Joburg Open Betting Preview
Charl Schwartzel headlines a massive field in South Africa this week, as the European Tour heads to Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club for the Joburg Open.
2013 Joburg Open Open Fact Sheet
- Course: Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club
- Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
- Yardage: 7,237 to 7,592 yards, par 71 & par 72
- Defending Champion: Branden Grace
- Five Consensus Favourites: Charl Schwartzel, George Coetzee, Branden Grace, Richard Sterne and Danny Willett
- Thursday – 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday – 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Sunday – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
In what will likely be the biggest field of the year on any major tour, 210 players are set to tee it up this week. Unfortunately for the European Tour, most of the world’s best are either taking the week off or are at Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pro-Am. As we’ve seen a couple of times already this season, the tournament will be played on two separate courses, with players alternating between the West and more difficult East course in the first two rounds before playing the weekend on the East.
The weather isn’t expected to be great for the event, with rain in the forecast and below average temperatures. Assuming the conditions don’t bother the players too much, you can expect low scores as the difficulty of both courses tends to skew to the easy side. In the six years that the event has been held, the winning score has been higher than 15-under par only once.
Key Storyline This Week
In most events that he plays, Charl Schwartzel is one of the best players in the field. Of the 210 players in the field this week, he’s the only one ranked inside the top-20 in the world, and fellow South Africans Branden Grace and George Coetzee are the only others inside the top-50. These are the events that he should go out and dominate if he wants to be mentioned among the truly elite players in the game. Now, he has won his last two events, and has finished in the top-5 in each of the last four times that he’s teed it up. When you combine that with the fact that he is a former two-time champion of this event, and outside of missing the cut last year, he’s never finished outside of the top-20 on the course, you’d think that he’d be one of my suggested plays this week, but he’s not.
I’m a little concerned about the near two-month layoff between events, and to be honest, there’s no value with him anywhere right now. In most places, I’m seeing him at roughly 3-1 to win the whole thing, and even though it’s likely that he does come through this week, it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it to even bother with putting money on him.
George Coetzee (Best Odds 8.5-1 at Coral)
One of these days, I’m going to write something about Coetzee getting his first European Tour win, and it’ll likely happen sooner rather than later. He nearly had that win two weeks ago in Qatar before Chris Wood took him down, and since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August last year, he’s really only had two poor events, finishing in the top-15 in nine of twelve tournaments. He’s had decent performances here in the past, and he was a multiple time winner on the Sunshine Tour in and around the Johannesburg area.
Branden Grace (Best Odds 9.5-1 at Betfair)
Much like Brandt Snedeker on the PGA Tour, Grace is simply playing too well to ignore. He won the event last year, and has placed in the top-7 in all three events he’s played on the European Tour so far in 2013. I don’t usually like taking defending champions in events because repeating is a rarity, but I really think Grace represents the best chance of winning this week.
Danny Willett (Best Odds 30-1 at Stan James)
Willett always plays well in South Africa, finishing outside of the top-20 in all events in the area just once in seven events since 2009. That includes a pair of fourth-place finishes in this event, as well as a T-14 last year. He missed the cut last week in Dubai, but he had been playing well before that. 30-1 seems like a great price for an each-way bet.
Robert Rock (Best Odds 35-1 at Betfair)
I was a week early on Rock when I thought he would do well again in Abu Dhabi, but he found some form last week in Dubai with a nice T-7 finish. This is really just a case of trying to find a little bit of value with a player who is simply better than most in the field. If he’s healthy, which he says he is, he should be near the top of the leaderboard this week.
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