DP World Tour Championship: Race To Dubai Winner To Be Decided6 min read
The European Tour reaches the season’s climax this week with the Race to Dubai on the line at the DP World Tour Championship. Bernd Wiesberger leads the way in the overall standings but the Austrian could still be pipped by four other players with Sunday’s winner Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry and Matthew Fitzpatrick all still in the mix.
The leading 50 players will compete at the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. The 7,677 yard par 72 typically produces very low scoring and favourable conditions should ensure plenty of birdies are required this week. Distance off the tee is an advantage around this track while previous success playing desert golf also carries significance.
McIlroy poised for more Dubai delight
Rory McIlroy has a phenomenal record in Dubai and the Northern Irishman can justify his status as short-priced favourite by ending a memorable year with another triumph. McIlroy has won four times in Dubai including two victories at the Earth Course. The four-time major champion feels utterly at home in the region and admits he finds playing this course easy. Being without his regular caddie Harry Diamond, with Niall O’Connor standing in, should prove no hindrance at a place he is completely comfortable. As well as tournament wins in 2012 and 2015, McIlroy has four other top fives and only finished outside the top ten twice in nine visits.
McIlroy absolutely loves this layout but more significantly appears to be at the top of his game with the world number one ranking within his sights. The 30-year-old has won four times this year including on his last start at the HSBC Champions in China. A brilliant PGA Tour campaign featured victories at the Players Championship and the Tour Championship. McIlroy leads the European Tour for stroke average and birdie average this season. With the Race to Dubai out of his reach, McIlroy can concentrate on landing his fifth tournament of 2019 and the 4/1 favourite merits a strong win only bet this week.
Rahm raid likely again at Earth Course
Rahm has already won this tournament on his debut and a second Dubai victory looks well within his reach this weekend. The exceptional Spaniard demonstrated his suitability to the course on his first visit, two years ago, with a 19-under-par total earning him the win. Rahm’s title defence was extremely impressive, finishing in a tie for fourth. All bar one of his eight rounds have been in the 60s and Rahm’s effortless power, which has helped him rank second for par five scoring, is capable of taking this course apart.
Rahm has an outstanding track record of winning on the European Tour and the 25-year-old has to make this week’s top heavy staking plan. He was last seen successfully defending the Spanish Open in October – his fifth European Tour title in just 39 appearances. Rahm achieved this feat in ten fewer events than legendary Spaniard Seve Ballesteros and looks destined for golfing greatness. The win was his second victory in his last six starts on the tour, after landing the Irish Open title. Rahm comes in fresh this week and has a great opportunity to win both the tournament and the Race to Dubai. A confident each way bet at 13/2 is advised on Rahm.
Confident Perez appeals at big price
With two strong favourites part of the team this week, there is only room for one more outright bet and Victor Perez looks a huge runner at bigger odds. The big-hitting Frenchman recently clinched his first European Tour win and has gone from strength to strength since this breakthrough. Perez produced a nerveless performance, shooting 22-under-par, for victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the end of September.
Far from being overwhelmed by his win, Perez has simply elevated his game to a new level and has the ability to mix it with the elite players in Europe. Perez made a superb World Golf Championship debut earlier this month, with a tie for fourth place at the HSBC Champions. The 27-year-old continued his exceptional ball striking at the Turkish Airlines Open, finishing joint second after losing in the six-man play-off. Perez, who is 35-under-par for his last eight rounds, was runner-up a year ago at the Challenge Tour Grand Final in the United Arab Emirates. With McIlroy’s former caddie JP Fitzgerald on the bag, everything is in Perez’s favour to mount a title challenge at surprisingly generous odds of 50/1 each way.
Rory McIlroy to win
Jon Rahm each way
Victor Perez each way