Pari offers his preview and cheat sheet for the Oman Open!
OMAN OPEN OVERVIEW
The European Tour kicks off again this week, as we head back to the Middle East for two more events. This will be the third installment of the Oman Open, meaning we still have a small sample size of course history for this event. Al Mouj is a Greg Norman design, which is a typical coastal links course featuring hazards on 10 holes and measures just over 7,300 yards. The Challenge Tour has played on this course in the past, which may give a bump to certain players for those who live by course history. The field is basically a glorified Challenge Tour event with the exception of maybe 10 to 15 players being of actual European Tour caliber, so you’ll have to find some gems in cheap seats to fill out your rosters (or just build very well balanced lineups using all of the $7k guys I’ve listed).
There are two Par 5’s measuring close to 600 yards, so birdies there are ideal but not guaranteed. The other two are relatively short (566 yards & 543 yards), meaning eagle could be on the table and walking away without a birdie should feel like you’re losing a shot to the field. All but one of the Par 3’s are under 200 yards (one of them is an island green); the scoring on Par 3’s doesn’t move the needle as much as it should, but the better ball-strikers should be looking to make birdie on at least two of these holes every other day. The main defense for this course would appear to be the weather (winds coming off the Gulf of Oman/Indian Ocean), so keep that in mind when building your lineups and giving a nod to any strong wind players in the field.
OMAN OPEN TOURNAMENT BACKGROUND
o The Course
- Al Mouj Golf
- Par: 72
- Yardage: 7,300 yards
- Greens: Paspalum
o Location: Oman
o Past Champions:
- 2019: Kurt Kitayama -7 over Jorge Campillo, Max Kieffer, Clement Sordet & Fabrizio Zanotti
- 2018: Joost Luiten -16 over Chris Wood
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: OTT + SG: APP, Birdies or better
o Important – Par 4 scoring, Current Form, Scrambling
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS FOR THE OMAN OPEN
|Min Woo Lee||9500||Cash/GPP|
|Jordan L. Smith||9000||Cash/GPP|
Thomas Pieters (DK $10,600)
- History: 6th
- Form: DNP – DNP – DNP – 3rd
- Stats: 22nd – SG: OTT, 3rd – SG: APP, 2nd – SG: T2G, 203rd – SG: P
Why I like him: Form is in a really good spot, 6th here last year, but I’m not a fan of paying up for Pieters even in a weak field. If I were to target him, it’d probably be in Showdown format, targeting the early rounds and getting out, as we’ve seen he’s been unable to close but still offers high upside in his scoring ability.
Joost Luiten (DK $9,700): Champion in the event’s debut, tied for 12th last year while defending which turned out to be quite impressive following a Friday 77 to almost take him out of the event. His putting on Paspalum greens has been key, as his normal ball-striking metrics have seems to have been off around these parts. If he gets the irons dialed in he could run with it again.
Min Woo Lee (DK $9,500): First event following his win at the Vic Open three weeks ago where he flashed some impressive game leading the field in driving distance, 2nd in scrambling, 5th in putting and 15th in greens in regulation. He missed the cut here last year but has since turned a page in his young career.
Justin Harding (DK $7,800)
- History: MC
- Form: 29th – DNP – DNP – 56th
- Stats: 128th – SG: OTT, 69th – SG: APP, 70th – SG: T2G, 105th – SG: P
Why I like him: 29th last week in Mexico in the toughest field he’s seen since last year’s majors was impressive. The South African ball-striker comes with some risk having flown from Mexico following his round, but I’m not big on putting too much stock in that.
Ashun Wu (DK $7,900): 67th – MC in two appearances at this course (both are Oman Open finishes). His form indicates much better things on the horizon than the history as he comes in off 13th & 6th place finishes over three weeks ago. He should be a low owned option to target in all formats.
Aaron Rai (DK $7,400): Three solid finishes of 37th – 14th – 34th (the latter two on the Challenge Tour), he’s a solid cut making option week in and week out, and this week we’re getting a good price on a guy who presents decent upside.
Honorable Mentions: Jordan Smith (DK $9,000), Ross Fisher (DK $8,900), Benjamin Hebert (DK $7,900)
THE PUNT PLAYS
Joakim Lagergren (DK $7,000)
- History: MC – MC
- Form: DNP – DNP – DNP – MC
- Stats: 169th – SG: OTT, 48th – SG: APP, 119th – SG: T2G, 85th – SG: P
Why I like him: A year or so removed from the weekly European Tour discussion, Lagergren exemplifies strong ball-striking prowess built on a foundation of a strong off the tee game. His putting is bad, but he can get hot, which is what he did on Friday at the Saudi Int’l where he shot 67. Hopefully, that was enough spark to start the fire.
Shubhankar Sharma (DK $6,600): 67th – MC in two appearances here, 29th two weeks ago is his best finish on any tour in 2020. He’s a classy player who should bounce back from the struggles, which means he’s underpriced, especially in this field.
Honorable Mentions: Sebastian Soderberg (DK $7,100), Andrea Pavan (DK $6,900), Peter Hanson (DK $6,600)
CORE PLAYS (Of Those Not Listed)
Jorge Campillo (DK $7,600) – I’ll eat the chalk here and then some. Campillo has been lights out here over the last two years, finishing 2nd last year and 4th in the debut. His form is the only reason he’s not more expensive, having finished 67th last week in Mexico.
Alexander Bjork (DK $7,600) – Swedish ball-striker who finished 12th here two years ago and 7th in 2016 when the course hosted a Challenge Tour event. He hasn’t played in the last three weeks, but prior to the layoff, he made his last three cuts and had a high finish of 27th.
Jeff Winther (DK $7,300) – 12th – 21st the last two years here, 3rd & 24th when the Challenge Tour hosted an event here so he’s got four different finishes and they’re all good. He’s also coming in having made his first four cuts in a row.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)
And don’t miss my Honda Classic PGA Preview!