• JOHANNES VEERMAN (USA) 28/1 – £5EW PP 7 PLACES
  • DEAN BURMESTER (RSA) 30/1 – £5EW PP 7 PLACES
  • JACO AHLERS (RSA) 50/1 – £5EW PP 7 PLACES
  • JACQUES BLAAUW (RSA) 80/1 – £5EW PP 7 PLACES
  • WEBB SIMPSON (USA) 10/1 – £5EW PP 8 PLACES
  • RUSSELL HENLEY (USA) 28/1 – £5EW WILLIAM HILL 8 PLACES
  • DOC REDMAN (RSA) 60/1 – £5EW SKYBET 8 PLACES
  • LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 33/1 – £5EW SKYBET 8 PLACES
  • SCOTT BROWN (USA) 350/1 – £3EW WILLIAM HILL 8 PLACES

Joburg Open

The co-sanctioned tournament with the Sunshine Tour, which will feature a prize fund of R19.5 million, will be played at Randpark Golf Club with support from the City of Johannesburg, and will be the first international men’s golf tournament on South African fairways in nine months. It will also be the first of a run of tournaments co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour, with further announcements to come.

The Joburg Open was first contested in 2007 and boasts an impressive array of past winners such as Major champion Charl Schwartzel and multiple European Tour champions including: George Coetzee, Darren Fichardt, Branden Grace, Haydn Porteous, Richard Sterne and Andy Sullivan.

It last featured on the European Tour International Schedule in December 2017, when it formed part of the early 2018 season, and was won by India’s Shubhankar Sharma.

European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “I am delighted to see the Joburg Open back on our schedule this year. We have a wonderful relationship with the Sunshine Tour stretching back over many years and this co-sanctioned tournament is another example of that.

“I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Johann Rupert, Thomas Abt, Selwyn Nathan and everyone at the Sunshine Tour for their commitment in making this happen, in addition to the Executive Mayor and the City of Johannesburg for their help and support.”

Councillor Moloantoa Geoffrey Makhubo, the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, said: “We are delighted to announce the return of this world-class golf tournament to our world-class African city. Since the inception of this tournament in 2007, our vision has been that the Joburg Open must benefit all the residents of Johannesburg.

“Now more than ever, as our economy requires a boost following the COVID-19 lockdown and with our President publicly calling for a new business stimulus, the return of the Joburg Open is perfectly-timed to contribute significantly towards this cause as it brings a major international event to our city once again.”

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome back the Joburg Open to our schedule in what is also a momentous moment for South African professional golf as we also welcome back international competition to our fairways after a lengthy break.

“I’d like to the thank the Mayor and the City of Johannesburg for so graciously supporting us for the duration of the South African Open’s hosting in Johannesburg, and we are delighted that we can announce the return of a much-loved tournament amongst the residents of Johannesburg.”

Firethorn Course

Previously known as the Randpark Course, a true test of championship golf, capable of stretching over 7000m of its back tees. It was established in the mid-60s when Randpark Golf Club bought land adjacent to the existing Windsor Park course and turned it into a remarkable layout designed by a local professional golfer and course architect, Sid Brews.

In the early 90’s as the course matured, a need came about for some enhancements, green modifications and aesthetical features to keep with the trends of the times. So came along an unheralded course architect Mark Muller, who probably had a very big impact on the future of this championship course. The greens being the predominant game changer, saw Randpark Club host the SA Open on two occasions, 1995 & 2000.

As the millennium struck, South Africa witnessed a massive movement towards estate courses. Every course popping up with the latest and greatest, really offering the golfing market with endless choices. Needless to say, Firethorn needed a facelift. Experienced designer Sean Quinn (Golf Data) transformed the Firethorn course into its original offering, a true test to the Professional golfer, yet friendly and forgiving enough to the everyday member.

Bushwillow Course

Formerly known as Windsor Park, founded in the 1940’s during the 2nd world war, originally a 12-hole layout. In 1948, the course was extended to a full 18-hole course, and shortly after (1952), a complete redesign by famous course designer Robert Grimsdell. Currently an outstanding 18-hole design requiring all the different shots in the book. Although beautifully maintained and fairly short from tee to green, this course is very well protected by rows of large trees alongside all fairways, posing a good challenge to all different skill levels.

In April 2012, in celebration of its 60th birthday party, Bushwillow had undergone a small renovation, changing the layout somewhat and adding a couple of new green complexes.

