Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Joburg Open 2015

We're off to South Africa again this week for the Joburg Open to be held over the two courses at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington GC. It's a 200+ field yet again for the co-sanctioned event where defending champion, George Coetzee heads the betting alongside in-form Alex Noren. In the past I've been keen on local boy Thomas Aiken here as this is the one tournament he craves to win and whilst he does produce his better performances on African soil, I'm not convinced he's worth a bet at the same price as twice winner here, Richard Sterne. The Stellenbosch man returned from long injury last year and claimed a PGA Tour card for 2015 having come through the web.com tour playoffs. It hasn't gone well Stateside of late having missed the cut in his last 3 starts but this is a different league this week. Having finished TOP 40 in Abu Dhabi after results of 20-11 at the South African Open & Alfred Dunhill, Sterne for me is the quality player in the field alongside Noren. Sterne is motivated for this and the Africa Open next month and its the latter tournament that he has his target set as a win would see him win the fourth of the six South African co-sanctioned events, with the Tshwane Open & Nedbank Challenge the other two events to conquer. So, this week is definitely on the radar and I am a little surprised he's not shorter than 25/1 here. He was an incredible -27 when winning here two years ago and he if gets a good start here he could go away from the field. I'm on !

Frenchman, Gregory Bourdy is slightly lower in the betting than Sterne, but I couldn't ignore his chances either. Despite the field numbering in excess of 200, the players towards the head of the market normally prevail at RJ&K CC and the Frenchman arrives on the back of a 16th placing twelve months ago. His last three outings are more encouraging finishing 5-13-5 in Malaysia,Dubai and Qatar. Bourdy has had no more than three TOP10s the past three seasons yet he's 2/4 already in 2015. The 4 time European Tour winner will quietly fancy his chances on the back of recent form and on a track where distance off the tee could be vital I expect the form man to go close this week. I'll back Bourdy @ 22/1 this week.

Mentioning distance off the tee on a course at altitude should play into the hands of Thomas Pieters who is available @ 33/1. I also liked the chances of Seve Benson this week who was a TOP10 twelve months ago and perhaps the reason best price of only 50/1 available. I don't like either price now but I will chance two more from the shortlist at triple figures in Adrian Otaegui & Lee Slattery @ 100/1 and 110/1 respectively. The Spaniard is one I've been keeping an eye on of late and he performed well in India last week on a course that was suited to his game; he finished T22nd. The Englishman has decent form in South African so perhaps he's motivated or feels comfortable in this part of the world as he did start his pro career by playing the Sunshine Tour back in 2000 for a couple of seasons, and although he missed the cut last year he did produce three straight TOP20s the three years previously.His last visit to SA was for the national Open played in January where he finished 3rd. His only win on Tour was back in 2011 and the Southport man has really struggled to improve since but a trip back to this part of the world just might be a catalyst to kick start his career and is a good TOP20 bet this week @5.50

Staking Plan (15 pts)

1.5 pts WIN R.Sterne @ 25/1
1.5 pts WIN G.Bourdy @ 22/1
0.25 pts WIN A.Otaegui @ 100/1
0.25 pts WIN L.Slattery @ 110/1

3 pts TOP10 R.Sterne @ 3/1
3 pts TOP10 G.Bourdy @ 9/4

3 pts TOP20 A.Otaegui @ 7/2
2.5 pts TOP20 L.Slattery @ 9/2

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