Expert Picks: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
- By Golf Channel Digital
- Jan 25, 2012 9:30 AM ET
This is a double week for fantasy players! GolfChannel.com experts offer up their fantasy choices below for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and their selections for the Farmers Insurance Open can be seen here. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton; "Morning Drive" hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.
Group 1: Martin Kaymer: On Wednesday a media official only half-jokingly welcomed the German to the "Martin Kaymer Golf Championship." The guy owns Abu Dhabi.
Group 2: Francesco Molinari: It seems like one of the Molinaris are always in the hunt in Europe and according to the schedule it's Francesco's turn.
Group 3: Tom Lewis: Young Tom is a star-in-waiting and this would be a solid week for him to take his next step.
Group 4: Pablo Martin: Three starts in Abu Dhabi and he's only made one cut, but he seems like he's due.
Group 1: Martin Kaymer: 3 wins in the last 4 years here, a runner-up finish the other year, top-11 finishes in 4 of his last 4 worldwide starts...need I say more?
Group 2: Pablo Larrazabal: Earned his 2nd career European Tour win last year and also finished 11th in Abu Dhabi. While many are looking at Alvaro Quiros, I am paying attention to this Spaniard.
Group 3: Tom Lewis: If Bud Cauley is the hot young talent on the PGA Tour in 2012, it can easily be argued that Lewis plays that role on the European Tour this year. Can definitely make a big splash if he plays well here.
Group 4: Chris Wood: This young man who made his name through a couple top-5 finishes in the Open Championship still seeks his first career European Tour win. Has a pair of top-25 finishes in two appearances in Abu Dhabi.
Group 1: Martin Kaymer: I know that Tiger Woods is in the field, but when you have someone who has gone 1st-2nd-1st-1st in the last four years, how can you not pick the guy?
Group 2: Alexander Noren: I am very bullish on Noren to make the Ryder Cup team this year. Does not have a great record at Abu Dhabi but he is motivated this year and someone worth taking a chance on.
Group 3: Branden Grace: Lack of experience means nothing to me when you are winning. Grace is playing against a very strong field but I think he is up to the challenge.
Group 4: Gareth Maybin: Finished T-5 here in 2011 for his best finish on the European Tour last year. This is his first start of 2012 and Abu Dhabi has some good vibes for Maybin.
Group 1: Martin Kaymer: He dominates this event. Three wins since 2008, including a complete decimation of the field last year.
Group 2: Francesco Molinari: Strong history here with top-10s in two of the last three starts.
Group 3: Rafael Cabrera-Bello: The Spaniard finished 7th last year by turning it on over the weekend. Plus, I really like saying his name.
Group 4: Chris Wood: The 24-year-old Englishman has a pair of top-25 finishes in his first two appearances in this event.
Group 1: Martin Kaymer: Three wins in Abu Dhabi in the last four years. Seems like a no-brainer.
Group 2: Padraig Harrington: Taking a bit of a leap of faith, but Harrington plays well in Abu Dhabi.
Group 3: Branden Grace: The winning streak has to stop sometime, but Grace now has a modest chance to get to Augusta National.
Group 4: Chris Wood: He has top-25 finishes here in each of the last two seasons.
Group 1: Luke Donald: Tempted to take TW, but will stick with the consistency.
Group 2: Matteo Manassero: Hope the youngster makes waves in a stud field.
Group 3: Branden Grace: Hottest player in the world is in Group 3. Good enough for me.
Group 4: Chris Wood: This guy has underachieved in his career. Hoping for lightning in a bottle.
Group 1: Martin Kaymer: The man's high score in his last 10 rounds at Abu Dhabi is a 67. His stock fade is perfect there.
Group 2: Francesco Molinari: Two top-10s in his last three starts at Abu Dhabi. The kid's got game.
Group 3: Rafael Cabrera-Bello: Young Spaniard finished seventh at Abu Dhabi last year.
Group 4: Chris Wood: Former European Tour Rookie of the Year should be ready for a move up in class. Twice, he finished runner-up a year ago.
Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Top-fives in seven of his last eight starts, including two victories.
Group 2: Nicolas Colsaerts: Cracked radius in his right elbow has since healed. Finished one stroke outside of the playoff at the Volvo Golf Champions earlier this month.
Group 3: Branden Grace: Gunning to become the first to win three straight events on the European Tour since Seve Ballesteros in 1986.
Group 4: Anders Hansen: Seems like a mistake to slot No. 38 in the world in this group, but I won't second-guess.
You can watch complete coverage of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship live Wednesday on Golf Channel from 10PM-3:30AM ET and Thursday-Sunday on from 4-8AM ET.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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