Dan Roebuck’s European Tour preview – Garcia fancied in Qatar


The European Tour continues its Gulf Swing at Doha Golf Club, venue for this week’s Qatar Masters.

A long established tournament that attracts a better-than-average field, world numbers four and five, Justin Rose (9/1) and Louis Oosthuizen (8/1), vie for favouritism, with Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer (both 12/1) also prominent in the market.

Of that quartet, Garcia makes the most appeal. The Spaniard rounded off 2012 with victory in the Johor Open on the Asian Tour, firing a last-day 61 to secure the title. He’s gone close before in Qatar, with four top tens in his last five starts and with his solid driving game and improved play with the putter, he could easily start 2013 with a win.

Peter Hanson’s fast finish in Abu Dhabi didn’t go unnoticed by the layers but the Swede, who won twice last autumn, is still worth a punt at 14/1.

Hanson was second to Paul Lawrie here 12 months ago and has gradually got used to this week’s layout, getting better year on year. His form with the putter has been impressive over the past six months, while last year at Doha he ranked fourth in putts per greens in regulation.

Hitting plenty of greens will be key this week. And that could play into the hands of Steve Webster at 125/1. The Englishman lost in a play-off to Scott Jamieson in the Nelson Mandela Championship just before Christmas before securing another top ten in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

He has continued his good form into this year with a solid display in Abu Dhabi last week and, crucially, in each of his last three starts he has ranked inside the top two of the Greens In Regulation stats category.

Webster also has decent Qatar form, with a string of top-20 finishes since he first played the venue back in 1998.

My three off the tee are therefore – Garcia, Hanson and Webster.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date