After a thrilling – and somewhat controversial – Dubai Desert Classic, the DP World Tour moves a few miles up the UAE coast to Al Hamra. But before we get to my Ras Al Khaimah Championship betting tips…
2023 Ras Al Khaimah Championship preview
Venue: Al Hamra Golf Club, UAE
Date: February 2-5, 2023
Course stats: Par 72; 7,325 yards
Course summary: The Peter Harradine design follows the trend of previous weeks, with exposed fairways, desert landscapes, perilous water hazards, and a coastal feel. Recent form looks to be a good indicator for success here.
Purse: $2 million
Defending champion: Nicolai Hojgaard (-24)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 8.30am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 8.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 8.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 8.30am
2023 Ras Al Khaimah Championship betting tips
The Banker: Nicolai Hojgaard @ 22/1 with Bet365
I have always steered clear of backing Nicolai Hojgaard at short prices, as he is a volatile player, and one that is just as likely win at 100-1 as he is at this number. I couldn’t pass him up this week however, as I just think he is playing too well, and is the type of player that could go back-to-back on a suitable golf course.
Hojgaard has posted two top 10’s in his past three starts, and even when 38th last week, he should really have finished 16th. Hojgaard triple bogeyed the final hole, a par 5 on Monday, and that sent him tumbling down the leaderboard.
The Dane won this event so brilliantly last year, and he can channel good memories and perform well once again.
The Each-Way Play: Thorbjorn Olesen @ 33/1 with Bet365
Before there was the Hojgaard twins, there was Thorbjorn Olesen flying the flag for Denmark, as Thomas Bjorn entered his twilight years on Tour. I waxed lyrical about Olesen in last week’s picks, and I won’t rehash the same comments, but I ultimately think he’s a better player than he is being credited as right now.
Olesen led the field in SG Approach this past week in Dubai, and it is currently his short game that his holding him back from really contending. That area of his game should come under less pressure this week, and ultimately the field is weaker, so I am willing to bet that cream rises to the top, and Olesen finds himself in contention for a seventh DP World Tour title.
The Other Each-Way Play: Connor Syme @ 60/1 with Bet365
Connor Syme is back playing solid golf, making seven-straight cuts, and I think now is the time for him to break away from top 20 and top 30 finishes, and instead start contending for his first DP World Tour title once more.
Syme finished 27th and 6th in his two starts at this golf course last year, and his 28th and 38th place finishes over the past fortnight both promised to be better as well.
The Scot was 4th at the 36-hole stage when he finished 38th in Abu Dhabi, and even this week he was 11th going into Sunday, before falling to 28th on the leaderboard.
This is the sort of field he can contend in, and he’s only while his ball striking numbers have been solid, ranking inside the top 30 for both SG Approach and SG Tee to Green the past fortnight, there is clearly still room for improvement.
The Long Shot: Johannes Veerman @ 75/1 with Bet365
This is largely a price play on a player that was all the rage over the past two seasons on the DP World Tour, yet is priced like he has dramatically lost the form that put him in the spotlight. That is not the case for Johannes Veerman, who finished 8th last week in the Dubai Desert Classic, and was 11th before the winter break, in the Mallorca Open.
He finished 12th in this event last year, but was 5th going into the final round, and he now comes into this week off a top-11 SG Approach week, so chances are he can put in another solid performance, this time in a weaker field.
- Visit Bet365 for more prices.