Sullivan To Take Tshwane Open By Storm
The European Tour heads back to South Africa for the final time for the megabucks Tshwane Open in Pretoria.
This is the third edition of the Tshwane Open, the sixth and final event on the European Tour schedule to be held on South African soil, and the prize money of 1.5 million Euros makes it one of the richest events in South Africa. It hasn’t attracted any of the big name players but there’s a decent field of locals and European regulars, including the defending champion, Ross Fisher.
This year the tournament has moved from the Els Club to Pretoria CC, Waterkloof, which at around 7000 yards, is a much shorter course than the Copperleaf monster. The tight fairways and kikuyu rough put the emphasis on accuracy from the tee, and the small, undulating greens demand precision iron play. Otherwise, there are a few water hazards to contend with, but nothing too demanding, and we can expect some low scores this weekend.
In The Bunker
Defending champion Ross Fisher tops the antepost betting and goes into this tournament in solid form. He hasn’t finished outside the top thirty in five outings this season and recovered well from a poor start at the WGC Cadillac last week. But this year’s venue is very different to last year’s, and I’m not sure that the emphasis on accuracy from the tee and scrambling ability plays to his strengths, so I won’t be backing him at 16/1 in Pretoria.
Andy Sullivan crashed out at the Africa Open last time, missing the cut after a second round 77 but I think he’s worth sticking with this week.
Having bagged the first two European Tour wins of his career this year, both on South African soil, he should still be feeling pretty good about his game despite last week’s disappointment and the course at Pretoria will play to his strengths.
Back him at 18/1 to pick up a third win.
Jaco van Zyl took a couple of tournaments to shake off the rust after his long injury lay off, but has found form in the last fortnight, finishing second behind Sullivan at the Joburg Open and registering yet another top ten at the Africa Open last time. He hasn’t made much of an impact in this event in two attempts, but this course should suit him better than the previous venue and the Pretoria-born Sunshine Tour stalwart is a solid bet at 20/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Africa Open winner Trevor Fisher Jnr. He’s an eight-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, but last week’s victory was his first European Tour title. He’s a steady, accurate player who should be suited by the Pretoria course and in his current form, could follow up his breakthrough win with another. Back him at 28/1.