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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Ras Al Khaimah Championship (2024)

The DP World Tour continues its International Swing hopping from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah within the UAE. 

Ras Al Khaimah sits just two hours north of Dubai and this week’s venue, the Al Hamra Golf Course, will offer much of what we’ve seen across the last two weeks in the desert.

This will serve as the third playing of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and just the fourth time that the Al Hamra Golf Course has been played on the DP World Tour.

With the PGA Tour stars who have been a part of the Tour for the first two stops of this International Swing departing in preparation for next week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, we get a full field of DP World Tour players.

The Field

Daniel Gavins comes into this week as the defending champion of this event as he claimed the 2022 title in dramatic fashion.

He held a three stroke lead heading into the 72nd hole but found the water twice. He was able to calm his nerves and sink a 25-foot putt to record a double-bogey and claim victory by one stroke over Alexander Bjork and Zander Lombard.

Nicolai Hojgaard won the inaugural event but he will be state-side this week to take part in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Other notable names in this week’s field include Rasmus Hojgaard, Thorbjorn Olesen, Dan Bradbury, Alex Fitzpatrick, Yannik Paul and Jordan Smith.

The Course

This week’s venue, Al Hamra Golf Course in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE plays as a par 72 at 7,400 yards.

It was designed by the infamous Peter Harradine and will be played for the fourth time on the DP World Tour this week.

This venue has hosted the first two installments of this event but also hosted the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge on the  Challenge Tour in 2016 and 2017 and also hosted the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2018.

It’s best described as your typical desert track with wide fairways that offer minimal deterrence for bombers off the tee.

Water does come into play on eight holes to offer a bit of defense however.

This course can be attacked in different ways. The likes of Nicolai Hojgaard and Ryan Fox, the 2021 winner and runner-up respectively, used their distance to take on the course.

Last year’s winner, Gavins, used an accurate approach off the tee to claim his title.

The greens are a Sea Isle Paspalum, a grass type not often used on the DP World Tour so strong putters will see a leg up this week.

The back nine is much more challenging than the front nine, especially at the turn. 

The hardest two holes on the course at the last three events held here on the DP World Tour have been the tenth and 12th. The six hardest holes on the entire course come following the par five eighth.

The Weather

As of the time of writing this, there is a zero-percent chance of precipitation this week - surprise. Temperatures will range from 77-degrees as the lowest on Sunday and 81-degrees as the highest on Friday and Saturday. Winds will remain the lowest on Thursday and Friday at six miles-per-hour before increasing to nine miles-per-hour on Saturday and 12 miles-per-hour on Sunday. As with any desert track, winds can dry the course out, making the scoring conditions much more challenging as the week progresses. That seems to be the case this week so golfers must capitalize on Thursday and Friday, setting themselves up for a grind-fest on the weekend.

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Average Driving Distance

  • Par Five Average Scoring

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

Betting Card

Thirston Lawrence (+2500)

It wasn’t the week we thought we’d get out of Lawrence a week ago in Dubai as he placed T75th but prior to that he had one heck of a start to the season. He placed T2nd alongside Rory McIlroy to winner Tommy Fleetwood at the Dubai Invitational. He also placed T11th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, T10th at the South African Open and T7th at the Joburg Open. He is currently second on the DP World tour in SG: PUTT, 31st in average driving distance, 34th in GIR%, 37th in SG: APP, 43rd in SG: TTG and 47th in par five average scoring. I’m playing a unit on him.

Zander Lombard (+2800)

The start of my card this week is reflecting last week’s card, which all of these desert courses play the same. Lombard is currently 19th on Tour in SG: TTG, 20th in average driving distance, 23rd in par five average scoring, 31st in SG: PUTT, 48th in SG: APP and 54th in GIR%. Like Lawrence, Lombard has had a great start to this season. He placed T16th at last week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic and placed T6th the week prior at the Dubai Invitational. He also went T25th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, T12th at the South African Open and T4th at the Joburg Open. Lombard also placed T2nd here a year ago to Gavins. I’m playing one unit on him.

Haotong Li (+4500)

Li has burst onto the scene with his play in the desert to kick start his 2024 DP World Tour season. He placed T7th last week at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and placed T14th at the Dubai Invitational a week prior. He also placed T3rd here in 2021. He’s currently second on Tour in par five average scoring, sixth in SG: PUTT, tenth in SG: APP, 34th in SG: TTG, 46th in GIR% and 56th in average driving distance. He’s actually my overall favorite this week per my model. I’m playing a unit on him this week.

Frederic Lacroix (+6000)

I’m a little reluctant on this selection since we haven’t seen Lacroix in any of the previous two tournaments in the desert. However, he did place T5th at the South African Open and T17th at the Joburg Open on the season. He’s currently sixth on Tour in average driving distance, eighth in both SG: TTG and SG: APP, 25th in GIR%, 39th in par five average scoring and 98th in SG: PUTT. The putting numbers leave a bit to be desired but with the greens being Paspalum, that is up in the air for the entire field. I’m playing a unit on him this week.

Darren Fichardt (+22000)

This is my long shot of the week. It’s obvious that I like how South Africans line up to these desert tracks in my betting cards the last three weeks (including this week.) Fichartd hasn’t played in the desert the last two weeks but did place T7th at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, T45th at the South African Open and second at the Joburg Open on the season. He’s currently third on Tour in SG: APP, 17th in SG: TTG, 18th in GIR%, 55th in SG: PUTT, 58th in par five average scoring and 86th in average driving distance. He’s currently slightly below average in driving distance but as previously mentioned, there’s multiple ways to attack this course.

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