The European Tour makes the journey from the Middle East to South Africa this week for the Tshwane Open, an event which has been dominated by home players, Phil Casey writes.
Initially played at Copperleaf before switching to Pretoria Country Club in 2015, the tournament has produced four South African winners in five years, with George Coetzee, Charl Schwartzel and Dean Burmester the victors at the current venue.
Schwartzel and Burmester are competing at the WGC-Mexico Championship but 2015 champion Coetzee is in the field and is justifiably favourite after finishing eighth in last week’s Qatar Masters.
Interestingly, Coetzee is 12/1 this year when he was 9/1 12 months ago and, although he should have won more than three European Tour events, that price is just about big enough to back a player who has has been a member of Pretoria Country Club since he took up the sport.
Next up is a player we also backed last year in Justin Walters, who followed up his fourth place finish in 2016 with a tie for ninth.
Walters was ninth in the Dimension Data Pro-Am a fortnight ago and a respectable 45th in Qatar and can be chanced again in the each-way market at 50/1.
There’s also a touch of deja vu about our third selection Zander Lombard, who finished just outside the top 20 last year despite form figures of MC-MC-MC-MC.
Lombard again comes into the week on the back of an early exit in Qatar, but followed an opening 76 with a brilliant 65 to miss out by a single shot and the Pretoria native is available each-way at 80/1.
And finally, Soomin Lee is a better player than a price of 125/1 suggests and could reward a small bet in the each-way market. Lee began last year’s event with rounds of 68 and 69 as he looks to rediscover the form which saw him win the Shenzhen International in 2016.
Tshwane Open betting tips
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