This week’s event takes place at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club where this event has taken place since its inception in 2006. Let’s jump right into some targets to consider at this week’s event.
Dustin Johnson ($11,500): With the withdrawal of Rory McIlroy from the field, it’s definitely left the top end a little less definitive. For me though, Dustin Johnson is the top option. Johnson is playing this tournament for the first time, but the setup looks like it should suit him extremely well. Abu Dhabi Golf Club is long at over 7,500 yards and has favored big drivers since its inception. Johnson took last week off but did open his season two weeks ago in Hawaii with a decent showing and should be up for this tournament. An American won here last year (Rickie Fowler) and Johnson could easily make that streak extend to two years this week.
Thomas Pieters ($8,800): There’s a lot of really talented players in this field, so saying Pieters might be the most talented of the bunch is saying something. The big hitting Belgian busted onto the scene last year with some big performances over in Europe and put on an awesome display at the Ryder Cup as well. Pieters comes in with a fourth and second place finish from the last two years, and he’ll look to take the final step up this year.
Byeong-Hun An ($8,400): An is another talented player whose talent is sometimes easy to overlook in these deeper fields. He’s played this event the past two years, and like Pieters, he has really taken to the long, open venue as he’s finished 12th and 5th here. He was inconsistent at times last season but finished strong with a 10th and 13th in the last two playoff events on the Euro Tour in 2016. Another young player whose length off the tee is going to help a lot this week.
Martin Kaymer ($8,000): Kaymer has had some fantastic results at this venue over the years and has now made the cut at this event in eight of the past nine seasons. The German has three wins to his credit here, as well as a second and third place showing, giving him one of the best course histories you’ll ever see a player have in relation to a specific venue. He famously blew a 10 shot lead with 16 holes to play in 2015 and will thus be looking for some redemption this year.
Romain Langasque ($7,500): The young Frenchman will be making his debut here but deserves your attention. Langasque has finished T10 and T21 in his last two starts and is coming off a very strong first season as a pro. After finishing 39th at the Masters as an amateur, he went on to a very solid season which included a 7th at the well-contested Omega Masters. While there’s a bit of unpredictability about how he’ll perform on a new course, and in a stacked field, he’s proven himself by putting up strong performances at events like this in the past.
Peter Uihlein ($7,000): Uihlein is yet another nice young player who hits the ball a ton off the tee and should be a good fit for this venue. The American, who plays regularly on the Euro Tour, is coming off a wrist surgery from last summer but he has fully recovered and pulled through for us last week with a strong 7th place finish. Uihlein’s best result here is only a 31st place finish — off three starts — but with good length off the tee, and good recent form, he is still a consideration for me this week.
Dean Burmester ($6,400): Burmester is a big hitting South African who led the Euro Tour in Driving Distance last season. He’ll be making his debut at this event, but by all accounts, he should set up nicely for this course. Burmester was in the mix last week and had a strong final round before settling in for a T4 finish. He should be able to ride that momentum, and at $6,400, he just looks way under-priced to me, even in this stacked field. I think he makes for a great salary saver with upside this week.
Alexander Bjork ($6,200): Bjork played mainly on the Challenge Tour last year where he plied his trade quite nicely and scored his first win. This year, as a member of the Euro Tour, he’s already off to a fast start with three made cuts in his first three starts, which includes a T7 finish from last week. The young Swede has been striking it well of late and should make for a good DFS play at only $6,200.
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