South African guide

A preview, stats and best bets for the South African Open - the first event of the 2014 European Tour season

By Dave Tindall.   Last Updated: 21/11/13 6:03pm

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Jaco van Zyl: Can get right in the mix

Jaco van Zyl: Can get right in the mix

Sky Bet

Less than four days after Henrik Stenson was crowned the European Tour's No 1 golfer for 2013, the new Race to Dubai season tees-off in Johannesburg this Thursday.

And the victorious 37-year-old Swede immediately returns to action at Glendower Golf Club where he will defend the title he won at Serengeti 12 months ago.

This parkland venue will be hosting South Africa's national championship for the first time since 1997 and fourth occasion in all.

When the event was last staged here 16 years ago the winner was Fijian Vijay Singh who went on to win three Major titles and become the world's No 1 golfer.

Glendower, whose rich history dates back to 1935, has kikuyu grass fairways and water hazards on 11 holes.

PLAYERS with GOOD to REASONABLE RECENT FORM in SOUTH AFRICA

At Co-Sanctioned European Tour events since Nov 1st, 2012

Player: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Thomas Aiken: 3 / MC / 55 / - / 6 / 12 / MC
Bjorn Akesson: - / 8 / 25 / - / 34 / 22 / 5
Oliver Bekker: 11 / MC / 47 / - / 65 / 22 / 21
Seve Benson: - / 21 / - / - / MC / 15 / -
Desvonde Botes: 20 / 32 / 25 / - / MC / 5 / 10
Kristoffer Broberg: - / 54 / 2 / - / MC / - / 35
Magnus A Carlsson: 6 / MC / 18 / - / - / 42 / 63
Ruan De Smidt: 55 / 14 / MC / - / MC / MC / 21
David Drysdale: 55 / MC / 25 / - / 11 / 27 / Ret
Darren Fichardt: 6 / 39 / 20 / 29 / 25 / Won / 2
Trevor Fisher: 13 / 21 / MC / - / 6 / 27 / MC
Lorenzo Gagli: - / 54 / 20 / - / 9 / 17 / -
Keith Horne: MC / MC / 7 / - / 6 / 32 / 35
Scott Jamieson: - / Won / 3 / 2 / - / - / -
James Kingston: 20 / 21 / MC / - / 16 / 15 / 16
Morten Orum Madsen: - / 4 / MC / - / MC / 20 / 8
Garth Mulroy: 50 / 21 / 3 / - / 9 / 4 / 16
Hennie Otto: 9 / MC / 55 / - / 19 / - / 10
Charl Schwartzel: 5 / - / Won / - / 2 / - / -
Lee Slattery: - / - / - / - / 19 / 27 / -
Henrik Stenson: Won / - / - / 22 / - / - / -
Andy Sullivan: 47 / MC / 3 / - / 60 / 5 / MC
Tjaart Van Der Walt: - / MC / 20 / - / 38 / 5 / 58
Danie Van Tonder: MC / - / 15 / - / 19 / 32 / 58
Jaco Van Zyl: 33 / 8 / 47 / - / 11 / 2 / Ret
Justin Walters: MC / 14 / 20 / - / 16 / 74 / 16
Steve Webster: - / 2 / 7 / - / 29 / - / MC

Course Key: 1 - Serengeti (Ekurhuleni); 2 - Royal Durban*; 3 - Leopard Creek; 4 - Durban Country Club; 5 - Royal Johannesburg & Kensington; 6 - East London; 7 - Copperleaf (Centurion)

Note: * - Bad weather reduced tournament to 36 Holes

PLAYERS with POOR to MEDIOCRE RECENT FORM in SOUTH AFRICA

At Co-Sanctioned European Tour events since Nov 1st, 2012

(No Top-40 finishes from three or more starts)

