This week’s tournament is being played at Emirates Golf Club, in Dubai UAE. Let’s get right into the targets.
Henrik Stenson ($12,400): At $1,600 more than the next most expensive golfer, Stenson isn’t necessarily a must play for me this week, but his record here definitely means he deserves consideration. Stenson has made 11 of 12 cuts at this event since 2005, and that includes some years that he was really struggling with his swing. He’s coming off a near miss in Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks ago but should be more ready for this week as he has barely played prior to that event. I’d personally rather just roster him and look for value elsewhere this week, but there is merit to fading him in large GPPs. Anything worse than a top ten finish here would surprise me.
Bernd Wiesberger ($10,500): It’s not easy to chose from the top this week as both Wiesberger and the uber-consistent Rafa Cabrera-Bello both offer a lot of good qualities. Ultimately, if I had to choose I think I would side with Wiesberger here. He’s made five straight cuts at this venue and clearly likes the track. With the wind possibly picking up this week, the conditions should be tougher than usual which would favour Wiesberger who is very good at avoiding big numbers, but sometimes has trouble keeping up in a complete birdie fest. DFS wise, Wiesberger will also likely go overlooked and should be a nice pivot play in tournaments.
Martin Kaymer ($8,600): Kaymer didn’t exactly pay off for us last week, but he did make the cut, his 22nd in a row. Kaymer’s course history is much better at this venue than it was in Qatar, as he’s amassed four top 5 or better finishes at this venue over his last seven visits. A small price reduction was warranted, but at $2,200 less than last week, Kaymer is essentially a must play for me given the consistency of his play and his sparkling course history. I’m expecting a bounce-back.
Chris Wood ($8,200): Wood is a quality player (currently ranked 44th in the world) who got his season off to a nice start last week with an 11th place finish. This venue has been kind to Wood over his career as he’s now made six straight cuts here with four of those yielding finishes of twentieth or better. While Thomas Pieters is also very playable at nearly the same price, Wood seems like the safer play to me at this point, especially if the wind gets up as he’s proven to excel in some tougher conditions over his career.
Thorbjorn Olesen ($7,900): Olesen didn’t exactly light the world on fire last week as he slipped badly on the weekend and placed 57th for the week. Still, he’s a player capable of bouncing back quickly, and more importantly, has a great career record on this desert swing. Olesen has made four of his last five cuts at this event and finished 8th or better three times over that span. I don’t think his price drop is warranted, and that makes him a prime target for me. He’s another great links player who could benefit from a windy week on an open course.
Lucas Bjerregaard ($7,300): Bjerregaard is a big hitting Danish player who looked to be on the verge of a breakout win at a couple of different times last season. He’s made six cuts overall and his first three cuts of 2017, which includes an 11th place finish from last week. Bjerregaard ranked fifth last year on Tour in overall Driving Distance and is a player who could easily overpower this course, much like past winner Alvaro Quiros has done over his career. At only 25, he’s a player who I could see breaking out at a big event like this.
David Lingmerth ($7,000): This is the second Euro event in a row for Lingmerth and the fourth week in a row he’s played. While there may be a bit of fatigue given the large amount of travel, I still think he’s worth a look here. Lingmerth finished T13 on his debut in Qatar last week, and a windy, open venue might be right up his alley as he’s had good results in such settings before. At $7k he seems too cheap to me, especially given the form he showed last weekend.
Paul Dunne ($6,800): Dunne had another very solid week in Qatar finishing T21. He hasn’t been able to close with a solid final round as of yet, but hopefully that is coming here, especially now that he has a couple of starts under his belt in 2017. The Irishman is a great links player (led the Open in St. Andrews after 54 holes in 2015) and should fit this track nicely. The fact that there is a forecast for some heavier winds might actually play into his favor. I’ll continue riding Dunne this year as he’s a player I could see breaking out for a win at some point.
Peter Uihlein ($6,700): Uihlein’s started the season well enough. He had a top ten in his first start and then faded to a 49th in Abu Dhabi. This will be the fourth time he’s started in Dubai over his career, and he’s had mixed results with two missed cuts, a 13th and a WD. Still, the fact he finished 13th here the last time he was 100% healthy offers hope, and on a wide open, shorter par 72 he could easily power his way to a big week. Uihlein is definitely a player you want to catch on the rise as he has plenty of potential and likely won’t be this price all season.
Chris Hanson ($6,300): Hanson has started 2017 right where he left off in 2016, playing very consistent golf every week. He’s made his first three cuts of 2017 and has not finished worse than 26th. While this will be the first year he tees it up at this venue, it’s not of heavy concern for me as he’s done very well thus far on his first time through this desert swing. At just $6,300, he’s a perfect cut-maker who has that top 25 upside you need from your value plays. He’ll have his family with him in Dubai, which should only increase his motivation this week.
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