Mike’s Picks

JACQUES BLAAUW (RSA) 80/1

The team have been following Jacques for quite some time now and feel this is one of the best times of the year to play him. So he plays most of his golf on the Sunshine Tour of late but the last European Tour event he played in was the SA Open back in January, he gave a good account of himself over the four rounds and finished in a tie for 15th place.

You only have to look at his past few events to see where his game is:

  • Vodacom Championship – Sep 2020 – 4th
  • Sun Wild Coast – Oct 2020 – 2nd
  • Investec Royal – Oct 2020 – 6th
  • Times Square – Nov 2020 – 5th

These were all three round events so the question will be, can he get the job done playing an extra round this week?

I think he can have a good week here great birdie machine won four times in his career and just needs that European Tour title to complete an impressive season so far.

Going £5EW with PP 80/1 paying 7 places 

DEAN BURMESTER (RSA) 30/1
Good friend is Dean and the Burmy golf family. Last time I backed him was at the Irish Open in September 2020, he gave us a good run only having a poor weekend but still managed a good 22nd place.

I feel his game is even better now even though he went on a run of three missed cuts following the Irish Open, we followed him for most of the week at the Italian Open where he started with rounds of 64/68/68 and still had a solid 71 to close on Sunday to finish in a tie for 5th place.

Coming back home this week he will be keen to start well and try and win this event this week for sure.

Key stats for winners around here have been driving distance, scrambling and putting. Dean ticks all these boxes and should be a great fit here.

Going for £5EW with Paddy Power paying 7 places    

 

JACO AHLERS (RSA) 50/1
You don’t get a much steadier player than Jaco always in the mix on the Sunshine Tour week in week out. He has not finished outside the top twenty on the order of merit since 2011, third last season and currently sitting in eight place.

He has had a couple of top ten’s in September and a solid performance at the European Tour event in the SA Open finishing in a tie for fourth place.

He has won nine times over his career but still looking for that break through on the European Tour.

What I like is reading some of the stats he is leading in on the Sunshine Tour that should hold him in good stead here.

  • Betway Birdie Challenge – 1st – 117 Birdies in 25 rounds
  • Stroke Average – 70.16 – 6th
  • Total Versus Par – 34 Under Par – 2nd

I am going with a £5EW bet here with Paddy Power 50/1 paying 7 places.  

JOHANNES VEERMAN (USA) 28/1
Not much to say really I mean come on he would have won the last event by two clear shots if it were a 72 hole stroke event when I backed him in at the Cyprus Showdown he was the best player of the week by a mile.

So very interesting to see him at this price. He also had a good result last time he played this event where he finished in 13th place.

Not much else to say other then he has been in South Africa getting used to this track for a while now and was one of the first players here out practicing. So will know the greens well and no one here is hitting there irons purer. Look out for a birdie feast for him this week.

Going with a £5EW bet with Paddy Power 28/1 paying 7 places.    

RSM Classic

The PGA TOUR heads three hours south of Augusta for The RSM Classic, the second-to-last PGA TOUR event of the calendar year.

Tyler Duncan, coming off his Masters debut, will defend his maiden TOUR title while past FedExCup champions Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker and Henrik Stenson lead the way along with a collection of major champions and Sea Island residents all looking to lift the trophy come Sunday.

FIELD NOTES: Plenty of Masters Competitors will hit the road from Augusta to Sea Island for The RSM Classic including past Masters winners Danny Willett and Zach Johnson… Each of the past seven winners at Sea Island will look to rekindle some old magic this week including 2019 winner Duncan, who is hoping to become the first golfer to successfully defend his title at The RSM Classic… Davis Love III, the long-time host of the event, will not play in 2020 due to a lingering neck injury… Last year’s runner-up (who lost to Duncan in a playoff) Webb Simpson is back to try to avenge 2019’s loss… Stewart Cink, Hudson Swafford, Martin Laird, and Brian Gay are winners from the fall who are in the field… Other notable names teeing it up at Sea Island including Jason Day, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose and Tyrrell Hatton.

COURSE:  Sea Island Resort (Seaside), 7,005 yards, par 70; Sea Island Resort (Plantation), 7,060 yards, par 72. Yardage subject to change. Tom Fazio redid the Seaside Course in 1999, while tournament host Davis Love III and his brother Mark redesigned the Plantation Course for 2019.

