The European Tour finally takes a break as of next week. After another hectic, dramatic year, the action draws to a close in South Africa with the Joburg Open. Co-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours, it’s fair to say that the field at the Joburg Open doesn’t represent the deepest quality. However, there are some big names towards the top of the betting and there are several top quality youngsters hoping to earn the two year European Tour exemption that comes with a win.
Two Courses In Use for This Bumper Field
The Joburg Open used to be one of the first events of the year on the European Tour. But for the new season it’s been shunted forward in the schedule from February to December. As if that’s not enough of a change for this huge field, there’s also two new courses to get to grips with.
The first two days will see players compete a round at both the Bushwillow and Firethorn courses at Randpark Golf Club. After the halfway cut the rest of the action will be contained to the Firethorn Course. Scoring will ultimately come down to conditions (and the damp, receptive greens will help in that regard) but Firethorn is thought of as the tougher of the two courses. The parkland layout is the longer of the two with some nasty rough but the narrow fairways of Bushwillow will cause problems of their own.
Time for Porteous to Kick On
At just 23, Haydn Porteous already has a healthy winning record as a professional. He counts two European Tour wins among his five professional successes. One of those came in the 2016 Joburg Open and Porteous is well placed to pounce again.
As any high level golfer will tell you, getting to the professional ranks is hard enough. Having the strength of character to play your best golf when trying to close out a professional tournament is another test entirely. While many golfers crumble under pressure, Porteous has shown a real hunger for those moments that matter. It’s that hunger, coupled with his power and iron play that could see him have one of the great South African golfing careers.
Porteous’ job now is to put himself in the position to thrive as often as possible. He should be able to do just that at Randpark, a club where he’s played very well in victory before. He’s also played some very good golf in spells recently so back Porteous to win at 25/1 with Bet365.
Norris Worth Backing as He Finishes 2017 Strongly
The difference between an event at the end of the year and the start of it is huge in terms of mentality. When the Joburg Open was held in February, players would arrive fresh and optimistic about a strong year. In December it’s much more about players hanging on, doing enough to compete when they’re fatigued. For that reason, it makes sense to back players finishing the year strongly. Players like Shaun Norris.
The South African has already played eight weeks in a row but he showed no signs of slowing down when finishing second in Japan last week. Playing well, Norris could become the latest home winner of the Joburg Open at 35/1 with Betfred.