Joburg Open

Golf traders up and down the land will have booked Thursday and Friday off if they are in any way sensible so as to avoid the minefield that is the Joburg Open this week. A tri-sanctioned event this week which houses 240 competitors across two courses. The usual venue is undergoing renovations so we return to the Randpark Club in Johannesburg which last held a proper European Tour event in 2000. Mathias Gronberg edged out local man Darren Fichardt to win the SA Open that year. For this years renewal we play the tougher Firethorn courses 3 times and the other round will be played on the slightly easier Bushwillow layout. The Firethorn course should test length off the tee whilst scoring opportunities await on the Bushwillow being slightly shorter and of course altitude playing its part also.

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With this being the last preview of 2017 we will attempt to go out on a high note. I'll be looking to have South Africans at the core of my betting arsenal this week as their record in home events is excellent. The two at the front of the market don't whet my whistle though. Oosthuizen was very inconsistent last week and almost threatened each round to take control only to falter amidst strange, whiffy golf shots. His unbalance when nearing the lead on Sunday was certainly strange to watch and in a huge event played over two courses I can happily leave the 11/2 on offer. Single figures about the extremely talented Fritelli is way short for me also. He could and maybe will go on to achieve great things on the tour but at the moment single figures in any event such as this won't entice many into backing him. The better bets lie elsewhere for me.

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Coetzee didn't quite fire on all cylinders last week but registered a respectable top ten finish in his attempt at defending in Mauritius. He is another who doesn't win often enough for his talent but I'm happy to have him on side this week back in his home country. A lot of players have posted solid form on different tours in the lead in to this event but very few hold the class that the top end of this market does, regardless of current form. The tree lined nature of the Bushwillow course will suit Coetzee and with the lengthy, more tough Firethorn to play the other three days he may just be one of those who can capitalise on a few birdies there. He makes tonnes of birdies and putts well in these parts so for me he rates a slightly better bet than Porteous who has all the credentials to go well here but remains a bit inconsistent in my eyes. With experience on his side and only a few points shorter in the market it is George who gets the nod from me.
 

G Coetzee - 2.5pts @ 16/1
Although he gets nervy around a lead with some of his course form here down the years Darren Fichardt is somewhat of an obvious choice. Nevertheless, I can't help but add him to my team this week. He finished in the top 10 in a Sunshine Tour event here and finished runner up to Gronberg in the 2000 renewal of the SA Open. Couple that with a top 20 last week in Mauritius and a 6th placed spot in the Nedbank he is in fine form. Many may find it difficult to cope with the slower pace of play this week and the change of courses bu Fichardt is a veteran in these parts and holds plenty of the keys to success around here. The bookies are well aware of his chances and have him chalked at a malnourished 25/1. For me though, value isn't everything in this game and I'm prepared to invest some dough.
 
D Fichdart - 1pt e/w @ 25/1
Romain Langasque had a disappointing finish to his 2017 season but got back on the horse last week in Mauritius with an impressive display. Needing a good finish to get into this weeks event he duly obliged with what he thought was a crucial 5 footer on th2 72nd. He could afford to miss it but he didn't know that and handled his nerves pretty well. This week I can see that form continuing and the very talented Frenchman may just be about to deliver on some of that potential that has been whispered about for a while now. Overall he looks a tasty enough each-way bet to me. 
 
R Langasque - 1pt e/w @ 40/1
In a top heavy field in which the quality becomes very ordinary the further you go down the betting I think James Morrison is worth an each-way play at 66s. He started off 2017 in smooth enough style with eye catching performances in South Africa. 13th in the SA Open was backed up with 4th and 6th placed finishes at this event and the Tshwane Open. That can not be ignored. What we will choose to ignore is last Fridays 75 in Mauritius to miss the cut after a steady enough 69 on Thursday. The previous week he finished in 10th spot in Hong Kong in a solid enough field. He enjoys playing here and the 66/1 just might look tasty after a couple of rounds. 
 
J Morrison - 1pt e/w @ 66/1