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The European Tour: The BMW SA Open 2017 Preview
Our golf scribe takes a look a the betting for the BMW SA Open being played at Glendower Golf Course between the 12th and 15th of January.
The European Tour returns in a rather somber mood following the tragic suicide of former two-time SA Open Champion Wayne Westner. His playing partner in winning the World Cup of Golf will be participating this week, with the Big Easy hoping to properly commemorate the memory of his former partner. There has been a disappointing turnout this year for the usually strong South African contingent, with Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace swerving this year’s tournament.
Thank the lord for Rory Mcllroy. Not regaling on his promise to Ernie Els to play this year, the Fed Ex Cup champion and former World number one is the heavy favorite to win this week. Despite a change in equipment following Nike’s decision to stop manufacturing equipment, one would think that the four-time major winner should make easy work of this limited field. Brandon Stone and Andy Sullivan add some dubious gloss as second and third favorites, with the world’s second oldest national golf tournament - the Open Championship being the longest - struggling to retain its credibility in the face of rapid Americanization.
The C.H Alison designed Glendower golf tournament has been the entrenched host of this event for the last three editions. It plays fairly long at 7,564 yards, and is a classic tree-lined parkland course that registers around 12 on the stimpmeter. The length of the rough will clearly play some role in determining the champion, but regardless of how the course has played in the last few years, two stats have proved decisive. All three of the last winners have ranked inside the top 10 for both driving distance and greens in regulation.
The BMW SA Open | Thursday 12 January - Sunday 15 January | Glendower Golf Course
To Win Outright
Rory McIlroy 5/2 | Brandon Stone 12/1 | Andy Sullivan 14/1 | Thomas Aiken 25/1 | Richard Bland 33/1
2016: Brandon Stone (-14) | 2015: Andy Sullivan (-11)*playoff | 2014: Morten Orum Madsen (-19) | 2013: Henrik Stenson (-17) | 2012: Hennie Otto (-14)
David Horsey - To Win 40/1 & To Place 17/2
I have to admit, trying to pick outsiders here was particularly tricky. Horsey has already won four European Tour events and finished 2016 well. I just saw him at 40/1 and thought it was something of a steal considering the general mediocrity of the field. He finished in a tie for fourth at the KLM, soon followed by a tie for 5th at the Italian Open. In November he delivered another excellent display in at the Turkish Airways Open, finishing in a tie for 2nd. He then finished in a tie for 13th at the highly competitive, season-ending DP World Tour Championship. So there definitely appears to be an upward trajectory here.
Retief Goosen - To Win 50/1 & To Place 11/1
‘The Goose’, as he is affectionately known, has really struggled through injury and serious dips in form in recent seasons. That putter of his has been the bane of his existence, regularly preventing him from being competitive. He seemed to steady that to some degree towards the middle of last season on the PGA Tour, with five top 25 finishes in just 16 starts on the demanding calendar. He looked jaded at the Safeway Open and Sanderson, and a rest will have done him the world of good coming into this tournament, where he finished in a highly respectable tie for fourth last season.
Romain Langasque - To Win 66/1 & To Place 14/1
This one boils down to instinct. At the center of a vanguard of young, aspirational French golfers, Langasque really burst onto the scene at last year’s Masters, finishing in a tie for 39 and going home in 31 on Sunday, making it the lowest back-nine in the history of the Masters by an amateur. He cut his teeth on the Challenge Tour in 2016, with three runner-up finishes showcasing his prodigious talents. He eventually finished in ninth place on the standings and recently finished in a tie for 10th at the Australian PGA. This kid is definitely one to watch.
The Man to Beat- Rory McIlroy- To Win 5/2 & To Place 11/20
As obvious a selection as backing Daniel Day Lewis to win an Academy award, but I just can’t look past Rory this week. If there were perhaps two or three more names popping out the field, I may balk at his ridiculously short odds, but Rory is just a class above and should win this tournament easily. He doesn’t have the greatest history in South Africa, being cut in two of the three events he has played here, but I feel that statistical analysis will be offset by his mammoth driving and general X factor.