The money list: Best bets for the Dubai Desert Classic
We make our picks for the second event of the European Tour's desert swing, with an in-form Englishman tipped to win.
Back to win: Matthew Fitzpatrick –
Rory McIlroy is the clear favourite to win in Dubai this week, but the world No. 11 is just too short at , so we’re going with Fitzpatrick.
The 23-year-old ended last year on a roll with 10 successive top-20 finishes, a run that started with his win at the European Masters in September.
He made a good start to 2018 last week, too, placing third in Abu Dhabi, four shots behind winner Tommy Fleetwood.
Fitzpatrick finished fifth at this event last year, and his accurate game means he’s a real contender this weekend given how well he’s played over the past few months.
Each-way shout: Rafael Cabrera-Bello –
Cabrera-Bello has an excellent record at this event, having won it in 2012, finished second in 2016 and 11th last year.
The Spaniard ranks 11th in driving accuracy and third in greens in regulation on the PGA Tour this season, and finished second at the Qatar Masters – a good guide for this event – two years ago.
Cabrera-Bello managed to finish 40th in Abu Dhabi last week, but he did place inside the top 20 in all three of his starts in the desert at the beginning of 2017 and is good value to contend this weekend.
Outside shot: Richard Sterne –
If you’re looking for a punt at a big price this weekend, look no further than Sterne.
The 36-year-old finished a respectable 19th last weekend – his second top-20 in as many starts this season – and has now made 11 consecutive cuts dating back to September.
Sterne currently ranks eighth in driving distance on the European Tour, and that bodes well for his chances given that all of the top 10 at this event last year ranked inside the top 30 in that statistic.
The South African placed second in Dubai in 2013 and is a good bet for a similar result this week.