European Tour: Africa Asia Mauritius Open Preview

Golfer admires shot with wood in hand

We preview the tri-sanctioned Africa Asia Open which gets underway on 30 November at the Heritage Course at Domaine de Bel Ombre. 

This is a rather strange little event. It is the third renewal of an event co-sanctioned by three separate tours, and it seems to have different permutations for all concerned. The Sunshine Tour players are nearing the end of their year and require points for the rather clumsily titled “Chase to the Investec Cup” title.

Similarly, the Asian Tour players will be playing for Order of Merit points. The European Players- such as they are- will largely consist of less established individuals attempting to get an early start to points proceedings while the more elite company take a well-deserved break. So it’s clear that the event is hardly going to be a blue ribbon affair.

Africa Asia Mauritius Open | 30 November - 3 December | Domaine de Bel Ombre

After being staged at the Four Seasons club last season, the event returns to its original home: the Heritage Course in Domaine de Bel Ombre. The Peter Matkovich-designed course is just a touch under 7,000 yards and is susceptible to wind. There is water in play on five holes and the fairways are quite generous. The greens are said to be slightly tackier- more akin to those found in South African conditions, and players will be faced with some moral dilemmas with a few drivable par fours in rotation.

With only two players in attendance inside the World’s top 100, it’s no wonder that Louis Oosthuizen is a firm favorite for this event. The Open Champion will be desperate for a win in yet another year of near misses. With such little data to compile in preparation for this event, perhaps it would be prudent to fancy the South Africans in attendance. George Coetzee won the event when first played here and the Sunshine Tour players will have an edge in the conditions.

Past Winners
2016: Jeunghun Wang (-6)
2015: George Coetzee (-13)*playoff 

To Win Outright:
Louis Oosthuizen 7/1, Dylan Frittelli 14/1, George Coetzee 22/1, Dean Burmester 25/1, Nicolas Colsaerts 25/1

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Value Bets

Gavin Green- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
The Malaysian finished close to last at a Fanling course that never really suited him at all. Prior to that, however, Green had cemented his place atop the Order of Merit standings with a sequence of impressive results. He won as recently as October, then proceeded to finish seventh in Manilla. He then managed a credible 38th at the WGC HSBC. As an amateur he played with the likes of Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas, and it looks as if his modern, explosive game could suit a course begging to be taken on. His tie for second at the Indian Open earlier this season also bodes well for him.

Zander Lombard- To Win 70/1, To Place 15/1
The South African hits the ball miles, with varying results. It’s perhaps the main reason that his form can be so erratic. He finished fourth in his last outing on the Sunshine Tour in November, which should bode well this week. More importantly, he has two top fives on the European Tour proper this season, which shows that he has the potential to elevate his game and make the next step forward.

Scott Vincent- To Win 140/1, To Place 30/1
When the aforementioned Gavin Green won the Taiwan Masters earlier this season, this young Zimbabwean was amongst those tied for second. Adding to the fact that he has gone close in Asia, he has trained in the US and picked up some decent results on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada: he led an event there before being overtaken by the highly promising Lee McCoy. He was ninth at the Fiji International, which was also a coastal event prone to wind. He missed the cut in Fanling, though he finished second in Taiwan and third in Korea in the previous two weeks.

The Man to Beat- George Coetzee- To Win 22/1, To Place 48/10
While Louis Oosthuizen is not unreasonably priced considering his pedigree, that inherent inability to close tournaments, whether it be a major or not, leads me to look elsewhere for a frontrunner. Coetzee looks tremendously priced considering the fact that he won this event when last staged here- in an event which boasted a far better field than this one. He is also coming into this event with some form, with three top 10’s in his last eight events. This could be a great opportunity for him to build some early season momentum after a generally disappointing campaign.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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