Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Tips and Preview

Gary Emmerson:
Tommy Fleetwood Golf

It's a stellar field set to line up at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for the Rolex Series Event with world number one Brooks Koepka heading to the Middle East to take on the European Tour's best.

Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau are also making the journey for the event and the presence of some of the PGA Tour stars means there is added value to secure on two players who have winning form in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The two I most like are Tommy Fleetwood ($11 Sportsbet) and Pablo Larrazabal ($71 bet365), who players who already have their names etched on the trophy.

World number 10 Fleetwood won back-to-back titles in Abu Dhabi in 2017 and 2018 before a disappointing 42nd place finish in last year’s event. The Englishman recorded a first win since the 2018 success when winning the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa in November last year to bring a 22-month drought to an end. He subsequently finished second in the season ending DP World Tour Championship.

In what will be his first appearance of 2020, Fleetwood sits at the top of the betting markets but he is worth backing each way as a risk-free punt with a top six finish within his grasp having got back into the winning habit. Starting his campaign at a course he clearly plays well, expect a big week for Fleetwood.

Larrazabal claimed his biggest career win when winning the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2014 when he held off Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson for a one-shot victory. Last year’s Alfred Dunhill Championship victory saw the Spaniard end more than four years without success and his inconsistent days might well be behind him.

He is a big price for this week’s event when you consider his record: winner in 2014, runner-up in 2017 to Fleetwood and was sixth last year behind Shane Lowry. Larrazabal clearly like playing in Abu Dhabi and, with that Alfred Dunhill win his final appearance of 2019, he should be starting the new season full of confidence. He looks overpriced to me.