It is fair to say that this week on the European Tour does not quite live up to the heights of last. Danny Willett had to beat a hugely talented field to win the Dubai Desert Classic, an event known as the ‘Middle Eastern major’. Just a week later and while it won’t be easy to win the Tshwane Open, the quality of the field is just not up to the same standard as that assembled in Dubai.
This is only the fourth hosting of the Tshwane Open and it remains at the same course as last year, the Pretoria Golf Club. The championship course is only a tiddler compared to the standards of those on the professional ranks at only a little over 6,800 yards but it is a very well designed track. Having been first opened in 1910 it underwent some major changes in the early part of this century. Those changes were carried out by the Gary Player Group and they’ve turned it into a tricky, tight test of golf with tree lining the fairways and water hazards on the majority of the holes. The greens are not particularly challenging once you’re putting but they are fairly small so are tough to hit and with something of a draught hitting the area it will not be easy to hold the ball on them.
Two of the three winners of the Tshwane Open have been South African and four of the first five on the leaderboard last year were home players. They included the defending champion, George Coetzee. There was more than a couple of tears shed when Coetzee won here last year as this is where he learnt how to play golf and he is still the club’s touring professional. The 29-year-old will have dealt with all sorts of conditions at Pretoria and almost nobody in the world knows the championship course better than him. Not only did he get over the finish line last season but he is a class apart from most of this field and so the odds of 8/1 that Labrokes are offering look like fair value.
Another classy South African in the field is Brandon Stone. The 23-year-old won his first European Tour event at the South African Open in January and is sure to add to that tally as his career moves forward. Stone is a good driver of the ball which will be required at Pretoria as he is going to have to thread it through some tight gaps if he wants to double his tally of professional wins. Stone fits the bill for an each way selection at 30/1 with Bet365.
It is going to be one of the more classy players in the field who gets the win at the Tshwane Open as it’s not the deepest field in terms of quality and David Horsey fits that description. He’s picked up two wins over the past couple of years in events of similar strength, is an accurate driver of the ball and hits a high number of greens in regulation so consider him for an each way bet with BetVictor at 33/1.