European Tour: The Tshwane Open Preview

Golfer admires his shot

We preview the Tshwane Open which is set to take place at the Pretoria Country Club between 1 March and 4 March 2018.

With the European Tour’s hosting duties split this weekend, it’s really little wonder that this co-sanctioned event will attract little fanfare in the shadow of the WGC behemoth in Mexico. Last year’s champion Dean Burmester is actually in Mexico, attempting to make a breakthrough on the major stage.

So it clearly shows that tournaments such as this do have the potential to launch careers. The Pretoria Country Club hosts the event for the fourth consecutive season, after it took over hosting responsibilities from the Ernie Els designed Copperleaf course in 2015.

The Tshwane Open | 1 March - 4 March | Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof, 

Opened way back in 1910, the Bob Grimsdel designed course was heavily renovated by the Gary Player Group in 2004/2005. It isn’t particularly long at 7,081 yards, and is described as a fairly tight, tree-lined course. The kikuyu fairways are tight in places while the small undulating greens are bentgrass. A river runs through holes 13-17, and while the course description seems to suggest accuracy will be key, it appears driving distance is a more useful barometer. Coetzee and Schwartzel ranked 39th and 18th for driving average respectively, while they ranked 10th and second for distance. 

Dean Burmester’s victory last season also seems to suggest that power will be key here. Smaller events like this tend to offer far more value at the top end of the market. In reality, former champion Coetzee should really be operating at around 7/1. But his recent form- against far more illustrious fields- works to inflate that price. South African players have won every edition of the event held since its switch to Pretoria Country Club, hinting at a potentially strong local correlation this week. 

 YESWENA

Past Winners
2017: Dean Burmester (-18)
2016: Charl Schwartzel (16)
2015: George Coetzee (-14)
2014: Ross Fisher (-20)
2013: Dawie Van Der Walt (-21)

To Win Outright: 
George Coetzee 14/1 | Julian Suri 18/1 | Alex Bjork 18/1 | Marcus Kinhult 22/1 | Erik Van Rooyen 25/1

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Value Bets 

Erik Van Rooyen- To Win 25/1, To Place 5/1
Erik Van Rooyen seems to me to represent great value at 25/1, especially when you consider some of the major results he has had over the last year. He managed a victory on the Challenge Tour last year- his victory in the Hainan Open is evidence that he has the capacity to dominate a lesser field. He was also the runner-up in the Joburg Open in December: the Joburg Open had a far more challenging field than this week. He followed that up with a top 20 finish at the SA Open, once again against a far better field than this. 

Jacques Blaauw- To Win 33/1, To Place 13/2
Once again opting for a local player, Blauuw seems to represent the perfect confluence between form and historical data. Blauuw finished second here behind George Coetzee in 2015, which was obviously the first time the event had been held here. His subsequent finishes of 53rd and sixth at least indicate that it wasn’t purely a once off. He is also in relatively metronomic form, with three top 15 finishes in five starts thus far this season. 

Romain Langasque- To Win 60/1, To Place 12/1
Romain Langasque is almost your stereotypical French golfer, whose mercurial tendencies make him a tough player to sell at any price. It’s very rare that I would back a player who has missed 11 out of his last 14 cuts. But my optimism is based on his ability on South African courses. In amongst that horror run of cuts were finishes of third and 13th at the Cape Town Open. He also has a 18th here last season, showing that he has the capacity to play well on this course. 

The Man to Beat- George Coetzee- To Win 14/1, To Place 28/10
As I alluded to in my introduction, this could very well be the week to back a firm favourite, especially one at 14/1! One of golf’s great underachievers, Coetzee picked up that brilliant victory here in 2015 and generally has a great record on home soil. He has two victories in his last 19 events in South Africa and also has current form figures of 13-8. As a man with a winning pedigree, I find it far easier to put my faith in him as opposed to Alex Bjork, who has yet to pick up that breakthrough victory. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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