Player: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Warren Abery: MC / 54 / MC / - / MC / 59 / MC
Hendrik Buhrmann: MC / - / - / - / MC / MC / MC
Sipho Bujela: MC / - / MC / - / MC / MC / -
JG Claassen: MC / MC / MC / - / MC / MC / Wd
Keenan Davidse: - / MC / MC / - / MC / MC / MC
Christopher Doak: - / - / - / - / MC / 71 / MC
Daniel Gaunt: MC / - / - / - / MC / MC / 75
Andrew Georgiou: - / 54 / - / - / MC / MC / MC
Alex Haindl: MC / MC / MC / - / MC / MC / MC
JB Hansen: - / MC / 44 / - / MC / MC / -
Andreas Harto: - / MC / MC / - / MC / 49 / -
Scott Henry: - / MC / MC / - / 50 / MC / 53
Alexander Levy: - / MC / - / - / MC / 71 / MC
Gareth Maybin: 55 / - / - / - / MC / MC / -
PH McIntrye: MC / - / - / - / 47 / MC / MC
Titch Moore: 47 / MC / MC / - / MC / 75 / MC
Grant Muller: Ret / MC / MC / - / MC / MC / 76
Lindani Ndwandwe: MC / MC / MC / - / - / MC / MC
Neil Schietekat: 42 / MC / MC / - / MC / MC / 53
Atti Schwartzel: MC / MC / - / - / MC / - / -
Teboho Sefatsa: MC / MC / MC / - / MC / MC / Ret
Theunis Spangenberg: 61 / MC / MC / - / MC / MC / MC
Ockie Strydom: MC / MC / 62 / - / 63 / MC / MC
Toto Thimba: MC / - / - / - / - / MC / MC
Ulrich Van Den Berg: MC / MC / MC / - / 55 / 49 / Ret
Simon Wakefield: - / 54 / 44 / - / MC / 49 / 73
Mark Williams: - / MC / MC / - / MC / 78 / 69

Top-25 Finishers from Most Recent Co-Sanctioned event (not already listed)

Tshwane Open at Copperleaf (March 2013)

Dawie Van Der Walt: (Won)
Louis De Jager: (3rd)
Charl Coetzee: (T-5th)
Vaughn Groenewald: (T-10th)
Jake Roos: (T-10th)
Romain Wattel: (T-10th)
James Kamte: (T-16th)
Jean Hugo: (T-21st)
Joel Sjoholm: (T-21st)
Graeme Storm: (T-21st)

LOWEST 20 AVERAGE POSITIONS in SOUTH AFRICA

For Co-Sanctioned European Tour events since Jan 1st, 2010

Average (Events)

8.55: Charl Schwartzel (11)
19.43: Retief Goosen (7)
27.17: Bjorn Akesson (6)
28.36: Garth Mulroy (14)
31.53: Thomas Aiken (17)
35.27: Jaco Van Zyl (15)
35.79: Tjaart Van Der Walt (14)
36.47: Darren Fichardt (17)
36.50: Hennie Otto (14)
38.93: Trevor Fisher (15)
39.07: Jbe Kruger (15)
40.44: Keith Horne (16)
44.14: Robert Rock (14)
47.00: Tim Sluiter (6)
50.10: Scott Jamieson (10)
50.88: James Kingston (16)
53.00: David Drysdale (15)
53.33: Gareth Maybin (6)
53.60: Magnus A Carlsson (15)
53.82: Allan Versfeld (11)

Min. No. of Events = 6

Glendower (Johannesburg): Par 72; 6,899 yards

Conclusion

There's a danger that Charl Schwartzel could win this easily but there are some other home South African players who may give him a run for his money.

Jaco van Zyl was last seen out closing with a pair of 68s to finish 21st in the HSBC Champions in China but it's his performances on his native soil that mark him down as a danger here.

Van Zyl has won three of his last four starts (the most recent in March) on the South African Sunshine Tour and seems particularly strong on inland courses such as this one.

His one start at Glendower produced a ninth place back in 2009 and since then he's racked up eight victories in South Africa so he's a much stronger player these days.

Take him at 33/1.

Secondly, Darren Fichardt looks a strong contender at 25/1.

He was 15th in Turkey (after sharing the first round lead) and 21st in Dubai last week while he was sixth on his last appearance on this course in 2011.

In this event he's had a second, a third, two fourths and two sixths (most recent last year) so he often shows up strongly in his home Open and can do so again.

Best bets

2pts e.w. Jaco van Zyl at 33/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
2pts e.w. Darren Fichardt at 25/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)

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