While the world’s best players have congregated in Mexico City for the WGC Mexico Championship, the European and Sunshine Tours are cracking on with their own business. The tours have made the short trip from Johannesburg to Waterkloof, bringing many of the same players with them for this week’s Tshwane Open at Pretoria Golf Club.
This is the fifth renewal of the Tshwane Open and home favourites have, rather unsurprisingly, done very well previously with Ross Fisher the only non-South African to lift the trophy. Last year’s renewal was won by Charl Schwartzel and while the field this week doesn’t hold anybody of his star power, some of South African golf’s best players are competing.
No matter where the players are from, there are a few main challenges to overcome to have any chance of winning around Pretoria Golf Club. The first thing to note is that this is not a course where you can simply let rip off the tee. The par 70 layout measures just 7,063 yards from the back tees and with some tight landing zones and plenty of water trouble, being accurate is much more important than being long. The best ball strikers also have an advantage as the greens are small and elevated so holding approach shots on them is no mean feat.
Home Favourite Coetzee a Big Threat
The tricky nature of Pretoria Golf Club means that it takes a great deal of getting used to. That, however, is not a challenge which George Coetzee will have to overcome. Coetzee is a Pretoria local who grew up learning the game at this course. He is still a member and won the Tshwane Open in front of friends and family in 2015.
Last year’s renewal did not go exactly to plan for Coetzee who did not bring his best stuff with him but he still managed to finish inside the top 15, such is his comfort level playing here. After missing the cut in Malaysia, Coetzee played much better in the last two South African tournaments. With signs that his game is falling into place, he is the man the rest have to catch at odds of 12/1 with Betfair.
Illusive European Tour Win Could Be Around the Corner for Van Zyl
With 15 professional wins, you could hardly say that Jaco van Zyl is a bottler when he gets into strong positions. However, the 38-year-old South African has not yet been able to utilise his stunning record on the Sunshine Tour to bag a European Tour title. With two top 15 finishes at Pretoria and some strong performances over the past couple of months, this could finally be Van Zyl’s time at odds of 25/1 with BetVictor.
Dunne’s Form in the Wind A Plus
Paul Dunne first came to many people’s attention during the 2015 Open Championship when he held a share of the lead going into the final day even though he was still an amateur. Dunne’s found the pro ranks a little tricky but he has shown some good form of late. He’s also a great player in the wind and with conditions set to be blustery in spells, he can outperform the competition at odds of 50/1 with Coral.