Golf betting tips and free bets: Picks for the American Express and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship including 100/1 shot | The Sun

The golf season continues its high octane start to 2023 with half of the world’s top twenty in action at the American Express event in California,  and a classy field assembled for the Abu Dhabi Championship.

Jon Rahm is clearly the man to beat at the AmEx after his victory in the Tournament of Champions made it three wins and nothing worse than fourth place in his last five starts.

He is also a former winner here in La Quinta so he is a worthy favourite at around 13-2. But having talked myself out of backing him at Hawaii because 6-1 looked too skinny, I’m going to risk making the same mistake here.

The Spaniard has to have an off week some time, and against such a top quality line-up he only needs to be a little below his best to allow his rivals an opening.

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This event can throw up surprise winners – Hudson Swafford triumphed a year ago, with Rahm well back in a tie for 14th. So maybe opposing the hottest player on the planet is not totally insane.

The Abu Dhabi market is dominated by the players who blew off the cobwebs at the Hero Cup last week, with Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton disputing favouritism at around 11-1, just ahead of Shane Lowry.

All three are former winners in Abu Dhabi. But not at Yas Links, which took over as the host venue last year – much to Hatton’s annoyance, as he described the closing hole as the “worst par five I’ve ever seen”.

The fact he took seven there in the second round – and NINE a day later – had a lot to do with that. But he birdied the 18th on the other two days, and if he can play it in around even par this time, he could grow to love the place.

But backing Hothead Hatton when you know he’s looking for trouble may not be the best course of action….

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AmEx tips

Hot shot; Will Zalatoris, 18-1.

There were no signs of any injury hangovers as Zalatoris returned to action with a share of 11th in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago, after being sidelined for five months with back trouble.

That injury flared up just a week after the world No 7 had finally opened his PGA Tour account with victory in the first of the FedEx Cup play-offs, the St Jude Championship.

He spent plenty of time working on the only weakness in his game – a tendency to miss short putts – while he was resting his back. This could prove a breakthrough season for the man who has already finished runner-up in three Majors. 

Mid price: Brian Harman, 33-1.

Harman never quite got into the dogfight as one of the tips for the Sony Open. But he still managed to stretch his sub-par streak to 24 rounds, with four more efforts in the seventies.

He also likes it at La Quinta. He finished in a tie for third here last year, a repeat of his 2017 effort, and he is given a chance to recoup last week’s losses.

Long shot: David Lipsky, 100-1.

The bookmakers seem to have ignored Lipsky’s share of fourth in Hawaii last week, but I reckon it was further proof that he is getting to grips with what is required on the PGA Tour.

The American cut his competitive teeth in Europe, winning twice, before heading to the Korn Ferry Tour and winning again on his way to clinching a place among the big boys. He is a player to keep an eye on this year.

Abu Dhabi tips

There are plenty of players who did well here a year ago at fancy prices this time, and Scott Jamieson and Ashun Wu are two who should give us a good run for our money.

Scotland’s Jamieson, a 66-1 shot, looked like completing a wire-to-wire win in 2022 before stumbling into a share of tenth with a closing 77. 

But a couple more rounds like his opening 63 would give him a good chance of making amends, and it was encouraging to see him round off 2022 with a trio of top 15 finishes.

Chinese star Wu posted three good rounds last year, but suffered more than most in  the high winds that sent scores soaring on the Friday. He still finished alongside Rory McIlroy and Lowry on five under par, and at 150-1 he is worth a small interest.

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