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BlogWho will win at Dubai on Sunday

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

January 30 – February 2, 2014

Emirates G.C.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Par: 72 / Yardage:7,316

Purse: $3.19 Million

with $390,132 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Stephen Gallacher

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know for Sunday’s final round in Dubai

So who is leading?

  • Defending champion Stephen Gallacher looks like he doesn’t want to give up the title as he shot a third round 63 to finish up at 16 under par, two shots better than Rory McIlroy and four better than Brooks Koepka and Thorbjorn Olesen.

What is remarkable about Gallacher leading?

  • It’s the method that he chose to do it, his third round 63 is just a shot below his best round of 62 that was shot in the third round last year in his Omega Dubal Desert Classic victory.  Making last year ever more intriguing, Gallacher shot 63 in his opening round to go along with his 70-62-71 totals.

How did Gallacher he shot 63?

  • He hit 15 of 18 greens and took just 25 putts.  Making the round even more spectacular was the fact that after making pars on his first 7 holes he bogeyed the par 4 8th hole.  After that he went on a tear reeling off 8 birdies, an eagle at 13 and one par at 14, playing his final ten holes in 10 under par.  He said after his round how much he was struggling in the first couple of holes.  When he missed a birdie putt at seven and then bogeyed the 8th he thought “Oh well.”  After that he never missed a single shot, hit a 7-iron to three feet at nine, making the putt and then went on to shot 28 on the back nine.

So  should we just hand Gallacher the trophy?

  • Not really, if history tells us anything it’s hard to go low one day and back it up the next.  Look at Gallacher last year, he opened with a 63 then shot 70, he had a third round 62 followed by a 71.  With Rory McIlroy just two back I would have to think that Gallacher will be thinking about shooting 68, that’s sounds easy but he has to do it.  In the 25 year history of this event nobody has ever won it back to back and it’s only multiple winner is Tiger Woods and Ernie Els.

Talking about Tiger what is up with him?

  • Tiger is like Superman on kryptonite, for the second event in a row he is struggling.  Woods played with Gallacher and had the opposite of days that Gallacher had.  He was one under after 8 and while Gallacher was making birdie on nine, Tiger bogeyed the hole and went on to shot 70, dropping nine shots to Gallacher on their final ten holes.  After opening up with a 68, Tiger shot 73-70 and is T37th, 11 shots back.  Just like in San Diego Woods lost his mojo on the par 5s, he is only 4 under on the four long holes compared to Gallacher and McIlroy who are nine under on the par 5s.  Again every facet of Tiger’s game is subpar, for the week he has only hit 20 of 42 fairways which ranks T56th out of 71 players.  Tiger has only hit 35 of 54 greens, ranked another dismal T57th out of 71 players.  He has taken 85 putts but still it ranks T19th but a key deficiency for Tiger is after going 8 for 8 in scrambling during the first round 68, Tiger has gone 8 for 11 which isn’t bad except for those three missed up and downs if all due to poor sand play, something that he is a star at.

So what does all this mean for Tiger?

  • His game isn’t in great shape.  I have a hunch that just like with Rory McIlroy last year chasing tennis star Caroline Wozniacki around the world, Tiger may be spending more time on the ski slopes with his girlfriend skier Lindsey Vonn.  Both the Emirates and Torrey Pines courses are right up his alley but he hasn’t taken advantage of them now.  Maybe the Emirates has changed but over the years, Woods played the course 20 times competitively between 2001 and 2008, never finished worst than 5th, only shot one round over par (73 in 3rd round, 2008) and was 82 under.  After winning in 2008 he didn’t play again until 2011 in which he opened up with a 71-66, then finishing 72-75.  You tack on his rounds of 68-73-70 with his last two rounds in 2011 he is just two under par.  For those thinking that maybe he will fly home and work on his game to get ready for the Accenture Match Play (which we think is his next start, he could decide not to play in Tucson and play the next week at the Honda near his home) your wrong.  Tiger is flying to India and play in a non-public 18-hole match with Pawan Munjal, the CEO and managing director of Hero Motor Group.  It’s rumored that PGA Tour pro Arjun Atwal will play with them.

We haven’t talked about Rory McIlroy or Brooks Koepka or even Thorbjorn Olesen yet?

  • As for Koepka, after shooting 69-65 and then playing his first 11 holes in three under, he was in the mix.  But Koepka had a weird stretch playing 12 through 15 bogey, birdie, bogey, bogey before finishing off with three pars.  Honestly this has to hurt his confidence, he is a 23 year-old that is playing in Europe for the second straight year and he has shown a lot of promise.  But he hasn’t been able to close it off in the final round, could he do it on Sunday, doubtful.  I really like McIlroy, who not many know suffered a bout of food poisoning after his first round 63 but still shot 70-69.  After a slow start on Saturday in which he had an eagle, a birdie, two pars and two birdies, McIlroy played his last 12 holes with two birdies and 11 pars.  After a stellar first round in which every part of his game got worst on Friday and Saturday, he showed signs of getting stronger on Saturday afternoon.   After his round on Saturday he told the meida “My stomach is better today, still not 100 per cent but it’s better than it was yesterday,”  He has shown a different side the last three months, he didn’t like the way he played last year and seems more devoted and wanting to practice more. It showed with his Australian Open win in December, plus he spent the last part of January in Dubai working on his game.  I feel that by Sunday he will be 100% and ready to go. Last but not least we have Thorbjorn Olesen who finished T3rd last week in Qatar.  He hasn’t won since Sicily in 2012 but he has a good record in the desert.  Along with his T3rd last week in Qatar, he finished T3rd last year in Dubai and T2nd last year in Abu Dhabi, so we know what kind of courses he likes.  He is four shots back of Gallacher and two shots back of McIlroy so you have to think that he needs at least a 65 to do it.  He has only shot 65 or better five times in his career so we have to wonder if he has it in him to go low on Sunday, it’s doubtful but I can see another top-three finish for him.

