joburg open

At this time of year the European Tour becomes something of a global roadshow, packing its bags and leaving its traditional continental base behind. It goes chasing the sun which has meant the two week stop-over in Dubai and we now have three events over the coming weeks in South Africa.

This week it’s the Joburg Open, which is capturing the attention of the golfing world without a PGA Tour tournament in the US this weekend.

It should be a fascinating event in a country which has become a hotbed for top-quality golfing talent, producing a huge number of tournament winners in recent years.

Here’s a preview of the action from the Golf Insider

Joburg Open: The Tournament 

First played in 2007, the tournament started out as a co-sanctioned event between the Sunshine Tour, which is the professional golf circuit in South Africa, and the main European Tour. And then in 2017 (it was actually played twice this particular year, as the golfing calendar was re-jigged), the tournament became a three-handed affair with the Asian Tour also laying claim to a third share of the event. Further changes to the annual schedule saw it totally disappear from view in 2018 and 2019, before its return in 2020. As you might expect at this time of year, and in this part of the world, the field is taken up with a large percentage of home-based golfers. Same applies this time around, but a fair number of European players have made the trip to Randpark this week.

Joburg Open: The Course

Located to the North-West of Johannesburg, the Randpark Golf Club dates back to the early 1940s, but this week’s “Firethorn” course (the second course at the venue) was created in the 1960s under the guidance of Sid Brews. It was re-modelled most recently in 2015 by Sean Quinn, and now plays as a par 71, laid out over an extended 7,506 yards. It features several water hazards, and boasts a testing run-in with the 16th-17th-18th holes regarded as one of the stiffest closing run of holes anywhere in the country.

72 hole record: 260, Richard Sterne, 2013.

18 hole record: 63, Stuart Smith, 2017.

Joburg Open: Past winners

2020: JB Hansen
2017: Shubhankar Sharma
2017: Darren Fichardt
2016: Haydn Porteous
2015: Andy Sullivan

Joburg Open: The Field

A standard field in terms of numbers this week in Joburg, not hugely deep though in terms of actual quality with Dean Burmester the $10 market leader with TopSport.

Joburg Open: The Weather

A predominantly dry week is expected with a daily precipitation forecast of 20%-10%-20%-20% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will be in the low-70s, with a fair degree of cloud cover all week. Maximum wind speeds will range between 12-15mph over the four days.

Joburg Open: The Bets
Daniel Van Tonder – currently $38 with TopSport

Van Tonder is a great-looking bet for several reasons. Firstly, this is a relatively poor field with Burmester clear favourite – which straight away tells you there isn’t a huge about of superstars to beat. Secondly, after a poor spell of form, DVT finished 19th on his last start in Dubai, and his game looked in good shape, gaining strokes on the field in four of the five major stat categories. DVT is a European tour winner already this season, winning in Kenya, and he’s played some superb golf earlier in the year, with some excellent strokes gained numbers, especially from tee-to-green. But the main reason he appeals this week is that his record in South Africa is second to none in this field, with an amazing four victories and two runners-up finishes from his last 13 starts in his home country. DVT is a great ball-striker who recently found his form again, and now he returns to a country he thrives in. Considering all this, I’m amazed he’s widely available at 50/1+ in a relatively weak field. He’s arguably the bet of the week for me.

George Coetzee – currently $29 with TopSport

This week the European Tour pitches up in South Africa, and given the time of the year, and lack of preparation time, this gives a huge advantage to those players who are used to these conditions – in many cases Sunshine Tour players, and those from South Africa in particular. Coetzee is one such example. A fine 6th here last year, and a player who has won multiple times in his homeland (in fact, his form since the start of 2020 in SA reads 1-14-40-MC-1-2-MC-8-2-6). He won on his last start in the Vodacom Origins in August, and although his form in Europe since has been nothing special, more suitable conditions, and a weaker field, will undoubtedly help. Coetzee is a different proposition in his own backyard and, for me, he’s a more appealing bet than several of his fellow countrymen at the head of the market.

The Golf Insider is a GUN. Look at these winners, all since the start of 2020...

Martin Laird $201, Rasmus Hojgaard $151, Mark Hubbard $126, Marc Warren $101, Sam Burns $67, Tyrell Hatton $51, Peter Malnati $46, John Catlin $46, Talor Gooch $41, Harold Varner $36, Harris English $34, Robert Macintyre $31, Adri Arnaus $26, Connor Syme $26, Scott Jamieson $24, JB Holmes $21, Seamus Power $21, Dustin Johnson $21

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