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Qatar Masters preview: Rasmus Hojgaard remains the man to beat

The DP World Tour stays in the Middle East this week for the Qatar Masters, starting on Thursday at Doha Golf Club, where Rasmus Hojgaard assumes favouritism yet again.

The DP World Tour's long stretch of tournaments in the Middle East comes to an end this week with the Qatar Masters.

The year has started with the Dubai Invitational, the Dubai Desert Classic, the Ras al Khaimah Championship and the Bahrain Championship.

A constant feature throughout these desert events has been Hojgaard, who has teed up in every one of them.

The determined Dane, who was heartbroken to miss out on the Ryder Cup and then fall short in his bid for a PGA Tour card, is looking to put his 2023 misery behind him.

Hojgaard can be content with his four-week stretch, which has resulted in form figures of 11-11-2-8 and plenty of Race to Dubai points, but he has failed to convert any of his winning opportunities.

Ras al Khaimah, where he was destroyed by his compatriot Thorbjorn Olesen in a weekend duel, was a particularly disappointing tournament for Hojgaard.

The 22-year-old has won four times on the DP World Tour and plenty of punters will be supporting him for the Qatar Masters at 11/1. The cocksure youngster is a class apart to most of the Doha field.

Yannik Paul can be backed at 18/1 for Qatar glory. The German has become one of the best iron-players on the circuit, regularly peppering pins with his approach shots, but miserable putting continues to blight him.

Will this be another week where Paul fails to convert his opportunities?

Zander Lombard is an 18/1 chance as he has another crack at shedding his DP World Tour maiden tag.

The South African has made a habit of getting close to the lead, then faltering, but he has been swinging well.

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

Qatar Masters course details

Doha Golf Club is a 7,475-yard, par-72, with four par-fives, ten par-fours and four par-threes.

Adam Scott, who fired a spectacular 61 in 2008, is the course-record holder, while there are six former Doha champions in the field - Darren Fichardt, Alvaro Quiros, Chris Wood, Jeunghun Wang, Eddie Pepperell and Ewen Ferguson.

Doha has been the home of the Qatar Masters since 1998. Education City Golf Club took over for two years in 2020 and 2021, before Doha resumed hosting duties in 2022.

Sunny and warm weather seems guaranteed, but there could be some challenging breeze around for the first two days, before a calm weekend.

Three to follow

Frederic Lacroix

Improving Frenchman Frederic Lacroix has been a popular 30/1 chance for the Qatar Masters. The Parisian has finished in the top 20 in his last nine tournaments - five on the Challenge Tour and four on the DP World Tour - and the 28-year-old appears to have come of age.

Lacroix, who was third in the Ras al Khaimah Championship and fourth in the Bahrain Championship, could go even better in Doha.

Tom McKibbin

Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington have both said they expect Northern Irishman Tom McKibbin to become a golfing superstar and the 21-year-old may advance his career this week by winning the Qatar Masters.

McKibbin can be backed at 22/1 for Doha glory, having started the year with form figures of 25-14-16. He finished ninth on his Doha debut last season, so can be expected to hit the ground running from a morning tee-time.

Sean Crocker

Two bright 2024 performances from Sean Crocker - sixth place in the Dubai Invitational and 16th in the Bahrain Championship - have given the American some confidence heading to Qatar.

The 45/1 chance finished tied with McKibbin in ninth place in last year's Qatar Masters and has the ball-striking class to enter the equation again.

Crocker carded a bogey-free round of 68 in Bahrain on Sunday and can threaten a second DPWT title this 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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