*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
I’m going to start with the big hitting Adrian Meronk. He hits it miles and gets loads of birdies. He lost a playoff here on the Challenge Tour which is a good pointer when you consider last week’s runner up Jordan Smith had won at the course on the Challenger Tour.
I can forgive him for a quiet week as the week before probably took it out of him. This week we’re getting a bigger price than last in a weaker field. I think he’s well worth siding with.
I’m going to give another chance to Romain Langasque. He might have tested the patience of a few backers last week when he made an 8 on a par 5 and a 6 on a par 5 to miss the cut by a shot.
He tried a couple of silly shots around the greens but he was the 3rd best driver in the tournament behind the guys who finished 1st and 2nd in the end. If he can tidy up his short game he’s got all the talent in the world.
A couple at a price who caught the eye last week starting with George Coetzee. He’s been improving week on week but had a cold putter last time which is not like him. He’s one of the top 10 putters on the DP World Tour, no doubt about that.
I’m sure he can bounce back in that department. If his long game remains, and bearing in mind he loves a shootout which is what this is, I think he’ll go really, really well.
The other is Francesco Laporta. He’s looking for his 6th top 10 finish in his last 16 starts so he’s been a regular contender. He’s a little in and out but there was plenty to like last week. He finished 21st and drove the ball well, he didn’t necessarily make his share.
His two best performances at this level have both come in Dubai so not too far away. It’s something that he’s definitely shown a fondness for, desert golf. Laporta is one of the best maidens around who, in this sort of field, has a touch of class.
I’m going to take Justin Thomas as this is a tournament, if you look at the roll of honour, where we should be focusing on the bigger names. Thomas has finished 3rd in two fo the last three years and was on course to do even better than that last year.
Unfortunately his grandfather passed away on the eve of the final round and he really struggled on Sunday, quite understandably. If you look at everything else he’s done at the course in the last three years he screams winner in waiting here. It’s a great course for someone whose main strength is approach play.
Scottie Scheffler, he was 7th here last year and played in the final group with Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth, that was a big experience for him. He obviously went on to make his Ryder Cup debut and demolished Jon Rahm in the singles.
The only thing left for him to do now is go on and get his first PGA Tour title. It could certainly come in a big event like this. He’s got course form and started the season really encouragingly. Loads more to come from him if he can just get the driver purring again.
Two at a price and I’ll start with Corey Conners. If he can putt a little bit better he would have won more than his one PGA Tour title by now. I think his biggest problem is probably that he’s consistently okay with the putter.
It’s actually probably helpful if you can have really good weeks and really bad weeks as, on the good weeks, you can go and win. If he does putt above average, his long game is certainly one of the better in this field.
The other one at almost twice the price, I think, is Aaron Wise. kind of like Conners his course form doesn’t leap off the page. He lives in Las Vegas and is a very good desert golfer. He’s just in a much better place than when he’s played this course previously.
You look at the end last year it looked like he’d have a massive 2022, we’ve actually only seen him once at Torrey Pines where he missed the cut by a single shot. He’s got a terrible record there but we’ve seen the long putter working for him now and it’s really seemed to have helped him.
* Read more of Ben Coley’s top tips at SportingLife.com
* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
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