World Cup-Winning Belgian Duo Head Qatar Market

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Thomas Pieters is seemingly the one to beat at the Qatar Masters but Antoine Rozner has won in the desert before and could challenge again.

Belgian ace Thomas Pieters

Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry are well fancied for this week’s Qatar Masters and can be backed at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively.

The Belgian pair won the World Cup together at Royal Melbourne in 2018, but have failed to make the expected impact in individual competition.

Pieters is a four-time European Tour champion at the age of 29, but that is a disappointing haul given how impressive he was early in his career, securing a Ryder Cup debut in 2016.

Detry, a year younger than his good friend Pieters, is still awaiting his European Tour breakthrough. He has finished second three times, including twice last summer in the Hero Open and Celtic Classic as part of the UK Swing.

Detry has finished third four times and has gained a reputation as a nearly-man, squandering winning chances with silly mistakes.

The low-grade Qatar gathering represents another fantastic opportunity to get the monkey off his back.

Ever Improving Frenchman Could Be Man to Beat

A final-round 64 allowed Antoine Rozner to overtake Andy Sullivan and win his maiden European Tour title just before Christmas – and that breakthrough came in the desert.

Rozner won the Golf in Dubai Championship and a second Tour success may be coming in the Qatar Masters at Education City Golf Club.

The 28-year-old Parisian finished 53rd at Education City GC last year, but was ranked 204th in the world going into that event. This week he tees up at 97th, having built on his Dubai triumph with a fast start to 2021, finishing 16th in the Abu Dhabi Championship, ninth in the Dubai Desert Classic and 26th in a high-class Saudi International.

The 22/1 on Rozner will appeal to many for Qatar as he has shown he is one of the best ball-strikers on the circuit – and he has never been in more confident mood.

Confident Rai May Build on Sunshine State Effort

Many players in the Qatar Masters’ line-up have not teed up competitively for a month – the European Tour schedule has been patchy – but Aaron Rai’s game got a serious workout in the WGC-Workday Championship in Florida the week before last. And he came through the test with flying colours.

Rai finished 18th in the WGC – a superb effort in top-class company – and that performance should stand him in great stead as he makes an enormous downgrade to the Qatar Masters.

Rai won three times on the Challenge Tour, before winning twice on the European Tour, and the Wolverhampton man can be trusted on Sundays.

He was 209th in the world rankings heading into last year’s Qatar Masters, but is up to 71st as he tees off this time, bursting with self-belief.

Rai is only 26 and his supreme tee-to-green accuracy should see him contend for many years on the right type of course. Education City, full of water and heavily bunkered, fits the bill and 33/1 may tempt plenty.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A single-handicapper, James always offers an interesting insight to the world of golf, with extensive knowledge of both the US and European Tours. James also has a wealth of information about the domestic and international football scene.

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