The Nelson Mandela Championship | Wednesday 11 December - Saturday 14 December | Mount Edgecombe Golf Club
The Nelson Mandela Championship will tee off at Mount Edgecombe Golf Club this week and this will be the last event of the South African leg of the Tour, for this year. The course is well known amongst Durban locals as being short (it plays 6.612 yards) but tricky, with tight fairways and a fair amount of water making accuracy off the tee key. That shouldn’t be a problem for most of these golfers though, all of whom would have played trickier courses in their day, so expect scores to be fairly low. Seeing as though a premium will be placed on accuracy, players who are able to hit their irons well will do well but in a field like this, which contains only a handful of well-known names and an abundance of local players looking to make a name for themselves, it is always difficult to uncover who those players are. Never fear though, we’ve done the hard work for you and come up with four players who should contend.
To Win Outright
Branden Grace 14/1
George Coetzee 16/1
Darren Fichardt 18/1
Jaco Van Zyl 22/1
Romain Wattel 22/1
Soren Hansen (35/1 a win, 77/10 a place)
Accuracy will be key here and the winner will have to be able to avoid the trees and water that are found all over this course, so with that in mind, my first tip is Soren Hansen. He proved at the Alfred Dunhill that he can play in South Africa and managed a 65, an achievement that was helped in part by the fact that he hits more greens in regulation than most. He will definitely be able to navigate this course and avoid the hazards so expect him to do well this week. Each way on Hansen is the bet for me.
Adilson da Silva (45/1 a win, 99/10 a place)
In a field like this, it’s often tough to find the value because anyone in the top 20 in the betting has a real chance of winning. Having said that, when a premium is placed on driving accuracy and the course is fairly short, one of the first names that comes to mind when looking for a winner is Adilson da Silva. He is generally devastatingly accurate and yet so far this season has struggled to stamp his authority on the game. This could change this week though and he’ll be looking very forward to taking apart a course he knows well. Each way is the bet for me.
Damien McGrane (100/1 a win, 22/1 a place)
Although McGrane has had what can be described as a mediocre season at best, he will be looking forward to this one and will surely be hoping to give himself a real chance of at least a top five finish. It’s surprising to see him available at 100/1 in a field that consists of a lot of unknown locals and for me he definitely represents the most value in the field. Precision is key and decent putting will be rewarded and both of these factors can potentially play right into the Irishman’s hands. I like the look of the each way bet here but for the more conservative among you, the top ten finish option is also available.
TOP BET: George Coetzee (16/1 a win, 7/2 a place)
George Coetzee looks the best of the locals for me this week. After following him closely at the beginning of the year, I eventually had to stop as he wasn’t playing as well as I thought he would but I’ve always maintained that he is one of the most talented golfers on the Tour who has the ability to go far. He’s well known as a big hitter which, whilst not essential, could help him edge out the competition if he manages to drive some of the shorter par 4s. 16/1 looks about right to me this week. Get on.