Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Preview: Betting Tips & How To Watch
The European Tour season gets back underway this week as Tommy Fleetwood seeks his third Abu Dhabi title in a row during his first start of 2019.
He’ll face tough competition from World No.2 and 3 Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, who both have tournament rounds under their belts this year and will be hoping to beat out Fleetwood to the crown.
Also in the field are Ryder Cup stars Henrik Stenson and Tyrrell Hatton, who both performed well in last year’s contest (T8 and T13 respectively), in addition to the likes of Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thorbjorn Olesen.
It’s the first Rolex Series event of the year after Abu Dhabi was named a new addition to the Rolex roster, and that means a big prize fund and inflated Race to Dubai points. It means there’s a lot to gain from a good performance in the first tournament of the desert swing, but who should you back?
Previous Champions in the field: Tommy Fleetwood, Martin Kaymer, Pablo Larazzabal
Course: Abu Dhabi GC
How can I watch the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the UK?
Wednesday 16th January: Sky Sports Golf (03:30), Sky Sports Main Event (03:30), Sky Sports Golf (11:00), Sky Sports Main Event (11:00)
Thursday 17th January: Sky Sports Main Event (07:00), Sky Sports Golf (07:00)
Friday 18th January: Sky Sports Golf (08:00), Sky Sports Main Event (08:00)
Saturday 19th January: Sky Sports Golf (07:00), Sky Sports Main Event (07:00)
Why is the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship being played from Wednesday to Saturday?
The tournament, which would usually be played from Thursday to Sunday, has been moved to help with scheduling for the Asian Cup, the continent’s marquee football event which is being staged in the Emirates for only the second time.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Betting Tips
Dustin Johnson: 11/2
Dustin Johnson got his 2019 campaign underway at the Sentry Tournament of Champions a couple of weeks ago and finished 4th, and will come to Abu Dhabi with a lot of confidence. It’s hard to overlook the former World No.1, who has played in this event twice and registered two top 10s – including a runner-up finish to Fleetwood in 2017. Ranked 1st for scoring average, birdie average, SG: Total and putting average on the PGA Tour last year.
Tommy Fleetwood: 10/1
The two-time champion is searching for his third win in a row in Abu Dhabi, and given that he hasn’t finished worse than T16 in his last eight starts on Tour, he’s in the right form to match Martin Kaymer’s feat. Ranked 2nd for scoring average on the European Tour last season, 3rd for SG: Off the tee, Greens in regulation and SG: Tee to green.
Brooks Koepka: 12/1
Koepka lost his World No.1 ranking to Justin Rose in the first week of the new year but has a chance to win it back this week if he finishes in a three-way tie for 3rd or better (and providing Rose doesn’t win the Desert Classic). This is Koepka’s second appearance in Abu Dhabi, having missed the cut in 2014. Finished T24 at Sentry Tournament of Champions. Ranked inside the top 10 last season on the PGA Tour for Scoring average, Birdie Average and SG: Off the tee.
Henrik Stenson: 14/1
Wins the title for most course experience. Stenson has played in every single edition of the 13 previous Abu Dhabi Championships and finished 2nd twice (in 2006 and 2008) and has finished in the top 10 for the last three years in a row. Ranked first on the PGA Tour last season for GIR, SG: Approach the green, Driving Accuracy, and 5th in SG: Tee to green.
Louis Oosthuizen: 18/1
One of the hottest players heading in to this event, Oosthuizen went T3-1-T7 during the three South African European Tour events in November/December. Has two top 5s in Abu Dhabi and a MC in three starts, but hasn’t come to Abu Dhabi since 2011. Was ranked T18 for scoring average on European Tour this season.
Thomas Pieters: 20/1
Pieters really started to catch fire around July/August last year and shows some real consistency heading here with results of T18-T18-T12 in his last three starts. Three top 5s in last four starts in Abu Dhabi. Ranked inside the top 10 on the European Tour last season for birdie average and putts per round.
Tyrrell Hatton: 22/1
Another player who last made an appearance at the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai at the start of November, which was his second consecutive T22. In five starts Hatton has gone T15-T13-T46-T6-T10. Ranked 6th for Scoring Average and Par 4 scoring on European Tour as well as 4th for putts per round last season.
Rafa Cabrera Bello: 28/1
Has two top 10s in this event amid a bunch of mixed results, but is a Dubai Desert Classic champion so he clearly likes the desert swing. A player in undoubted form at the end of 2018, finishing T6 in Hong Kong and T18-T14-T3 in his three previous starts. Ranked 2nd for scrambling, 5th for putts per round and 10th for scoring average on European Tour last year.
Matt Wallace: 33/1
Matt Wallace won three times on the European Tour last season, and doesn’t look to be slowing down. He finished second in the season-ending Race to Dubai DP World Tour Championships and went T15-T18s in his last two tournaments of 2018. T32 on his Abu Dhabi debut last year.
Branden Grace: 33/1
Grace has been a consistently good performer at Abu Dhabi GC, recording two top 5s and three further top 20s in seven starts. Went T7-T34 in his first two events of the 2018/19 season in South Africa.
Haotong Li: 33/1
MC here last year but went on to win the next week at the Dubai Desert Classic, and is in great form heading to Abu Dhabi. In his last six starts on Tour he boasts four top 10s – although be slightly wary that he hasn’t teed up since November. Ranked 5th birdie average and 6th SG: Off the tee last year.
Martin Kaymer: 50/1
Talk about horses for courses. The former World No.1 might have slipped to 175 in the rankings, but he’s a three-time winner in Abu Dhabi and has four other top 10s in the event. Went T5-T22-T55 in the last three events of the European Tour 2017/18 season, and hasn’t played since then.