Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for this week's Southern African Sunshine Tour event, the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club.
- Golf expert Niall Lyons has five tips for the Alfred Dunhill Championship, including a 33/1 headline selection.
- The Alfred Dunhill Championship will take place at Leopard Creek Country Club between Thursday 26th November and Sunday 29th November.
- Brandon Stone is currently the favourite to win the Bermuda Championship, at a best price of 12/1.
Alfred Dunhill Championship Winner
Onwards we go, this time to Leopard Creek in South Africa for one of the highlights on the schedule near Kruger National Park. We'll see plenty of wildlife in the coverage this week but there's only one enclosure I'm interested in getting back into. The course went under the knife in 2017 with a change in grass from kikuyu to Bermuda being the main and not so subtle difference. We've seen the course firm up since and the last two renewals being much tougher than those that went before. Larrazabal won last year in a score of 8 under limping home in the end struggling in the conditions. After six South African victories here on the spin we've seen a change since the renovation with Lipsky winning in 2018 prior to Larrazabals win last year. It is worth noting that the change in grass could be the reason for this and we may see a more eclectic mix of nationalities contend here in the future. Fairways are notoriously difficult to find here and it'll be those who can tick off plenty of greens in regulation or who bring a sharp short game to Leopard Creek who will be in the mix come Sunday.
Matthew Jordan at 33/1 (8 Places)
Matthew Jordan struggles with accuracy off the tee but at a course that challenges the field in that category more than average, he should be considered giving what he is producing in other parts of his game. Last week he gained 0.74 strokes off the tee having hit less than 40% of the fairways. He made up for that with his approach play though hitting more greens than anyone else in the field and gaining over a stroke approaching the surfaces. He putted poorly but we can easily forgive the flatstick and that can turn hot at any moment. The Englishman is on a run of ten made cuts on the spin and is turning in some solid performances. It surely can't be long before this talented sort gets off the mark.
2pts each-way M.Jordan 33/1 (1/5 8)
Connor Syme at 60/1 (8 Places)
Despite a few missed cuts of late Connor Syme must be supported here at a venue which suits. The Scot has stalled somewhat after firing some eye-catching efforts after the break finishing 4th in the Austrian Open before rattling off three top-ten finishes on the trot at the Celtic Classic, Wales Open and Andalucia Masters. 8th at Valderrama is particularly interesting as the test is somewhat similar off the tee here at Leopard Creek. His history here is worthy of note. He won the Leopard Trophy with Scotland in 2014 and 2015 winning 6.5pts from a possible 8 across the two years. In 2016 he finished 7th in the Amateur Strokeplay before finishing runner up the following year. On his first run out as a pro at Leopard Creek last year he finished 11th in this event and with some experience in contention now in the big events he could go better this term.
1.5pts each-way C.Syme 60/1 (1/5 8)
Zander Lombard at 55/1 (6 Places)
Zander Lombard sticks out like a sore thumb in the market and I'll go ahead with backing him despite the bookies having their card marked on a Monday for minimal stakes. The South African has one of the best recent records in this event finishing 7th and 3rd the last two years. Last week he finished 15th in Joburg playing extremely well from tee to green and had the putter been a little more heated he could have got closer to the lead throughout the event. Still to get off the mark on the big tour but we've seen a few shed that tag over the last few months and maybe Lombard, who has taken to the re-design of Leopard Creek better than most can add his name to that list.
1.5pts each-way Z.Lombard 55/1 (1/5 6)
Jamie Donaldson at 45/1 (8 Places)
There have been plenty of stories on the European Tour over the last few months from Langasque's maiden win and the McGowan miracle to Shinkwin and McIntyre's wins. Another chapter that has threatened to be published in the last few months is the resurgence of Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson. The Welshman managed top tens at the Andalucia Masters and Scottish Championship before going very close in Cyprus finishing 3rd. The odd silly missed putt here and there has cost him but overall his play from tee to green has been superb. Donaldson knows himself it isn't far away and a good week on the greens is just what he is looking for to get back into the winners enclosure. I expected less than 50/1 so I'm more than happy to go in at this price in the hope he continues on this marvellous run of form.
1.5pts each-way J.Donaldson 45/1 (1/5 8)
Julian Suri at 80/1 (8 Places)
Plenty are tempting around the 40-50/1 mark most notably Darren Fichardt. He has been playing excellent stuff in his native South Africa this past few months and can go well here again on a track he knows better than most. I'd have liked a slightly bigger price though. Joost Luiten is probably playing better stuff than his results suggest also and can go well should he manage to improve on the greens. Instead, I'll opt for a three-figure punt in Julian Suri. The American has now shown enough signs of life to warrant respect with two top 25 finishes in his last three starts. His long game wasn't in great nick last week but saved himself with an exemplary short game to finish 23rd. If he can manage to improve his long game ever so slightly and arrive with the same hot putter then things could start happening. He has always performed better on the tighter tracks most notable a runner up finish in Hong Kong. He looks a tasty enough price to land his second European title.
1pt each-way J.Suri 80/1 (1/5 8)