European Tour: The Joburg Open

Golfer admires shot with wood in hand

We preview the tri-sanctioned Joburg Open which gets under way at the Randpark Golf Club on Wednesday 7 December. 

Another tri-sanctioned event awaits this weekend as the tours shift to the heartland of South Africa for the 12th edition of the Joburg Open. The event has been kind to the whole sentimental local hero thing: eight out of 11 winners have been South African.

Renovations to Royal Johannesburg have necessitated a change of venue to Randpark Golf Club. The event hasn’t been staged here since around the turn of the century, which makes predictive analysis even more hazardous- a fact further exacerbated by the enormous field.

The JoBurg Open | 7 December - 10 December | Randpark Golf Club, Johannesburg

A mammoth 240 players will tee it up this week, with two courses being rotated for the first few days. Bushwillow is a little over 7,100 yards and will play easier than the monstrous Firethorn- although altitude will equalize the length to some extent. Both courses are tree-lined and will require accuracy, while the thick rough seems like it will be more punitive than Royal Johannesburg. Heavy rain has been in the area, which should make the fairways more receptive. The bombers should appreciate it, especially with the event switching to the extensive Firethorn Course over the weekend.

Louis Oosthuizen is once again a massive favourite, however his performance in Mauritius was hardly inspirational. Furthermore, the size of the filed here makes those odds look even less appealing. Last week’s champion Dylan Frittelli will feel confident while the likes of Haydn Porteous and Paul Peterson lurk menacingly in the field. It should make for an interesting event with the switch from February to December making for a more festive affair.

Past Winners
2017: Darren Fichardt (-15)
2016: Hayden Porteous (-18)
2015: Andy Sullivan (-17)
2014: George Coetzee (-19)
2013: Richard Sterne (-27)

To Win Outright
Louis Oosthuizen 11/2, Dylan Frittelli 8/1, George Coetzee 14/1, Paul Peterson 20/1, Hayden Porteous 25/1

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Value Bets

Paul Peterson- To Win 20/1, To Place 44/10
This one is on the basis of form. The big-hitting American is currently in the form of his life, with two recent runner-up finishes. That runner-up finish included that Hong Kong Open performance against a far deeper and more talented field. Peterson’s recent form figures read 8-2-7-2-22, so it makes sense to back him towards the top end of the market, particularly with Oosthuizen and Coetzee flattering to deceive in recent weeks.

Romain Langasque- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
Although he has had a disastrous 2017- losing his European Tour card- the super talented Frenchman could be a force to be reckoned with in this field. His third place finish in Mauritius bears testament to the remarkable talent he possesses: Dylan Frittelli has said that Langasque will almost certainly be a future Ryder Cupper. He finished 11th in this event last season and had a 21st in the SA Open and 198th in the Tshwane Open- indicating that he enjoys these climes.

Mikko Korhoven- To Win 140/1, To Place 30/1
While I have stated that length may be key in taming these course this week, the deadly accurate Fin may be a man on the outskirts of the betting profile that could be respected due to accuracy. The deep rough and tight fairways mean that Korhovan- a two-time runner-up in 2017, could be a threat this week. Korhovan also has an established South African pedigree, finishing runner-up at the Tshwane Open and seventh at the BMW SA Open. He may have preferred dry fairways to accentuate his accuracy, but his fondness for these conditions could bode well for him.

The Man to Beat- Hayden Porteous- To Win 25/1, To Place 11/2
Considering my reservations regarding Oosthuizen and the fact that Frittelli may find it hard to go back-to-back, the big-hitting Porteous looks a good bet in the upper echelons of the betting spectrum. The winner of this event in 2016, Porteous has been a bit indifferent of late. This course should suit him far better than Mauritius however. His recent 12th at the Nedbank bears testament to that. Additionally, he has experience here. He won an amateur event here as recently as four years ago. He beat a solid field consisting of the likes of Zander Lombard by a whopping 14 strokes.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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