Schwartzel’s bid for a historic third consecutive victory never looked likely, but he did at least maintain recent good form with 14th position in Qatar. Strangely for a player who generally thrives on this type of course, the South African has yet to better 24th place here in six tries.
Huge-hitting Quiros has held chances on the last two Sundays, and with the Emirates another target golf course he could well challenge again. His returns on this course so far have been surprisingly weak, though last year’s personal best of 13th did include a superb 64 to finish.
Hanson has only missed one top-20 from his last eight events, and played better than results of 14th and 11th suggest over the past fortnight. His penultimate visit to the Emirates yielded a top-ten finish, and that looks about his mark once again.
Having slipped way down the pecking order over the last couple of seasons, last week’s top-ten finish was a reminder of Fasth’s pedigree. At his best, his course record was superb, with four top-11 finishes this century. That is comfortably reflected in shortened odds, though.
This is another Gulf course where Soren has rarely looked at his best, with just one top-ten to show from 11 attempts.
The Welshman has made the top-20 on seven of his last eight visits, and looks a lively outsider after returning to form with fifth in Qatar.
Twice runner-up and five times in the top ten here, Jimenez would be a must-bet if in good form. Sadly, there’s been no sign of that over the past fortnight.
This hasn’t proved a particularly happy hunting ground for the consistent Italian, whose best from five visits is just 24th.
The Aussie left-hander pulled off a huge shock when winning this event back in 1997, and bottled a golden opportunity to do so again in 2006 when carrying the lead up the last. Its that longstanding temperamental weakness that deters me from backing him to win, but another place is a very plausible target.
Back to form last week and one of the likeliest first-time winners around, but that is unlikely to change on a course where his best from five is just 16th.
Fourth place in 2006 is Anders’ sole top-ten finish from nine tries, and the Dane is hard to fancy after last week’s disappointments.
Edfors’ huge-hitting, attacking game has always struck me as ideal for the Emirates, so he made the shortlist at 100/1, despite failing so far to better 13th place in five cracks at this event.
As a great putter of fast greens and generally under-rated character on the world stage, Jeev may well have been a pick were it not for the fact that his wife gave birth to their first child last week. Some punters think the ‘nappy factor’ gives golfers a boost, but I’m not convinced the initial distraction can help.
Two previous top-sevens at the Emirates, plus an improved level of form last autumn give Dyson an each-way squeak.
Finishing runner-up on his penultimate start confirmed Clarke can still be a force in golf, but this was never his ideal course even at his peak.