The European Tour is set for a dramatic finale this week as any one of nine players can win the Race to Dubai and thus be named European number one for 2013.
The final event on this year’s schedule is the DP World Tour Championship, held on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, with Henrik Stenson leading the way in the RTD standings.
The Swede, however, is struggling with a wrist injury and has already suggested that his preparation is not what he would have liked. Given that news I can’t back him to win this week at 10/1, and it’s quite possible he will be overtaken in the charge to be this continent’s best player for the season.
Justin Rose (7/1) knows even fifth place could be good enough to pip Stenson for the RTD title – although a win would definitely seal top spot and second would mean the Swede would have to win in Dubai to deny the Englishman.
Rose told the European Tour’s website that all he wanted ‘was to go into Dubai with a chance and knowing it’s in my own hands’ and that he was ‘looking forward to the week ahead’. And so he should be.
He managed to reward each-way backers last week in Turkey – as advised here – and has form figures of 6-5-3 in his last three starts. Rose claimed second place at the Earth Course 12 months ago, finishing with a stunning 62, and with his putting clicking once more – all four of the previous winners of this event staged at its current home have ranked inside the top seven of the putting averages on the week – this year’s US Open winner looks set to finish the term on a much deserved high.
This year has been one to forget for Rory McIlroy, but the odds compilers have done anything but overlook the former world number one this week at 7/1. They have made McIlroy favourite and, given his course form numbers of 3-5-11-1, I’m advising at least a saver on last year’s winner, who was sixth in China and second in the Korea in the past month.
Lastly, Jamie Donaldson, whose fast finish in Turkey – thanks in part to an ace on the 16th on Sunday – means he still mathematically could top the RTD standings. The Welshman is worth an interest at 25/1 given his current (8-2) and course (ninth in 2012) form.
My three off the tee – Rose, McIlroy and Donaldson.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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