Below is a list of the top-18 players on the leader board going to 7 under showing how they have done of late to see who has played the best the last two months:

 

Of the top-18 on the Leaderboard, who’s playing the best

Player Qatar Masters Farmers Insurance Abu Dhabi Championship Humana Challenge Volvo Golf Sony Open Hyundai T of C Nelson Mandela Nedbank Challenge Hong Kong Alfred Dunhill South African HSBC Champions
Rory McIlroy
(120 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Dawie Van der walt
(108 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP 33
(17)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
24
(8.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Darren Fichardt
(103 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP 35
(15)
DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
T12
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T37
(4.33)
T61
(0)
Romain Wattel
(97.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Stephen Gallacher
(93 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
Thorbjorn Olesen
(90 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(87 pts)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
Steve Webster
(82 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
T24
(8.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thongchai Jaidee
(73.33 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 9
(15)
DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
Richard Sterne
(24.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T39
(3.67)
Robert Rock
(22.33 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(15.67 pts)
74
(0)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Edoardo Molinari
(6.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T47
(1)
CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
DNP
Brooks Koepka
(3 pts)
T37
(13)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Paul Waring
(-0.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Roope Kakko
(-1.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Damien McGrane
(-13 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Player Qatar Masters Farmers Insurance Abu Dhabi Championship Humana Challenge Volvo Golf Sony Open Hyundai T of C Nelson Mandela Nedbank Challenge Hong Kong Alfred Dunhill South African HSBC Champions
Bernd Wiesberger
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Damien McGrane
(-13 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Roope Kakko
(-1.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Paul Waring
(-0.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brooks Koepka
(3 pts)
T37
(13)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Edoardo Molinari
(6.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T47
(1)
CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(15.67 pts)
74
(0)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Robert Rock
(22.33 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Richard Sterne
(24.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T39
(3.67)
Thongchai Jaidee
(73.33 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 9
(15)
DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

  • Weather won’t play into the final round outlook, the forecast is for perfect conditions with temperatures being 73, very little wind at 10 mph coming out of the west.  So weather won’t play in the outcome.  The conditions of the course is perfect so that also won’t be a problem.
  • As for the players, it’s Gallacher’s tournament to win or loss.  A bit of déjà vu, last year Gallacher shot a third round 62 and had a three shot lead over Richard Sterne and five over Olesen.  He shot a final round 71 which was good enough for a three shot win over Sterne.  He opened with two bogeys, but got lucky when he holed his second shot at 16 to help him to victory.  Still there is a difference between Richard Sterne and Rory McIlroy.  Last year Sterne put early pressure on Gallachaer but shot 38 on the back nine to ease the pressure and make things easier for Gallacher.  That won’t happen on Sunday, McIlroy will be in his face, McIlroy will be stronger and be over his food poisoning and won’t let Gallacher have an easy victory.  If Gallacher shots 68 or lower, he will win.  But if he goes into the back nine struggling he won’t keep up with McIlroy who I see not shooting higher than 68.  As for anyone else after McIlroy, Koepka or Olesen I can’t see it.  For a Molinari or a Rock they would have to shot 64 or under which I can’t see happening in the final round.  So the winner is going to come from the final two groups.

Who should win Dubai on Sunday

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T5 T10 T6 Win CUT T52 CUT

I can’t see nothing stopping this kid, even food poisoning. I see him in Gallacher’s face all day and hitting the right shots at the right time. This could be the springboard to a really great year

Stephen Gallacher

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win T2 T10 T31 CUT T44 T44 T22 T51 T34 T38 CUT

This won’t be as easy as last year’s win. He needs to be able to look Rory in the face and for every good shot Rory hits, he does the same. This could be a big moment for him to step up to a bigger level in the world golf stage. It’s really hard coming back with a low score after shooting 63 on Saturday, but I see him having to shot 68 to have a chance of winning. Two things he has to keep in focus, looking to climb from 67 to the top-50 so that first he gets into the Match Play (should be a shoe in) and getting into the top-50 for a Masters invite.

Best of the rest:

Thorbjorn Olesen

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T3 T42 CUT

Look for another top-three finish, just doesn’t have the game to shot 63 on Sunday. A top-five finish wraps up a invite to the Match Play

Brooks Koepka

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Big event, not winning but if he can slip in with a 2nd or 3rd will elevate him.

Steve Webster

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T7 CUT T48 CUT CUT T54 CUT T41 T11 T24 T28 T32

Just another storyline, he is more about the money than victory so I see him looking for a 2nd or 3rd place finish

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Solid contenders

Robert Rock

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T7 T51 T20 T20 CUT

Past champion, only problem too far back. Could have one of his better finishes in a while

Edoardo Molinari

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T24 CUT T4

Could make up a lot of ground and climb way up in the world rankings, currenty 274th.

Long shots that could come through:

Darren Fichardt

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT T29 T64 T63 CUT

A top-three would knock him on the door of climbing from 122 in the world rankings, a really great finish like a second place could be enough for Match Play