It’s a South African tournament once again for the European Tour players this week as, along with the players of the Sunshine Tour, they descend on the Pretoria Country Club. The club are hosting their first European Tour event although it has been used as a venue on the Sunshine Tour previously. The course measures 7,063 yards and is therefore not the longest challenge on tour this season. It is however, one of the most beautiful as it’s set in Waterkloof, a gorgeous suburb of Pretoria.
The defending Tshwane Open champion is Ross Fisher. Although the tournament is being held at a different course, he will be confident of a good week. Fisher has only played in the Dubai Swing and the WGC event at Doral last week and has been used to competing against top-quality fields. He was 23rd last week against some of the world’s best so his game is in good shape. The bookies think that he is the man to beat as most of them have him as favourite. Ladbrokes go 14/1 about the Englishman’s chances and it’s tough to look past him – he is the class act here and in decent form.
Trevor Fisher Jr, the winner of last week’s Africa Open, is looking to go back-to-back this week but it’s another South African who offers a bigger appeal. Jaco van Zyl could well have pushed Fisher Jr and certainly would have finished in the top five were it not for some disappointing putting. Van Zyl is a Pretorian native so will be fired up to play his best golf in front of a supportive home crowd. At odds of 20/1 with Coral, Van Zyl looks a solid choice for an each-way bet.
Andy Sullivan is the in-form player in South Africa this season. He has already won twice but he will need to turn it on away from Johannesburg where he has been so successful. The Englishman missed the cut last week so will be hoping to ensure that was just a blip in an otherwise impressive season. One of Sullivan’s big strengths is his driving and he can get close to hitting par fives in two which may be beyond some of the other major challengers in the field. He can be backed at 16/1 with Bet365 and should push the leaders all the way.
The last player to consider this week is the South African Keith Horne. Horne’s worst performance at this course was 30th but that was way back in 2006 and he has improved in more recent appearances. Horne is appealing because the course should play to his strengths and because he has two top 10 finishes already this season. Horne has only finished in the top three once on the European Tour but this co-sanctioned event is his best chance to arrest that run of form. Horne is 50/1 pretty much across the board so backing him each-way is the best way of approaching him. In a well-balanced tournament, it is tough to pick whether the winner will come from one of the home players or not so backing a selection of golfers is prudent.