Venue: Leopard Creek Country Club, Malelane
Date: December 13-16, 2018
Course stats: Par 72, 7,287 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 (£1.35m)
Defending champion: Brandon Stone (-22)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf – from 10.30am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf – from 10.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf – from 9.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf – from 9.30am
Alfred Dunhill Championship preview
For the final strokeplay tournament of the calendar year, the European Tour returns to Leopard Creek Country Club for the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Last used two years ago when Brandon Stone ran away with the trophy, this Gary Player design on the outskirts of Kruger National Park has been under recent renovation – but it’s back to host the tournament for its 14th time.
That’ll please the home contingent: a South African has won this tournament each year for the past six years, with Charl Schwartzel claiming the trophy no fewer than three times. South African wins have often been convincing, too – in the last six years, the combined winning margin has been 35 strokes, averaging at almost six per event. When Schwartzel managed to get to 24-under in 2012, he won by a whopping 12 shots.
Alfred Dunhill Championship betting tips
It’s hard to get away from the South African favourites this week: Schwartzel and Stone, as well as Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Dylan Frittelli all hold excellent claims and it would be of no surprise to see any of them win on Sunday.
Given his sensational course record, Schwartzel holds the most appeal while Stone looks to be the value, but I can’t look past Matt Wallace (14/1, 6 places), with the Englishman primed to put a bow on what has been a remarkable year by ruining home hopes.
Wallace’s only appearance here at Leopard Creek came two years ago when he missed the cut, but it’s important to note that at the time he was still playing the majority of his golf on the Alps Tour, and he entered the week having not played competitively in six weeks – rust surely would have played a factor.
Fast forward two years to this point, and here you have a four-time European Tour winner who was perhaps unlucky to have not made his debut in the Ryder Cup.
Wallace’s last three tournaments have all yielded top-15 finishes, including two of those here in South Africa. In the commentary booth at the South African Open, Wallace said that he will be staying in Stone’s house this week – perhaps he will be able to squeeze a bit of course knowledge out of the winner from two years ago.
Another angle to pursue is the link between Wallace and Gary Player designed courses. The Englishman won the Hero Indian Open earlier this year at Player’s DLF Golf & Country Club, and he made a late run at the title a couple of weeks ago before finishing 5th in Sun City at the Nedbank Golf Challenge – again another course designed by the Black Knight.
If someone is going to spoil the South African party this week, it’s likely to be Wallace.
That’s our tipster’s top pick for the Alfred Dunhill Championship, but where does he think you can make some real profit? Find out his three outside picks on the next page…