The DP World Tour stops over in the Persian Gulf for the inaugural staging of the Bahrain Championship.
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2023/2024 DP World Tour – Bahrain Championship
Montgomerie Course, Royal Golf Club, Bahrain
The departure of Tyrell Hatton to LIV Golf must have felt like a dagger to the heart of European golfing purists. Rahm is one of the most prestigious players in world golf and his departure- though fiscally terrifying- felt somewhat understandable.
Tyrell Hatton has never won a Major and has struggled to convert from winning positions in recent years. For LIV to offer him almost triple what he has made throughout his US PGA Tour career is scary.
The DP World Tour is going to need to reassess their stance on Ryder Cup qualification if they don’t want Ross Fisher and Eduardo Molinari to be teeing it up at Bethpage in 2025.
This week will see the penultimate event of the desert swing, with the tour moving from the UAE to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the inaugural staging of the Bahrain Championship.
Thorbjorn Olesen cantered to victory last week and let’s hope for a slightly more enthralling finale this time round.
This will be just the second time in 13 years that the tour has stopped off in Bahrain. And though this is the inaugural staging of this particular event, this will not be the first time that this course has been used on the DP World Tour.
The Montgomerie Course hosted the Volvo Golf Champions event 13 years ago, with Paul Casey emerging victorious with a brilliant 20-under-par.
Montgomerie Course, Royal Golf Club
Designed by its namesake Colin Montgomerie, this course is an exposed desert layout with a bit of a linksy feel. That linksy dimension will only be enhanced by a pretty dire wind forecast this week.
So, as always with these exposed desert tracks, look for players with strong links and desert credentials.
The putting surfaces are viciously contoured and actually caught quite a lot of flak back in 2011. Players who are able to eliminate three-putts should prosper this week.
Thorbjorn Olesen was a late withdrawal this week, leaving Rasmus Hojgaard as a pretty compelling favourite. He finished a distant runner-up last week, but he has been playing really solidly of late.
29-year-old German Yannik Paul has been a bit of a breakout star over the last two years and he comes into this event in pretty decent form.
Keita Nakajima and Jordan Smith have picked up some impressive results during this desert swing while Zander Lombard will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing weekend at the Ras al Khaimah Championship.
To Win Outright:
Rasmus Hojgaard 12/1, Jordan Smith 18/1, Yannik Paul 20/1, Zander Lombard 25/1
Alex Fitzpatrick – To Win 35/1 | To Place 15/2
This could be the week when Alex Fitzpatrick finally wins his maiden DP World Tour title. He won his maiden professional title at the Challenge Tour in August and he has only missed one cut since then.
This included a second-place finish at the ISPS Handa World Invitational. He also finished fifth at Crans and eighth at the Australian Open. He has finished 16th in back-to-back Middle-East events and he may thrive in this week’s field (the poorest of the desert swing).
He ranked 1st for SG: Around the Green in Al Hamra and this week will require a strong short game.
Pablo Larrazabal – To Win 50/1 | To Place 11/1
Pablo Larrazabal is really worth a risk at any price. The mercurial Spaniard just has the inalienable ability to win: he has won four times in the last two years. He actually played here in 2011, finishing in a tie for 24th.
That course experience could be very useful this week (especially with these somewhat idiosyncratic putting surfaces). He missed the cut last week, but he did finish 4th at the Dubai Desert Classic (in far more illustrious company)
The Man to Beat – Yannik Paul – To Win 20/1 | To Place 44/10
Yannik Paul has emerged as a brilliant approach player over the past few years and there are a few daunting approaches at the Montgomerie Course. Paul has also been in excellent dessert form, finishing fourth at the Dubai Invitational and at last week’s Ras al Khamiah Championship.
Looking past his missed cut at the Dubai Desert Classic. A Colorado resident, Paul has an affinity for desert golf and he could outclass this field.