Venue: Randpark Golf Club, Johannesburg
Date: December 6-9, 2018
Course stats: Par 72, 7,595 yards
Purse: ZAR 17,500,000 (£1.28m)
Defending champion: Chris Paisley (-21)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf – from 10am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf – from 10am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf – from 9.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf – from 9.30am
South African Open preview
After coming up short at the Nedbank Golf Challenge last month, Louis Oosthuizen will again spearhead the South African charge this week at the country’s Open, a tournament that dates back to 1903.
Over the years, Gary Player has claimed this trophy no fewer than 13 times, but it wasn’t until 1997 that the European Tour joined forces with the Sunshine Tour to co-sanction the historic event.
Even so, South Africans continued to dominate the tournament up until 2012, when Henrik Stenson put an end to a run of 11 home winners in 12 events. Since the SA Open moved to Glendower Golf Club in 2013, only Brandon Stone has notched for the home nation, with England – through Chris Paisley, Graeme Strom and Andy Sullivan – enjoying the most success.
This year brings an end to a five-year stint at the aforementioned Glendower; this time around, Randpark Golf Club, just outside of Johannesburg, will use both of its two 18-hole layouts – the Firethorn and Bushwillow – for the tournament. It’s the same venue that was used for the Joburg Open last year.
South African Open betting tips
There’s an awful lot of talent at the top of the market with Oosthuizen, Dylan Frittelli, Branden Grace, Matt Wallace and Charl Schwartzel, but I’m happy to overlook them all in favour of Erik Van Rooyen (30/1, 7 places).
This top class talent is yet to get off the mark at European Tour level, but ever since he finished runner-up at the Joburg Open around this layout almost 12 months ago, he’s gone close on several occasions and he looks certain to get that first win sooner rather than later.
Van Rooyen fired a final round 66 last year as he tried to chase down Shubhankar Sharma, but the Indian was able to hold on for a three-stroke win. The 28-year-old knows the two courses better than most, finished a solid 26th last time out in Dubai and he should be well rested and ready to go as he kicks off his 2019 season.
Morten Orum Madsen won this trophy for Denmark five years ago, and Joachim B. Hansen (80/1, 8 places) looks to be well placed to follow in his compatriot’s footsteps.
Hansen is a three-time winner already this year, with two wins on the Challenge Tour helping him to regain his European Tour card for the 2019 season.
The 28-year-old led the field in greens hit at last year’s Joburg Open on his way to a sixth place finish, and he enters this week off the back of a solid display of ball-striking in Mauritius where he surely would’ve been in contention were it not for three double bogeys and one triple.
Those are our tipster’s top tips for the South African Open, but where does he think you can make some real profit? He’s got three more names for you on the next page…