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Bahrain Championship preview: Rasmus Hojgaard favourite to win in Al Mazrowiah

The DP World Tour stays in the Middle East this week for the Bahrain Championship, starting on Thursday at Royal Golf Club, where Rasmus Hojgaard headlines the field.

Rasmus Hojgaard finished second in the Ras al Khaimah Championship on Sunday and the Dane gets another crack at DP World Tour glory this week.

Hojgaard started the final round in Ras al Khaimah trailing his compatriot Thorbjorn Olesen by four shots, then managed to pull himself level through seven holes, before making a mess of the par-five eighth. 

A bogey there started a miserable run – Hojgaard was one over par for his final 11 holes – and Olesen cruised to a six-shot victory.

Hojgaard is 9/1 to bounce back from that disappointment by winning this week's Bahrain Championship. This is his fourth consecutive week of competition, so he may be running low on mental energy, but DPWT form figures of 6-11-11-11-2 demand favouritism.

Last week was a near-miss for both the Hojgaard twins – Rasmus's brother Nicolai finished second in the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open – so Rasmus has to quickly put the weekend's setbacks to the back of his mind.

A lot of players and caddies at the Ras al Khaimah Championship were suffering with a sickness bug over the weekend, so the start of this week has been about recovery. 

Alex Fitzpatrick is a 25/1 chance to win his maiden DPWT title this week, but the Englishman was slow to start practising this week due to feeling ill.

Zander Lombard, who is also a DPWT maiden, is one of the most in-form players on the circuit. The powerful South African, available at 20/1 for Bahrain glory, can boast results of 22-4-12-25-6-16-13 from his last seven DPWT appearances.

Lombard fans will probably give their man another chance this week, as he has been striking his ball well. Course-management errors have been stopping the edgy youngster getting the job done.

Each-way terms of a quarter the odds, the first five places are available for the Bahrain Championship, as well as alternative terms like a fifth the odds, the first eight.

Bahrain Championship course details

Royal Golf Club in Bahrain is a 7,261-yard, par-72, with four par-fives, ten par-fours and four par-threes. 

The 2011 Volvo Golf Champions – a DP World Tour event won by Paul Casey – is the only previous DPWT course form for punters to study. 

Royal GC yielded a 20-under-par winning total that year, with 36 players reaching double-digits under-par, but the chances of another birdie-fest seem slim this week. 

The sun will be out, but a fresh breeze is expected to blow across the course on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Thursday looks set to be the scoring day, but players will probably be struggling to avoid bogeys from then on. 

The greens are notoriously tricky – heavily contoured – so finding the right sections on approach is the key to success.

Three to follow

Keita Najakima

Japanese starlet Keita Nakajima finished tied for fourth place in the Ras al Khaimah Championship last Sunday and the 23-year-old should get himself in the mix again in the Middle East this week.

Nakajima can be backed at 18/1 to win in Bahrain. He has won four times on the Japan Tour, closing last year with form figures of 10-1-20-2-4-2. His 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur title came in Dubai.

Yannik Paul

Approach-play will be key to success at Royal Golf Club and Yannik Paul has been a popular 18/1 chance. The German is a supreme iron-player and he has warmed up for this with two bright performances at nearby locations.

Eighth place in the Dubai Invitational was followed by fourth in the Ras al Khaimah Championship. Paul lives in Arizona and relishes desert conditions.

Matthew Baldwin

Southport man Matthew Baldwin is a master at controlling his ball in strong breezes and the 150/1 outsider could make a mockery of his odds given the weather forecast.

Baldwin won the SDC Championship in March last year by seven shots, thriving in windy conditions. He also has competitive experience of Royal GC from finishing 21st in a MENA Tour event there in 2019.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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