Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour: Sunshine Tour Preview

European Tour: Sunshine Tour Preview

Golfer admires shot

There is little rest for the wicked as the 2020 edition of the European Tour starts in earnest in South Africa this week. The Sunshine Tour offers an intriguing window into the next generation of European stars, with many Challenge Tour graduates in attendance.

The European Tour | Sunshine Tour 
Alfred Dunhill Championship
Leopard Creek Golf Club, Malelane, Johannesburg
Thursday 28 November - Sunday 1 December

Jon Rahm’s epic victory in Dubai last week was a fitting conclusion to yet another sensational European voyage. It underlined the depth of talent that is currently percolating inside the European game. But there is little rest for the wicked as the 2020 edition of the European Tour starts in earnest in South Africa this week. This is often an event that can get lost in the shuffle, exacerbated by its titular similarity to the Dunhill Links event. But it can often offer an intriguing window into the next generation of European stars, with many Challenge Tour graduates in attendance. And if all else fails you can just sit back and enjoy the stunning vistas emanating from Leopard Creek. 

This event has been a fixture on the tour since 2000, though it only moved to Leopard Creek in 2004. The Gary Player design is one of the most stunning courses on the entire tour. It hugs the Kruger National Park and cameramen will spot a variety of animals ranging from Zebra to Impala. The par 5 13th actually overlooks Crocodile River. This course underwent significant change in 2017, with the Kikuyu fairways and bentgrass greens converted to extremely modern strands of Bermuda. The changes had an immediate effect, with Lipsky’s winning score last year showing a clear drop to previous seasons. The fairways and greens will play firmer and players will need to putt well to compete this week. 

Charl Schwartzel returns to action this week in an event he has absolutely dominated over the last decade. The four-time winner returns from injury in perhaps the most fitting location. Zander Lombard will be looking to build on his form at the Nedbank Golf Challenge while Erik Van Rooyen leads the markets. Englishman Eddie Pepperrell will look to conquer the field in what has been a hugely disappointing season. This is one of those weeks in which I like to just sit back and relax, taking in some of the gorgeous scenery and seeing who could explode onto the scene next season. 

Past Winners
2018: David Lipsky (-14)
2017: no event
2016: Brandon Stone (-21)
2015: Charl Schwartzel (-15)
2014: Branden Grace (-20)
2013: Charl Schwartzel (-17)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Erik Van Rooyen (10/1)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (14/1)
Charl Schwartzel (16/1)
Eddie Pepperell (18/1)
George Coetzee (18/1)


Value Bets

Brandon Stone
To Win (28/1), To Place (6/1)

26-year-old Brandon Stone has been one of the biggest disappointments on the tour this last year. One would have thought that the three-time winner would have kicked on after that monumental Scottish Open victory. Stone will hopefully be galvanized by a return to familiar climes. He hasn’t finished outside the top 20 in three starts here. Furthermore, he won the 2016 edition by a full six shots!  Stone should still shine in this depleted field. He also showed renewed form in his last start, finishing 2nd in the Portugal Masters. 

Adrian Meronk
To Win (50/1), To Place (11/1)

As I alluded to briefly earlier, there will be a deluge of new talent on show this week. 14 of the 15 Challenge Tour graduates will be on display this week. 26-year-old Pole Adrian Meronk had a stellar conclusion to his Challenge Tour season, with five top 10’s in his final six starts on tour. That includes a victory in Portugal. He ultimately finished 5th in the Challenge Tour Order of Merit. 

The Man to Beat

Charl Schwartzel
To Win (16/1), To Place (7/2)

This one may look a tricky proposition considering the context. The former Masters champion is a titan in this event. He has won the event on four separate occasions. Perhaps even more amazingly, he has also finished runner-up on four other occasions. So why is it that he currently sits behind Van Rooyen and Bezuidenhout in the markets? This will be his first European Tour event of the entire year. It will be the first time he has teed up since April owing to a serious hand injury. So there is clearly a risk in backing a player returning from a six month layoff. To me, it just serves to make him a more attractive price.  

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