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By David John Last updated: 1st February 2011


Lee Westwood can highlight why he is world number one in this week's Commercialbank Qatar Masters, says Dave John.

Westwood - loves the course at Doha.

Westwood - loves the course at Doha.

Is Martin Kaymer the new Tiger Woods?

The world number two produced a display in Abu Dhabi reminiscent of the great man in his pomp as he romped home by no less than eight shots from a high-class field.

He dropped one shot all week - a shank into the water from a bunker - and it means he is 13/2 to follow up at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in Doha.

"I have never played golf as good as the last four days," was his reaction after the lifting the trophy and if he brings the same level of performance to the table once again it is going to take an awful lot to stop him going in once more.

But before we all start piling on the German and claiming golf punting has never been easier, be mindful of a number of factors.

Firstly, Abu Dhabi suits Kaymer down to the ground - everything just sets up perfectly for his eye.

That is not quite the case for him in Qatar wher he has only managed one round below 70 in 10 attempts and a best of T31 here two years ago.

Throw in the usual potential for some pretty strong winds which could have a big effect on the draw and it all adds up to making another victory that bit less straightforward for Kaymer.

Whereas Kaymer revels in Abu Dhabi, Lee Westwood finds things that more difficult at the venue.

It is never a course he has thrived on but I fancy he will be make up for it here.

"This is a golf course that suits me," Westwood admitted about the layout in Doha.

"It is a good driver's course where you need to be mentally strong - it is a thinking man's golf course."

I would expect the world number one to step up significantly on his first run of the season a fortnight ago where he finished out with the washing after a pretty promising opening 69.

That effort was perhaps even more understandable as he admitted to some rust not having practised for six weeks over his winter break.

He came close to taking the top prize 12 months ago but a cracked driver hampered his chance as he tried to chase down Robert Karlsson.

So perhaps he is owed one here in terms of better fortune and should be motivated in his bid to keep Kaymer at bay in the world rankings.

It should be a fantastic duel between them this week.

Having put up Stephen Gallacher as a tip in Abu Dhabi, I left him out last week in Bahrain where he played some excellent stuff to finish in the frame and just two shots behind winner Paul Casey.

I see no obvious reason why we should not go in once again on the Scot at 55/1 and hopefully he can make it third time lucky in 2011.

His coach Bob Torrance is certainly singing his praises at the moment and is expecting plenty from him this season.

Torrance said: "He's on his way and I think he'll win before the year is out. He's got the mental strength. He's also got a good work ethic. He's a nice boy.

"He's an excellent ball-striker, the best on the Tour, I think. Nobody strikes it better. He's not frightened of anybody or anything.

"He was very close in Bahrain. He missed picking up shots on the two par-5s on the back nine."

That is quite an assessment from someone who has been in the game so long and in current mood, Gallacher must fancy his chances of another prominent week on a course he has played 10 times and posted four top-16 finishes.

His efforts last week saw him rise 15 place in the world rankings up to 74 and within touching distance of the top 64 he needs to reach to get into the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

He has until Dubai next week to achieve that goal but the confidence should be high with things very much moving in the right directon.

There were four Swedes in the top 10 last week in Bahrain and Peter Hedblom could be an interesting contender to keep up their good form at 250/1.

He has the right sort of build and a compact swing to cope well when the wind blows as he proved with his last European Tour success at Gleneagles in 2009.

He had a pretty good pipe-opener last week in Bahrain and Hedblom has shown in the past that he can play well in desert conditions with solid results in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as well as a best of T5 in Qatar back in 2003.

Final pick this week goes to Aussie Brett Rumford at 125/1 who is a man to have on your side under these conditions.

He was tied third here 12 months ago and has very much the right approach to the game when conditions become more testing.

He said: "I think you go a whole lot easier on yourself in the wind. You don't beat yourself up so much.

"I think in the wind, everyone's expectations are lower, and for me, I'm able to stay more patient in those conditions. Rather than the other way around."

That is half the battle on this golf course and I have seen enough from Rumford so far this year to suggest he could make a big challenge having made good starts in both Abu Dhabi and Bahrain before fading over the weekend.

2007 was Rumford's last win so he is well overdue when it comes to adding to his tally - he was so close at Gleneagles last year when pipped by Edoardo Molinari on the line and deserves a change of luck.

David John

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