- The Abu Dhabi Championship from Abu Dhabi Golf Club tees off Thursday, January 21st
- Rory McIlroy the slight favorite to win over Justin Thomas
- We’ve narrowed down the golfers with the best chance of emerging victorious and provided the best value bets below
Rory McIlroy’s first start of 2021 is at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Championship from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This tournament has long vexed the Ulsterman, as he’s finished runner-up four times yet hasn’t lifted the trophy. He’s the favorite to claim his 15th career European Tour title over Justin Thomas, who’s playing this event for the first time.
This is the first of four Rolex Series events on the European Tour calendar, with Lee Westwood returning as defending champion. Tommy Fleetwood was co-runner up last year to Westwood, narrowly missing out on his third Abu Dhabi Championship title in his last four attempts.
Going low is imperative to win this golf tournament, with 13-under-par being the worst winning score in the 15 years of this event, dating back to the inaugural edition way back in 2006. Close events are the norm also, with nine and eleven of the last twelve iterations featuring winning margins of no more than two strokes.
2021 Abu Dhabi Championship Odds
Odds taken January 18th from FanDuel
Tommy Fleetwood Owns This Track
It’s tempting to want to wager on either Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas, but their current prices are just so low, particularly for Rory who’s never won this tournament or JT, who’s never played it before. Enter Tommy Fleetwood, who has made this track his personal playground.
— Flagman Ireland (@flagmanireland) January 21, 2018
Having tasted success in back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018, and then finishing in a tie for second last year, his odds are much more palpable at +1400 as opposed to the favorites. Fleetwood hasn’t been playing poorly heading into this week either, with just one missed cut in his last 13 starts. His last time out he was T-10th at the DP World Tour Championship, making him an intriguing option this week.
Last Five Abu Dhabi Championship Winners
|2020||Lee Westwood (-19) two shot win|
|2019||Shane Lowry (-18) one shot win|
|2018||Tommy Fleetwood (-22) two shot win|
|2017||Tommy Fleetwood (-17) one shot win|
|2016||Rickie Fowler (-16) one shot win|
Abu Dhabi Championship Best Value Picks
- Martin Kaymer (+3300): Three-time champion of this tournament from 2008, 2010 and 2011. He’s also had other close calls, with a runner-up, third place, T-4 and T-6 here. Had a resurgence to his game last season, where he had six top-10s, including a T-8th at this event.
- Joost Luiten (+6000): The six-time European Tour champion has had several close calls here in the past. Two years ago he finished with a solo third place. T-5th in 2016, sixth in both 2014 and 2013. Made eight of his last ten cuts with five top-25 finishes in that span.
- Rasmus Hojgaard (+10000): Deep dive with big potential upside. Already with two European Tour titles to his credit, the 19-year-old Danish sensation has cooled off after a blistering summer, which saw him go a four-tournament stretch with 2-T6-3-WIN results. Since that torrid run he hasn’t been as strong in the last eight times teeing it up, with nothing better than a T-31 showing, thus why his odds are so high. On talent alone, however, he’s worth a dart throw.
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