Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Jo'burg Open 2013

The Desert Swing ended with Stephen Gallacher winning his second ever European Tour Title on Sunday, and thus making it two wins in three weeks for the blog. Has to be said, sometimes in sport you need a bit of luck and the Scot seemed to have it by the bucket load last week to compliment his putting performance. Runner up, Richard Sterne, was looking like the probable winner at one stage but it wasn't to be but he can certainly look forward to this week's event which returns to his home country, South Africa, for the Jo'burg Open to be held once again at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington GC, where Charl Schwartzel sets off the raging hot favourite. And why wouldn't he, having won the first two tournaments of the 2013 season in his native country! But best price 10/3 to win ? No thanks.
 I wanted to back Thomas Aiken, a native of Jo'burg and his price seems to be of some value at 33/1, but he has let me down too often and is not showing the form of promise of a few years ago. That said, he has an uncanny knack of producing the goods when least expected but for the value around the same mark, I couldn't ignore Robert Rock @ 35/1. The Englishman finished 9th here last year and  a final round of 84 two years ago can be ignored too as the previous three rounds saw him in in the top 10. It's fair to say he has really become a much consistent golfer these days and his outing last week in Dubai where he finished T7th after withdrawing the week before shows me that his game is in good shape. Having expected Rock to be around the 20/1 mark, I'm not passing on 35s!
In a very weakish field overall and with the former US Masters Champion, Schwartzel expected to take the honours, I am still surprised to see Marc Warren available at 60/1, also with Bet365. Warren was T3rd here last year and returned a top 20 the year before. He is putting very well lately and finished nicely last week for a T17th. With good memories from last year and a renewed enthusiasm for his game, I am expecting a very big showing here.
My final and third pick is Lee Slattery, having considered Jamie Elson also. The latter was 2nd here last year and 4th the year before with a top 30 the year previously. But since that runners-up placing last year, he has missed close on 14 cuts and his confidence is sure to be waning. A return to Jo'burg will be welcome but his compatriot, Lee Slattery will hopefully fare much much better. Slatts has finished in the top 20 here the past 2 years. He missed his first cut in 14 tournaments in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago so is beginning to settle into some sort of consistency. Given the field assembled here, he has a very good opportunity to make some money and make the top 5 and at the generous odds of 150/1, he completes the staking plan.


TIP 1 : 1 pt e/w R.Rock @ 35/1 Bet365

TIP 2:  1 pt e/w M.Warren @ 60/1 Bet365

TIP 3:  1 pt e/w L.Slattery @ 150/1 Bet365/Ladbrokes