European Tour Picks: DP World Tour Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/18/2014
The final PGA Tour official event of 2014 wrapped up on Sunday, and I'm a bit angry that Charley Hoffman won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico because I've picked him twice over the past 15 months or so to win an event and he didn't.
The American shot a final-round 66 to rally from a three-shot deficit for his third career Tour win but first since the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Meanwhile, 54-hole leader Jason Bohn -- my pick to win!!!! -- imploded with a front-nine 40 on Sunday, closed with a 74 and tied for seventh. Just can't catch a break. Hoffman did deserve it as he was fifth in driving distance and fourth in GIR. In the last calendar year, he is one of just five players to win on the PGA Tour while finishing fifth or better in distance and GIR. That's surprising. Led by second-place Shawn Stefani, seven players who finished in the Top 10 at the OHL Classic matched or set personal bests in any tournament. I honestly had never heard of Shawn Stefani. Gwen, yes.
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As noted, Bohn was my pick at the sweet price of 33/1. At least he paid off at +285 for a Top-10 finish. I also hit on Chris Stroud at -125 over Ben Martin, Bohn at -115 over Nick Watney and Rory Sabbatini at -138 as the top South African.
Perhaps shifting to the European Tour will end my winner's drought. That Tour's version of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Race to Dubai, concludes this week with the DP World Tour Championship. I would like to tell you there's some drama here on who will be the European Tour money champion, but world No. 1 Rory McIlroy has it sewn up despite not playing the first three events of the Final Series. McIlroy, who also won the USA and European money titles in 2012, hasn't played since a runner-up finish at the Dunhill Links Championship in October. He has led the points race since taking the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship in successive tournaments in July and August. McIlroy never planned to play last week but missed the first two Final Series events to prepare for an upcoming court case with his former management company.
Entering last week's Turkish Airlines Open, three players still had a mathematical chance to catch McIlroy: Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia and Marcel Siem. One of those guys would have had to win that event and this week in Dubai. American Brooks Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open for his first European Tour victory. Koepka, who will now get to play the Masters for the first time, likely will be named this season's European Tour Rookie of the Year. He's a full member of the PGA Tour now. It's been a great week for Americans in Europe as John Hahn, a 25-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, shot a 12-under 58 in Tuesday's fourth round of the European Tour Q-School. Hahn is close friend with Koepka. However, the 58 won't count as a record because preferred lies were in place on a soggy course.
The Greg Norman-designed Earth course at Jumeirah Estates in Dubai is a monster at 7,675 yards, but the greens are huge. You are going to see very low scores. Henrik Stenson set the tournament record last year at 25 under. It's a strong field of 60 that includes 29 winners from the 2014 European Tour season. Eight of those 29 are in the Top 10 of the Race to Dubai. The two players within the Top 10 looking for their first win this season are Stenson and Victor Dubuisson. Anyone who finishes in the Top 15 of the Race to Dubai gets to share in a bonus pool of money.
European Tour Golf Odds: DP World Tour Championship Favorites
To no surprise, McIlroy is the 9/2 favorite at Bovada. I'm not sure that's very good value. Really, what does McIlroy have to prove here? He's likely going to be a bit rusty as well. McIlroy did win the tournament in 2012 with a then-record score of 23 under.
Stenson is the 9/1 second-favorite. The Swede finished six shots ahead of England's Ian Poulter last year with all four rounds in the 60s. It was his first European Tour victory since the 2012 SA Open Championship. Stenson has had a strong season in Europe with nine Top-10 finishes but just hasn't won.
The favorites are rounded out by Justin Rose (14/1), Poulter (18/1) and Sergio (18/1). Poulter missed a six-foot putt last week that would have forced a playoff with Koepka. Poulter, who has had a rough year, opened a six-shot lead with rounds of 64 and 66 before a 75 on Saturday.
European Tour Picks: DP World Tour Championship Predictions
On the Top-10 props, I like Stenson at -150, Rose at -110, Donaldson at +175 and Lee Westwood at +175. Westwood won this in 2009, the first year of the event. Head-to-head, take Stenson (+120) over McIlroy (-155), Rose (-130) over Koepka (even money), Garcia (-125) over Koepka (-105), and Joist Luiten (-115) over Louis Oosthuizen (-115). Take four strokes or more as the winning margin at +350. That has happened in two of the previous five tournaments here.
Stephen Gallacher might be worth some long-shot money at 80/1 to win. He has improved his finish in each of the first three events of the Final Series and has won the Dubai Desert Classic the past two years. Sometimes guys just play well in certain parts of the world. However, my pick is Stenson as he's overdue -- finished third last week -- and becomes the first repeat winner of the DP World Tour Championship. Stenson has never defended any title in his career.
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