Our golf expert is looking to finish the year on a high this week.
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.
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.
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.