Pari offers his preview and cheat sheet for the Qatar Masters!
QATAR MASTERS OVERVIEW
The Qatar Masters had been played at Doha Golf Club since it’s inauguration in 1998… until now. Instead, the European Tour heads to the other side of town, the Jose Maria Olazabal designed Education City Golf Club. When comparing the two courses, not much is different outside of the name. Education is an exposed desert golf course with merely a single tree in play. The grass is Paspalum throughout, which means no change in grass type on the greens from last week to this. There are three Par 5’s (539 yards, 593 yards and 592 yards). Two of the four Par 3’s are over 200 yards, and only two of the Par 4’s play under 400 yards. There’s some water in play, but unless the winds pick up, shouldn’t be an issue. As of this writing, the winds are expected to be constantly around the 10-15 mph range.
QATAR MASTERS TOURNAMENT BACKGROUND
o The Course
- Education City Golf Club
- Par: 71
- Yardage: 7,300 yards
- Greens: Paspalum
o Location: Qatar
o Past Champions (None at this course):
- 2019: Justin Harding -13 over N.Elvira, A. Karlsson, MLV, G. Coetzee, J. Choi, EVR, O. Wilson, J. Campillo, C. Bezuidenhout
- 2018: Eddie Pepperell -18 over Oliver Fischer
- 2017: Jeung-hun Wang -16 in a playoff over Joakim Lagergren, Jaco van Zyl
- 2016: Branden Grace -14 over Rafa Cabrera Bello & Thorbjorn Olesen
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: OTT + SG: APP, Birdies or better
o Important – Par 3 scoring, Current Form, Scrambling, Desert Golf Play, Links Play
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS FOR THE QATAR MASTERS
Thomas Pieters (DK $10,200)
- Form: MC – DNP – DNP – DNP
- Stats: 22nd – SG: OTT, 3rd – SG: APP, 2nd – SG: T2G, 203rd – SG: P
Why I like him: Missing the cut in last week’s Oman Open as the favorite is nothing new to Pieters. He has a ton of talent but isn’t “favorite” material whether it’s in his head or not. That being said, his mixed bag of results in the desert thus far have him only on my radar as a GPP play this week.
Martin Kaymer (DK $10,600): Kaymer’s in the midst of being another one of the old guard who’s having a resurgence to his career on the European Tour (strangely enough as we head to Whistling Straits for this year’s Ryder Cup). He plays well in the desert, having gone 4/4 in the desert thus far and all finishes comfortably inside the Top 20. Strong play all around but preferred in GPPs at this price.
Robert MacIntyre (DK $10,000): Undoubtedly talented and someone who possesses all the skills to go well in the desert, Bobby Mac is probably rightfully priced in this field, but for my money, he’ll only be a GPP target. He was T8 in Dubai but missed the cut in Saudi Arabia. He’s more than likely a strong contender on links-style courses too, but I’m not chasing a win here, especially in cash games.
Haotong Li (DK $8,900)
- Form: 18th – DNP – DNP – MC
- Stats: 113th – SG: OTT, 182nd – SG: APP, 155th – SG: T2G, 40th – SG: P
Why I like him: I don’t just like him this week; I think we should be starting our lineups with him, both cash and GPP. First off, he’s seen four of his Presidents Cup teammates win on the PGA Tour since their collapse in Australia, which does have some merit for whatever reason. He was a winner in Dubai and a runner-up to DJ in Saudi Arabia (two years ago) so his game translates well to desert golf success, and he hits it a mile off the tee, which should play well. He already has my money for outright winner at 30/1.
Eddie Pepperell (DK $8,300): Great course fit as he won in Doha two years ago and was T11 in Dubai. He hasn’t played much this season yet, but Pepperell has been a mainstay on the Euro Tour, especially on links layouts. He’s got my money as an outright bet already at 50/1.
Sami Valimaki (DK $7,800): Ok, I’ll bite on the Finn playing well coming off his first professional win. The big thing here is being young and hungry versus being elated to just get a win and know your card is locked up. If his game carries over from last week, he should have no issues making the cut and making another run. If there’s any hangover, it could be a missed cut walking.
Honorable Mentions: Gavin Green (DK $9,200), Mikko Korhonen (DK $8,600), Alejandro Canizares (DK $7,200)
THE PUNT PLAYS
Fabrizio Zanotti (DK $7,200)
- Form: 25th – DNP – DNP – DNP
- Stats: 177th – SG: OTT, 132nd – SG: APP, 151st – SG: T2G, 131st – SG: P
Why I like him: Strong tee to green game, but he flashed with the putter last week in Oman, which is primarily why he finished with a Top 25. Since the putter was good and we’re on the same surface this week, I think he’s worth a shot again as someone who can continue to putt well, even if that’s not his forte.
Francesco Laporta (DK $): Not priced by DK; may have been a pre-tourney WD.
Honorable Mentions: Alexander Levy (DK $7,400), Antoine Rozner (DK $7,100), Maverick Antcliff (DK $6,500)
CORE PLAYS (Of Those Not Listed)
Ross Fisher (DK $9,400) – Great desert player, having finished inside the Top 10 thrice (T6 in Abu Dhabi & Saudi Arabia, T10 in Oman). His approach game has been spectacular through this run, and the putter hasn’t balked out yet. Could be the first time he cracks the Top 25 in Qatar if all goes well.
George Coetzee (DK $8,800) – The history of South Africans in Qatar runs back to the Ernie Els & Retief Goosen days of yester-year and rekindled recently with Grace back-to-backs and a Justin Harding sighting (guessing it has something to do with the grass type). Excellent desert player, having gone 2nd – 8th – MC – 7th at Doha and is coming in hot following last week’s T6.
Brandon Stone (DK $8,400) – Another South African who comes in hot following last week’s disappointing playoff loss. Stone’s a boom or bust play, similar to Coetzee, but both are firmly in place in the desert and that’s why I’m making them core plays. We’ll see how he reacts to last week’s heartbreak.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)
And don’t miss my Arnold Palmer Invitational PGA Preview!