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BlogQatar Masters Preview and Picks

CommercialBank Qatar Masters

January 26th – 29th, 2017

Doha G.C.

Doha, Qatar

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,348

Purse: $2.73 million

with $415,789 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Branden Grace

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 17 of the top-100 in the last Official World Ranks and 6 of the top-50 in the latest Official World Rankings. Those in the field are: #10 Alex Noren, #26 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #37 Bernd Wiesberger, #44 Chris Wood, #47 Martin Kaymer and #48 Andy Sullivan.

Last year the event had 9 top-50 players.

The field includes 17 of the Top-25 on the Race to Dubai standings for 2015.  Those players are #1 Tommy Fleetwood, #2 Sam Brazel, #3 Pablo Larrazabal, #4 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #6 Graeme Storm, #9 Dean Burmester, #12 Thomas Aiken, #T13 Bernd Wiesberger, #T13 Martin Kaymer #T13 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #16 Jordan Smith, #17 David Lipsky, #18 Thomas Detry, #19 Alexander Bjork, #20 Benjamin Hebert, #21 Paul Waring and #25 Joel Stalter.

The field includes seven past champions: Chris Wood – 2013, Paul Lawrie – 2012 & 1999, Thomas Bjorn – 2011, Robert Karlsson – 2010, Alvaro Quiros – 2009, Ernie Els – 2005 and Darren Fichardt – 2003

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the CommercialBank Qatar Masters field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the CommercialBank Qatar Masters  in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the CommercialBank Qatar Masters.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the CommercialBank Qatar Masters

Player Abu Dhabi South African Sony Open in Hawaii SBS T of Champions Hong Kong Alfred Dunhill Australian PGA DP Dubai Nedbank Golf Challenge Turkish Airlines
Tommy Fleetwood
(175.83 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
T14
(12)
T22
(9.33)
Graeme Storm
(148.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(146.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(40)
DNP 4
(26.67)
Dean Burmester
(146 pts)
7
(55)
4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Thomas Aiken
(139.67 pts)
T13
(37)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
T60
(0)
Pablo Larrazabal
(129.33 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP T52
(0)
T39
(3.67)
8
(16.67)
Alexander Bjork
(103 pts)
T13
(37)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jeunghun Wang
(101.17 pts)
11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
2
(33.33)
T13
(12.33)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(99.5 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(7.5)
T39
(3.67)
T25
(8.33)
Martin Kaymer
(97.5 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(15.5)
T44
(2)
DNP
Alex Noren
(94.5 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(13.5)
Win
(44)
DNP
Jaco Van Zyl
(88.17 pts)
T23
(27)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
T35
(7.5)
10
(13.33)
T72
(0)
David Drysdale
(84.33 pts)
T57
(0)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
T13
(12.33)
Thorbjorn Olesen
(80.5 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP T19
(15.5)
63
(0)
Win
(44)
Ricardo Gouveia
(71.33 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(2)
T3
(30)
T13
(12.33)
Oliver Fisher
(64.67 pts)
T23
(27)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(1)
Chris Hanson
(64 pts)
T23
(27)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Joel Stalter
(64 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mikko Korhonen
(58 pts)
T60
(0)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Romain Langasque
(53.33 pts)
T39
(11)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Li Haotong
(53.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(10)
T20
(10)
T2
(33.33)
Jorge Campillo
(53.17 pts)
T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
T67
(0)
T17
(11)
Benjamin Hebert
(53 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
T68
(0)
Edoardo Molinari
(52.67 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP T47
(1)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Joost Luiten
(51.5 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(18.5)
T14
(12)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the CommercialBank Qatar Masters

Player Abu Dhabi South African Sony Open in Hawaii SBS T of Champions Hong Kong Alfred Dunhill Australian PGA DP Dubai Nedbank Golf Challenge Turkish Airlines
Duncan Stewart
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Haydn Porteous
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
Sam Walker
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nino Bertasio
(-21 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Marcel Siem
(-16.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
T74
(0)
Nathan Holman
(-15 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
T62
(0)
Sebastien Gros
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marcus Armitage
(-13.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kristoffer Broberg
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Henry
(-12.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T47
(1)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Have to wonder about this tournament.  Seems to have problems getting really good fields anymore, players like Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy just don’t play here anymore. They couldn’t even get Brendan Grace, who has won it the last two years to defend.  Also Sergio Garcia, who won it in 2014 and has played the event every year since 2007 is a no show.  Another past champion Henrik Stenson said no, he at least had an excuse wanting to spend some time with his wife for their ten year anniversary.  With no American’s and a very weak field have to say that this event has lost a lot of it’s shine.  Of course in most cases when top players don’t show up that means the tournament isn’t paying any “appearance fees” and it seems that Qatar may have a limited budget in paying top stars to show up, one of the reasons for a poor field like this week.

One tournament that won’t get a star player is next week’s Dubai Classic.  Rory McIlroy will miss it due to the stress fracture in a rib, two weeks ago the problem came up in South Africa and after a MRI scan to determine the problem the advice was to take time off.  Doctors have weighed in and said anywhere from four to six weeks is the time, right now McIlroy is suppose to play the Genesis Open in three weeks so we will have to wait and see.

