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DP World Tour - Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship preview: Hero Cup stars ready to go

The first full-field DP World Tour event of the year starts in Abu Dhabi in the early hours of Thursday morning UK time, with several Ryder Cup stars appearing at Yas Links.

The DP World Tour's Middle East Swing always attracts a few class acts and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship can boast 19 of the 20 players who competed in last week's Hero Cup.

The Hero Cup was a team event between Continental Europe and Great Britain and Ireland, which was played at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, and the Continentals triumphed 14.5-10.5.

That chance to acclimatise in the region is probably advantageous. as the Hero Cup competitors move on to the Abu Dhabi Championship.

WhatAbu Dhabi HSBC Championship
WhereYas Links, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
WhenThursday January 19th - Sunday 22nd January
How to watchSky Sports Golf
OddsTyrrell Hatton 11/1, Tommy Fleetwood 12/1, Shane Lowry 14/1, Alex Noren 18/1, Thomas Pieters 22/1

Detry the lone absentee

Thomas Detry is the only Hero Cup player to leave the United Arab Emirates - the Belgian has jetted to California to tee up on the PGA Tour - leaving Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood contesting market leadership.

Hatton can be backed at 11/1, while Fleetwood, who has won two Abu Dhabi Championships, is available at 12/1. It should be noted that both of Fleetwood’s Abu Dhabi triumphs were played at a different course to the one being employed this week.

Shane Lowry left the Hero Cup feeling glum - not only did his Great Britain and Ireland team lose heavily, but he failed to win any points in his four matches.

The Irishman will be keen to shrug off the disappointment and he is 14/1 to bounce back with the Abu Dhabi Championship trophy.

Thomas Pieters is the defending champion this week and he could be popular at 22/1. There has been only one Abu Dhabi Championship at Yas Links - and Pieters ended up with the silverware.

The Belgian took a lot of time off in the wake of becoming a father for a second time, so was rusty on his return to action in the Hero Cup, but he still managed to win one and a half points for his team.

Standard each-way terms of a quarter the odds, the first five places are available for the Abu Dhabi Championship, while there are also alternative options, like a fifth the odds for the first eight places, in the Each Way Extra section.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship course details

Yas Links is a 7,425-yard, par-72, with four par-fives, ten par-fours and four par-threes.

Abu Dhabi GC hosted the Abu Dhabi Championship for 16 years, but Yas Links took over last year, presenting a more complicated, challenging assignment for the players.

The Kyle Phillips design, which opened in 2010, has eight holes running directly along the coastline of the Arabian Gulf, so any wind makes the track play much tougher.

Fescue grass rough adds to the 'desert links' feel, although the fairways are paspalum.

Phillips also designed Kingsbarns (Dunhill Links venue) and the Dundonald Links in Scotland (2017 Scottish Open), Verdura in Sicily (2017, 2018 Sicilian Open) and Bernardus in the Netherlands (2021, 2022 KLM Open).

Three to follow

Nicolai Hojgaard

The Hero Cup was a triumph for Nicolai Hojgaard, who ended up as one of the four who tied for top-scorer honours in the competition and on the winning team.

The Continentals star can build on that performance by going well at 60/1 at Yas Links.

Hojgaard, a two-time DP World Tour champion with the last of his victories coming in the UAE, this birdie machine was 5-under par when winning his singles match against Seamus Power on Sunday.

Min Woo Lee

Christmas seems unlikely to stop the progress of Min Woo Lee, who ended last year with form figures of 3-3-8-12-4-3 from his final six tournaments.

The sweet-swinging Australian carded a 67 in the final round of last year's Abu Dhabi Championship, hinting that he had got to grips with the new venue.

Lee appears to have the potential to become a world-beater and he can be backed at 28/1 for Abu Dhabi glory.

Guido Migliozzi

A six-under-par burst through 15 holes of his Hero Cup singles against Richard Mansell was enough for Guido Migliozzi to finish with three and a half points from his four matches.

The Italian, who won the French Open in September, has clearly got his A-game on and a quote of 90/1 may be of interest to many punters.

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