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Sugar Shane: Under-the-Radar Picks for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

By: Kyle Cunningham-Rhoads

It’s a deeper field and more players have a chance to win in Week 2.

The Middle Eastern swing heads to Dubai, where the Emirates Golf Club hosts the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Tyrrell Hatton, one of the world’s top players, ran away with the title last weekend, and he’s back in the field this week as both the odds-on favorite and our model’s pick.

It’s a slightly stronger field this week, despite the absence of players like Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. Last week, we had the top four players with a collective 40% chance to win, and this week the top four have only a collective 25% chance to win.

It’s not too big a course difference from last week, but it’s slightly more variable, which also lends itself to a wider spread of winners.

Emirates Golf Club


Tyrrell Hatton, of England, is the favorite to win this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, according to our statistical model. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The top four in our model this week are Hatton, Sergio Garcia, Collin Morikawa, and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Hatton is our pick to win, but like last week we’ll ignore this top section to discuss some other golfers.


Shane Lowry is a great sleeper pick this week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Shane Lowry

Lowry is sixth on our win percentage list. He flopped last week, showing some rust with two inconsistent rounds. But missing the weekend likely gave him a little more time to iron out his swing and we expect him to be back in form this week. Lowry plays well on all hole types, but his biggest weakness is long par 3s. Fortunately, this course features none of them, and Lowry should be able to rack up some birdies on the short par 3s and par 5s.

Martin Kaymer

Kaymer, a major champion, has some of the best ball-striking on tour. After a few clunkers, his stock is low enough that we’re happy to pounce on backing him. He’s majestic on short par 3s, where he’s projected to lead the field this week and gain 0.676 strokes per round. He’s projected to be just above average in all other hole types this week, but if he can take advantage of the par 3s he can contend on Sunday.

David Lipsky

Last week, we highlighted Lipsky as a sleeper and while many of our other picks failed to hit, Lipsky hit in a big way. After an even-par first round, he entered the weekend tied for sixth. Though he never really contended for the top spot, he played brilliantly over the weekend and finished fifth. That performance has increased his visibility and lowered his betting odds, but we still like him at his price this week. Last week, he gained on the field on all hole types except for par 5s. This was highlighted with gaining 3.43 strokes on short par 3s, or about 0.28 strokes per hole. While we expect that number to come down to earth, he should also perform better on the par 5s this week, and another top-five isn’t out of the question.

Garrick Higgo

We backed Higgo last week as well and he missed the cut by one. The model backs him again this week on another par 72 where his distance can be used to his advantage. Last week, he gained strokes on every hole type except for short par 4s where he lost a whopping 4.45 strokes in just two rounds. We see that as more of an aberration than a trend and playing those at even-field level should put him above the cut line and in a position to make some noise over the weekend.

John Catlin

Another player who missed the cut last week, Catlin is our super longshot this weekend. He was uncharacteristically bad on par 4s last week, losing 6.15 strokes in just two rounds. He’s a better golfer than that, and we expect him to gain almost a stroke per round on par 4s this week.


(AP Photo/Jamm Aquino)


Tyrrell Hatton ($11,400)

Collin Morikawa ($11,000)

Matthew Fitzpatrick ($10,100)


Victor Perez ($8,600)

Martin Kaymer ($8,300)

Ian Poulter ($8,200)


Lucas Herbert ($7,900)

Thomas Detry ($7,700)

David Lipsky ($7,600)


Garrick Higgo ($6,900)

Takumi Kanaya ($6,900)

Connor Syme ($6,800)

John Catlin ($6,200)


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