 

The whole point is the field isn’t that great and some of the luster has gone away on this and the desert swing.

Tournament Information:

The second oldest of the three Desert Swing events, the Qatar Masters debuted in 1998 with Andrew Coltart becoming it’s first champion.  Over the years with the growth of appearance money being given the event gained more prestige with marquee winners like Adam Scott, Retief Goosen, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjorn and Sergio Garcia.  One oddity of the three Desert Swing events, it has never been won by an American or even had an American runner-up.

Course Information 

  • Played at the Doha Golf Club
  • Doha, Qatar – Par:  72 / Yardage: 7,348

Doha Golf Club is the only grass course in Qatar.  Millions of gallons of water are needed to keep the fairways and greens alive.  Course was built and opened 1996, Peter Harradine designed it.  He also built the Abu Dhabi Golf Course were last week’s event was held at.  It measures  7,348 yards, has eight artificial lakes weaving their way along most of the holes but coming into play on six hole. With the addition of a punishing rough made up of desert sand, rocks, trees, shrubs and long grass and cleverly bunkered fairways that twist and turn, the utmost accuracy will be of crucial importance.  To complete the transformation from desert to golf course, 1,300 palm trees, 10,000 trees and 5 000 shrubs were planted together with 65 cacti imported from the Arizona desert.

The key to playing the course is to have windless conditions.  If by chance the area is hit by the Shamal winds it makes the course very tough.  Back in 2012 the event was hit by these winds and the tournament had to be reduced to 54 holes.  The good news, the weather forecast is calling for great weather all four days with no rain and minimal winds.

The Qatar Masters was first staged in 1998, and after being played Wednesday to Saturday has gone back to the traditional Thursday to Sunday schedule.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the CommercialBank Qatar Masters:

Key stat for the winner:

Hitting lot’s of greens is very important.  Of the last eight winners back to 2009 six of the eight were in the top-six in that stat

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • The Qatar Masters has been known as a tournament that produces low scores as the winner has had an average score of 16 under par.  Again watch the winds, that has a lot to do with the scoring.
  • You can’t call this course a long hitters paradise.  Yes Alvaro Quiros won in 2009 averaging the best of those in the field but since then the winners have been in the middle in hitting it long.
  • Mastering the par 4s is key, five of the last seven winners have lower under totals on 4s than on the par 5s. Last year Branden Grace was 4 under on the par 4s and 10 under on the par 5s.  But the year before he Grace won it by being 12 under on the par 4s and only 5 under on the par 5s.

 

Who to watch for at the CommercialBank Qatar Masters

Best Bets:

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 T33 T3 T22 T35 T3 CUT

It’s just his time to win, has finished in the top-3, three times in this event and is playing well.

Alex Noren

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T41 9 T4 CUT T49 T21 T13 CUT

He will be the favorite, finished T-4th in 2013 and has the game to win this week.

Tommy Fleetwood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 T23 75 T37 CUT

Looking for back to back desert wins, something that has never been accomplished. Can he do it, yes, will he do it is up for debate.

Best of the rest:

Martin Kaymer

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T57 T9 T9 T28 T32 T31 CUT

Had a tough time down the stretch last week in Abu Dhabi, he could be on the edge of starting some really good golf.

Pablo Larrazabal

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T33 CUT CUT T25 CUT 31 T62

On the cusp of winning, I like his chances for this week.

Thorbjorn Olesen

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 CUT T3 T22 T59 CUT

Was runner-up last year and finished T-3rd two other times, plays well on this course and should continue his good play.

Bernd Wiesberger

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 3 CUT T42 CUT CUT

Another guy that can sneak up and not only finish in the top-five but could win.

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Solid contenders

Edoardo Molinari

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T33 CUT CUT T24

Has a weak record in this event but has played well of late.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T52 T38

Could of, should of won in Abu Dhabi. Look for him to make up for it this week in Qatar.

Andy Sullivan

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T19 CUT T9

Still getting his game into shape, he could do very well this week.

George Coetzee

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 12 T5 T2 T35

49 under in his last 16 rounds at Doha, guy has come close in winning this. Only problem his game hasn’t been sharp since the Turkish Airlines Open.

Dean Burmester

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Playing in this event for the first time, doesn’t matter because he has brought home the goods in his last two starts and could do another good finish this week.

Long shots that could come through:

Thomas Aiken

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T38 T5 T22 T69 T6 CUT

Worth a gamble on because of his good play this year.

Gregory Bourdy

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T5 CUT CUT T45 CUT T43 T33

Another good person to take a gamble on, did finish T-5th in this event in 2015.

Peter Hanson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T59 T22 T22 T2 T70 T14 T31 T51 T37 CUT T60

Runner-up in 2012, was T-8th last week.

Have no idea which way to go with him:

Graeme Mcdowell

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T59 T14 T20 T4

Playing for the first time since 2012, he finished T-4th in 2007. Hasn’t played since finishing T-24th in Mexico back in November.

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