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Bryson DeChambeau was sixth on his Saudi debut in 2019 and will relish taking on this ‘bomber’s paradise’. Back the monster hitter to win at +800 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Belgian Thomas Pieters has strong course form (22-3) and can beat Saudi first-timer Jason Kokrak over 72 holes at -120 with bet365.
Frenchman Alexander Levy was fifth in the first Saudi International and posted a top 10 in Dubai last week; he can land a top 20 at +425 with bet365.
Bryson DeChambeau to win +800 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Thomas Pieters to beat Jason Kokrak in a 72-hole match -120 at bet365
Alexander Levy to land a top 20 +425 at bet365
|Saudi International Information|
|Where||Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia|
|When||Thursday, February 04 – Sunday, February 07|
|How to Watch||Thursday 3.00am-9.15am ET (Golf Channel), Friday 3.00am-5.00am, 6.30am-9.15am (Golf Channel), Saturday 4.30am-9.00am (Golf Channel), Sunday 3.30am-8.00am (Golf Channel). All 4 days on Sky Sports|
The European Tour’s Desert Swing used to consist of three tournaments: the Abu Dhabi Championship, the Dubai Desert Classic, and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. It’s now expanded and one of the new kids on the block is this week’s Saudi International.
This will be just the third edition, the first two being won by major winners: Dustin Johnson (-19) in 2019 and Graeme McDowell (-12) last year. A quick glance at the field and it’s easy for bettors to think they’ve clicked on a PGA Tour event instead.
The Saudis are keen to get a stronger place on the golfing map and have managed to attract a host of big names from the PGA Tour. DJ is back for more, Bryson DeChambeau plays the event for a second time and Patrick Reed continues his 100% appearance record.
Reed comes in off a win at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open in California although he’s struggled on his previous two trips to Saudi, posting T56 in 2019 and missing the cut last year.
Royal Greens Golf and Country Club – set alongside the Red Sea – hosts for the third straight year so we do have some past course form to peruse.
At just 7,010 yards, this is the shortest of the courses used on the Desert Swing, and par is listed as 70. Big hitters have tended to dominate although McDowell’s win showed that being able to handle coastal breezes is an important factor too.
Bryson DeChambeau played this event for the first, and only, time in 2019. And keeping in step with his strong record on the European Tour he played well to finish tied sixth.
He’d won the previous week’s Dubai Desert Classic by seven so maybe it was a bit much to expect back-to-back wins.
The monster hitter gave a press conference for this week’s event earlier in January and it’s worth revisiting it. He said:
I like the golf course quite a bit, especially since I’m able to hit the distances I’m now hitting it. I feel like I have an even better advantage on the golf course because it is a bit of a bomber’s paradise, and I love that opportunity. When I played there, I finished sixth. I have a lot of great memories about the golf course.
Now hitting it longer than anyone else in golf, it’s easy to see DeChambeau overpowering Royal Greens. Perhaps the same could be said of DJ and it may just come down to which of the two US raiders has a better putting week.
It’s close to a coin toss between the two but, at the odds, DeChambeau makes more appeal. To give his +800 some context, that’s the same odds for him winning The Masters in April. This seems a much easier task.
There are plenty of 72-hole match bets to get stuck into and the one I like best is Thomas Pieters to beat Jason Kokrak. It’s likely that bet365 has paired these two as both are huge drivers; in other words, both should relish the challenge.
However, we already know that Pieters does while it’s just guesswork when it comes to Kokrak as this is the American’s debut. Pieters has enjoyed himself at both Saudi Internationals, opening with a 63 in the round on debut before finishing T22 and then closing with 65 to take third place last year. After injuring his finger at the start of the year he’s finding a groove again and improved from T41 in Abu Dhabi to T27 in Dubai last week.
Kokrak has gone 35-56-29 in his three PGA Tour starts so far which is okay but nothing amazing. He doesn’t boast much experience of playing worldwide and has a poor record in the PGA Tour’s desert events at TPC Scottsdale and TPC Summerlin.
Pieters holds the aces; back him at -120 with bet365.
Alexander Levy has some appealing converging trends this week and gets the vote for the top 20 picks. The Frenchman has pegged it up in both editions of the Saudi International, firing a pair of 65s on the way to tied fifth in the inaugural event and adding T38 last year. It’s a course where his attacking style is rewarded.
After some struggles, he’s now playing some fine golf again. Levy has four top 20s in his last eight European Tour starts and three of those double as top 10s.
Notably, he’s made a strong start to this year’s Middle East Swing. He started out with T25 in the Abu Dhabi Championship and shot all four rounds under par to add T9 in last week’s Dubai Desert Classic.
His irons were on point in the latter and, although there are plenty of top-class names here, he’s still capable of getting in that top 20. Take the +425 at bet365.
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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