Coetzee Destined To Defend Joburg Open Title
After a strong start in 2015, Sweden’s Alexander Noren heads the betting for the Joburg Open but is he worth backing at 11/1?
Founded in 2007, the Joburg Open is one of South Africa’s newer events and the fourth Sunshine Tour event to be co-sanctioned by the European Tour. The field is larger than usual for a professional tournament, with 200 players being whittled down to around 65 by the half-way cut. South Africans have won six of the eight editions of this event and once again home players dominate the antepost market.
The tournament takes place over two courses at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Both the East and West courses are employed for the first two days, before play switches to the East course for the weekend’s action. The West course is the shorter and easier of the two, but both put a premium on long hitting from the tee and the Kikuyu rough around the fast greens can punish wayward approach shots.
In The Bunker
Alexander Noren tops the antepost betting after a strong start to 2015. He kicked off with a ninth in Qatar and followed up with a second at the Dubai Desert Classic and was just outside the top ten in Thailand two weeks ago.
But although he made the top twenty in his only appearance in this tournament, I don’t think he has the distance off the tee to make a serious winning challenge at this course and I won’t be backing him at 11/1.
South African players have dominated this tournament and the most prominent home player in the betting is defending champion George Coetzee. He was last seen missing the cut in Dubai, but prior to that, had made the top twenty in Qatar, so his form isn’t too bad.
More significantly, his record in this event is excellent. Besides last year’s victory, he finished third in 2013 and made the top ten in 2011. Back him at 12/1 to retain his title.
Amongst the non-South African contingent in this year’s tournament, Gregory Bourdy has the best form. He bagged top five finishes in Qatar and Malaysia and will head to South Africa with plenty of confidence. Last year was only his second visit to this venue and he impressed with opening rounds of 67 and 68 before finishing in the top twenty. In his current form, he offers plenty of value at 22/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Tyrrell Hatton. After a sparkling debut season on the European Tour, which saw him finish 36th in the Race to Dubai rankings, he has been hit and miss so far this year, following a sixth in Abu Dhabi with three poor efforts. But last year he put a poor performance in Dubai behind him to finish second in this event, thanks to a superb final round of 66. At odds of 25/1, he’s a decent bet to go one better this time.