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Dubai Desert Classic preview: Nicolai Hojgaard set for further UAE success

The DP World Tour stays in Dubai this week for the Dubai Desert Classic, starting on Thursday at Emirates Golf Club, where Rory McIlroy is clear favourite.

WhatDubai Desert Classic
WhereEmirates Golf Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
When03:10, Thursday, January 18, 2024
How to watchbet365 Live Golf Tracker & Sky Sports Golf
OddsRory McIlroy 11/4, Tyrrell Hatton 10/1, Tommy Fleetwood 11/1, Nicolai Hojgaard 20/1, Brian Harman 22/1, Cameron Young 22/1, Adrian Meronk 22/1, Joaquin Niemann 25/1

Tommy Fleetwood and McIlroy battled for the Dubai Invitational title at Dubai Creek last Sunday and the Ryder Cup colleagues headline another DP World Tour gathering in the same region this week.

Fleetwood beat McIlroy by a shot in the Dubai Invitational, the Englishman making the most of a final-hole error from the Northern Irishman to claim the spoils in dramatic fashion.

World number 11 Fleetwood can be backed at 11/1 for back-to-back Dubai triumphs. The Dubai resident used his local knowledge to succeed at a rarely employed venue last week, but the course he tackles this week is familiar to most of the field. The Emirates has hosted DP World Tour events since 1989.

Fleetwood's record at the Emirates is patchy, so it is understandable to see the Englishman on offer at much bigger odds than the man he edged on Sunday. McIlroy, in contrast, has a magnificent Emirates CV, which includes three victories.

McIlroy nearly always contends when he tees it up in the Dubai Desert Classic, so the odds of 11/4 will appeal to plenty of punters. The Northern Irishman took defeat well at Dubai Creek, accepting that he was bound to make some errors in his first start of the year, but he will be much angrier with any mistakes he makes in this week's Rolex Series gathering.

The Desert Classic is not, of course, a two-runner affair. A field of 132 will be going to post and that line-up includes reigning Open champion, Brian Harman, who is making his Emirates debut and is 22/1 to triumph.

His fellow American Cameron Young has also made the long trip to the United Arab Emirates, while Joaquin Niemann, who won the Australian Open before Christmas, provides some LIV Golf representation.

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

Dubai Desert Classic course details

Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is a 7,428-yard, par-72, with four par-fives, 10 par-fours and four par-threes.

Ernie Els is the course-record holder, having carded a 61 in the 1994 Desert Classic. Thomas Bjorn, Rory McIlroy, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Stephen Gallacher and Haotong Li are the only course winners taking part this week.

Emirates has been used for the Desert Classic since 1989 apart from a two-year switch to Dubai Creek from 1999 to 2000. The Emirates has traditionally been a big-hitters' track and the champions usually make their score on the par-fives. It should be sunny and warm throughout, with light to moderate breezes

Three to follow

Nicolai Hojgaard

The DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November went the way of Nicolai Hojgaard – the brilliant young Dane – and the 22-year-old could be set for another success in the same location.

Hojgaard can be backed at 20/1 to claim a fourth DPWT title on Sunday. His last two victories have come in the United Arab Emirates. This week's assignment suits him well.

Laurie Canter

A brief LIV Golf career banked a huge amount of money for Laurie Canter and the Bath man can approach the future with confidence. The 60/1 chance loves Emirates GC and could be worth an each-way investment.

Canter finished fourth in the 2021 Dubai Desert Classic. He was fourth in the Australian Open just before Christmas, then runner-up in the Mauritius Open.

Richard Mansell

Another Englishman who could be worth following each-way this week is Richard Mansell, who is on offer at 100/1. Like Canter, Mansell is a DP World Tour maiden, but they are both supreme ball-strikers who should take the Emirates apart from tee to green.

Mansell played well in Australia just before Christmas, then finished 14th in the Dubai Invitational last week.

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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