Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Nelson Mandela Championship 2014

The last event of the South African swing before the return in January comesthis week in the shape of the Nelson Mandela Championship to be held at Mount Edgecombe GC just outside Durban where Scotland's Scott Jamieson defends. 12 months ago he won the weather affected tournament over 36 holes. Unfortunately this year, the tournament coincides with the passing of Nelson Mandela himself and as South Africa mourns its great leader, the event is brought forward a day with a Wednesday start.
   From a betting perspective this could be a nightmare event with so many South Africans in the field wanting to win and a few European Tour players hoping to get a decent result in before the break. Its worth noting that Thomas Aiken won the Spanish Open the week that Seve passed and Spanish players faded down the leaderboard. I can see the leaders struggling coming down the stretch on Sunday with images in their head of winning this championship in the week of Matiba's funeral and therefore it wont be easy for any young player to get across the finishing line as the victor. The winner may have to come from off the pace this week. I'm not overly excited by the field and the prices on offer this week so am backing just 2 players for small stakes that could surprise at three figures.

Scott Henry is also from Scotland and shares the same first name and nationality as last years winner! That's about the only comparison between the two but Henry is overpriced this week. The course is short and length off the tee could be a key asset for attacking the pins and whilst his GIR stats are not fantastic they are improving and if he finds himself with the wedge in his hand  often he can go low as he showed at Carton House earlier this year and again at Gleneagles.

My second pick is Damien McGrane @ 150/1 with Skybet. The Irishman is not in great form but as he showed at the KLM Open, if the course suits he can contend. The shortish course will require precision and a decent putting week. The small greens should encourage him and I can see the Headford man putting up a good challenge this week and setting himself up for the season ahead. He might just have the patience that's required this week where emotions will be running high.

TIP 1 :  0.25 pts e/w S.Henry @ 200/1 Boylesports

TIP 2:   0.25 pts e/w D.McGrane @ 150/1 Skybet

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