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DP World Tour Championship preview: Can Rory McIlroy Sten’ the tide in Dubai

by Sean Goff | November 18, 2015

You’ll need more than Roy Hodgson’s maths to work out the winner of the Race to Dubai (R2D) title as 60 of the world’s top players tee it up for the final European Tour event this season – the DP World Tour Championship.

Picking the winner in the last two seasons in Dubai has been all about clicking on the words Henrik Stenson as the Swede tries to get all Zlatan Ibrahimovich on Rory McIlroy’s ass and retire the mop top for the season.

But McIlroy will have his own ideas about muscling in on Stenson’s Dubai crown and a second R2D title of his own that looked in the bag until England’s Danny Willett made some serious inroads these past couple weeks to try and knock him off his f****** perch.

With three of the last six winners of this event also bagging the R2D title (though Stenson’s too far back this term to do the double)  it’s all about to kick off in Dubai.

Here are 5 players you’re backing with Paddy Power as of 11am on Wednesday to end the season on a high.

US-Open-Rory-McIlroy-Trophy

Rory McIlroy

Set the out-of-office last week and paid the price with Danny Willett snaffling a T28 place to join McIlroy at the top of the R2D leaderboard.

McIlroy could point to his mid-season ankle injury as a factor in allowing the chasing pack to scent blood – but swerving two of the four final tournaments through choice has opened the door for one of six other players (Branden Grace, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Louis Oozthuizen, Danny Willett, Bye-ong Hun An) to pick his pocket if results don’t go his way.

Last seen when getting the bum’s rush at and finishing T11 at Sheshan but is sure to have his game face on as he looks to repeat his excellent Earth course form that includes a 2012 win.

Throw in a form of match play and mental needle with Danny ‘the Tour makes it easier for McIlroy’ Willett and you’re guaranteed a motivated McIlroy in Dubai.

An, Byeong Hun

The 24-year-old South Korean rookie has been going through the gears nicely over the last few months. Already a winner on Tour in the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club in May – he’s hit top form the last few weeks.

Followed up a T4 to Victor Dubuisson in the Turkish Airlines Open, with T19 at the WGC-HSBC Champions before just missing out by one shot behind Broberg & Patrick Reed in last weekend’s BMW Masters playoff.

No rookie has ever won a R2D title but his form is smokin’.

Henrik-Stenson-840-x-400

Henrik Stenson

If it horses for courses you like then look no further than Stenson who has owned the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates with back-to-back wins.

The good news for the dual R2D and Stateside Fed Ex title winner – is that he can go for the jugular as he’s too far back in 16th place to wrestle a R2D title away from the others when the mathamathical gymnastics kick in.

The not-so-good news is he’s paired with Patrick ‘F Bomb’ Reed (beaten in the BMW Masters play-off last week) and will need to avoid that distraction on the well-manicured Dubai fairways.

Just missed out on a Shangahi play-off place behind compatriot and eventual winner Krisstofer Broberg last week, but past form points to Stenson going all out for his first win of the season after a relatively quiet 2015.

Victor Dubuisson

The Frenchman saw off some persistent challengers to end a two-year win-less streak by notching up his second Turkish Airlines Open a month ago. Four rounds in the 60s helped his cause on a track he’s shown previous form at and the Frenchman has Earth Course form that isn’t too shabby either.

Runner-up with Rory McIlroy behind Henrik Stenson last year,  he was also third to the big Swede the year before so his course form – unlike his temperament – can’t be questioned.

If that emotional win in Antalya hasn’t emptied his reserves too much, then the mercurial  Dubuisson can be among the challengers this weekend.

Shane-Lowry

Shane Lowry

A step-change victory in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational secured the Irishman’s card for the US Tour next season and Lowry looked like he was about to go on another run when second in the BMW Masters in October on his second start back after a long break.

Began the R2D series by finishing eighth in Turkey but was well back in the field in the HSBC Champions and in Shanghai last weekend.

Despite this blip, Lowry is still fourth in the R2D rankings and has course form on his side with a fifth-place finish here last season.

One final effort could cap an already stellar year with another Tour win and a massive R2D payday if other results go his way.

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