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Ras Al Khaimah Championship preview: Rasmus Hojgaard the one to beat at Al Hamra

The DP World Tour stays in the Middle East this week for the Ras al Khaimah Championship and it is Rasmus Hojgaard that heads the betting.

Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy are spending the week with their feet up, having won the first two trophies of the DP World Tour season, so the lesser-lights of the circuit take centre stage in the Ras al Khaimah Championship.

Nicolai Hojgaard has a PGA Tour card, so is competing in California this week in the Farmers Insurance Open, but his twin brother Rasmus has stayed in the Gulf region looking for Ras al Khaimah Championship glory.

Rasmus narrowly missed out on a PGA Tour card through the Race to Dubai Rankings last season, so his focus is on the DP World Tour. The 22-year-old is desperate to make up for missing out on the last Ryder Cup by having a dominant 2024 campaign on the DP World Tour, setting himself up for a place on Team Europe for 2025.

Nicolai Hojgaard won the Ras al Khaimah Championship by four shots in 2022. His sibling has a similar style of play – built on powerful driving – and Rasmus knows he carries the same weapons to destroy Al Hamra. He can be backed at 11/1 for victory this week.

Rasmus has finished in the top 20 in his last five tournaments. He was sixth in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa in November, then 11th in the DP World Tour Championship and 11th again in the Dubai Desert Classic last week.

Al Hamra form figures of 42-30-6 are progressive for Hojgaard and he seems set to continue that upward trend this week. He is a four-time DP World Tour champion and his putting stroke was in mint condition during the Dubai Desert Classic.

Jordan Smith and Thorbjorn Olesen are closest to Hojgaard in the outright betting. Smith has won only two DP World Tour titles, despite being nine years older than Hojgaard, and the Englishman can be backed at 16/1 to complete his hat-trick on Sunday.

Ras al Khaimah Championship course details

Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras al Khaimah, UAE, is a 7,410-yard, par-72, with four par-fives, 10 par-fours and four par-threes. 

The 2016 and 2017 Ras al Khaimah Challenge on the Challenge Tour was staged at Al Hamra, as was the 2018 Challenge Tour Grand Final, the 2022 Ras al Khaimah Classic and the 2022 and 2023 Ras al Khaimah Championships. 

Wide fairways and straightforward greens encourage low scoring. Sunny, warm and calm weather is expected for the first three days this week, before a breezy Sunday.

Three to follow

Laurie Canter

Former LIV Golf player Laurie Canter can be backed at 28/1 for the Ras al Khaimah Championship. That price has appealed to plenty of punters. Strong driving has been the key to success at Al Hamra in the past, with four par-fives and some driveable par-fours, and Canter's tee-shot class gives him an edge.

Canter was in great form before Christmas, finishing fourth in the Australian Open and runner-up in the Mauritius Open, so last week's missed cut in Dubai was probably just a blip.

Alejandro Del Rey

Swashbuckling Spaniard Alejandro Del Rey looks an interesting 45/1 chance this week. This attacking player is a superb driver who should make mincemeat of the four par-fives at Al Hamra.

Del Rey ended last year strongly, finishing fifth in the South African Open and seventh in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, and he was bright for three rounds in Dubai last week. He finished 28th at Al Hamra last year.

Keita Nakajima

Former world number one amateur, Keita Nakajima, is on offer at 35/1 this week. Given the rich potential of the Japanese starlet, many punters may choose to side with him in this lowly grade.

Nakajima has won four times on the Japan Tour, as well as finishing runner-up six times, while he ended last year with form figures of 10-1-20-2-4-2.

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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