STORYLINES: Davis Thompson, the celebrated amateur, will play on the PGA TOUR for the third time this calendar year. He also played the Puerto Rico Open and the U.S. Open – where he led briefly during the first round. Thompson is the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world and will play for the second straight year in Sea Island… Per usual, there are plenty of Sea Island residents teeing it up at The RSM Classic, all of whom are trying to become the first local to actually win the tournament. Kevin Kisner won in 2015 but was living in Sea Island temporarily due to renovations on his home in South Carolina…  Five of the 10 RSM Classic winners made the tournament their first PGA TOUR victory including Duncan in 2019.

72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Kevin Kisner (2015)

18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Tommy Gainey (4th round, 2012)

LAST TIME: Tyler Duncan topped Webb Simpson in a playoff to win his first PGA TOUR title at The RSM Classic in 2019. Simpson was the highest-ranked golfer in the field and appeared to be the man to beat. But Duncan closed with a 25-foot birdie to force a playoff, which he won on the second extra hole. The pair made pars on the first playoff hole but Duncan nailed a 15-footer for birdie, and the win. Duncan had just re-earned his PGA TOUR card via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, but his closing 65 was tied for the round of the day. Sebastian Munoz finished third, Brendon Todd finished fourth, and Henrik Norlander, Scottie Scheffler, and KH Lee rounded out the top five.

Sea Island Resort (Seaside)

Course Par Value: 70 • Course Yardage: 7,005

The 18-hole “Seaside” course at the Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Georgia features 7,055 yards of golf from the championship tees for a par of 70. The course rating is 73.1 and it has a slope rating of 141 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Colt & Alison/(R) Thomas Fazio, ASGCA, the Seaside golf course opened in 1929.

Sea Island Resort (Plantation)

Course Par Value: 72 • Course Yardage: 7,060

Newly renovated by Davis Love III, his brother Mark and the Love Golf Design team. The vision was to take elements from both the original plantation 9 holes and historical elements of the property itself to create a timeless course that can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels and that can be maintained at modern standards.

Mike’s Picks

WEBB SIMPSON (USA) 10/1
So following on from last week where he picked us up a place finishing in the top ten. I can see why he is the favourite this week.

We do not normally back favourites as a rule, but I see no reason why he can’t win this, showing the form he is in right now.

World ranked number seven, with seven PGA Tour titles under his belt. For me his ticks all the boxes needed around here and should be a horses for courses track for Webb.

Taken from the PGA Tour here is what Webb has to say about the Plantation Course:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s usually windy here like Hilton Head so you’ve got to keep your ball on the ground. You have plenty of holes that are crosswinds, so that can be challenging. There’s water everywhere, so there are some similarities. But I love the redesign, Davis did a great job. There’s a lot of slope in the greens now, so you can really use those slopes to help you and get the ball in the hole.”

And from what we have taken from last week the greens here are very much the same with a bigger area space to land the ball. This will then feed the ball towards the flag on a number of holes and could see Webb taking full advantage this week and start to show us some strokes gained putting.

Going to stick with a £5EW bet here Paddy Power 10/1 paying 8 places      

SCOTT BROWN (USA) 350/1
We normally try to sniff out a good big priced player. Scott is that pick for us this week. OK you’re not going to bet your life savings on him but he could turn up this week and surprise a lot of people.

Missed 13 cuts in twenty starts is not great reading I know, but the team overhead an interview he done for the golf channel after the Houston Open, it seems he has changed some of his coaching staff and it already seems to be paying off. He looked to be playing so much more within himself and looked confident it’s the first time in a while where he has managed three rounds in the 60’s.

Another thing he did say was he can’t wait to get back and play the RSM it feels like home to him.

That seems to be evident when you check out his previous here:

  • 2012 – 20th
  • 2013 – 4th
  • 2015 – 18th
  • 2018 – 32nd
  • 2019 – 14th

I will be betting £3EW with William Hill 350/1 paying 8 places. Also 500/1 on the Betfair Exchange. 

 

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 33/1
Louis has been so consistent this season just not picked up a win. Third at the US Open a top twenty five last week at the Masters he has been a knocking. Second at the SA Open followed that with a fifth place at the Abu Dhabi HSBC at the start of the year.

This will be first time back here in over nine years as it normally falls at the same time as his own SA major open. The last time he was here he managed a fourth place finish in 2011.

I just like this bet more and more when reading the course set up and the greens it is made for Louis.

Going for a £5EW bet here with SkyBet 33/1 paying 8 places      

 

Others on the short list:

RUSSELL HENLEY (USA) 28/1
DOC REDMAN (RSA) 60/1

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