating this week.
If you’re looking to back someone with a superb record at the Emirates Golf Club you should look no further than Ryder Cup star Stephen Gallacher. The Scotsman finished second in Dubai in 2012 before returning the following year to take the title by three strokes. In 2014 he then shot 16 under par to retain his title.
Eleven of Gallacher’s last 12 rounds at the Emirates Golf Club have been under par and they include two 63s and a 62. His average round over the last three years has been 67.4 and so he is certainly one to follow at 25/1.
Martin Kaymer contrived to lose a ten shot lead in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago and will want to atone for that performance with a win at 12/1 while Henrik Stenson is available at the same price.
Some outsiders to consider in the betting
It’s been a terrific year so far for Branden Grace and the South African won his sixth European Tour title last weekend. Grace’s win in Qatar followed up his success at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the 26 year old now sits third on the 2015 Race to Dubai.
Grace doesn’t have the best record at this event – he shot two par rounds and missed the cut last year – but he is in excellent form and could go well at 25/1.
Since we started following Eddie Pepperell last autumn he has secured six top ten finishes on the European Tour, five of which would have rewarded an each-way investment. The 24 year old has enjoyed a positive start to 2015, finishing in the top 30 of a high class field in Abu Dhabi and fourth last week in Qatar.
Pepperell was going well a couple of years ago before a final round 78 and he’s surely challenge for a title sooner rather than later. We’re going to stick with him this weekend at 59/1.
Emiliano Grillo was second at this tournament last year and the Argentinean shot the final 56 holes in Qatar last week without a bogey. One of just two European Tour players who hit more than 70 per cent of greens in regulation last season the 22 year old could go well at 44/1.
The late, great Seve Ballesteros won the Dubai Desert Classic back in 1992 after a play-off with Ireland’s Ronan Rafferty. This weekend there could be a very special moment if one of Seve’s boys were to do well.
Javier Ballesteros turned professional in November and will make only his second start on the European Tour this weekend.
The 24 year-old received a special invitation to the tournament in 2014 as the Emirates invited back all former winners and he returns to the desert having missed the cut by three shots last year.
A player from Europe’s third ranked Tour may not have a hope but it would be one heck of a story if he could do well at 950/1.
The 2015 Dubai Desert Classic tees off on Thursday 29 January 2015 at the Emirates Golf Club. Check out all our pre-tournament odds on site now!