Joburg Open 2014 betting
After Stephen Gallacher's successful title defence at a thrilling Dubai Desert Classic, golf's European Tour returns to South Africa this week for the eighth edition of the Joburg Open. Coverage begins on Sky Sports 4 on Thursday at 8.30am.
There's is an added incentive for the players this week, as for the first time there is the possibility of sealing qualification for The Open at Royal Liverpool, with 3 top 10 finishers who are not already exempt gaining entry to the sport's most celebrated tournament.
The field at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club includes the defending champion Richard Sterne, who also won in 2008, the 2012 winner Branden Grace and another two-time champion in Charl Schwartzel. Five of the previous seven winners have come from the host nation, including the last four.
The tournament is contested over both the East and West courses for the first two rounds, after which a 200-strong field is whittled down to 65 and ties, with the final two rounds being played over the East course - the longer of the two by some 450 yards.
Sterne won last year by a huge seven-shot margin, with Schwartzel having to settle for second place and South African players making up the bulk of the top 10 - George Coetzee, Thomas Aiken, Trevor Fisher Jr, Keith Horne and Garth Mulroy also featuring prominently.
Most of the focus will inevitably be on former Masters champion Schwartzel, who is always a short price for events in his home country having done so well down the years. Here he is a best price of just 4/1 with Betfred.
Having such a short priced favourite usually means there is clear value to be found elsewhere and this week is no exception - several players stand out having played consistently well at this value.
The first of these is Coetzee, who didn't play in Dubai last week but was in great form prior to that, showing he has overcome the wrist injury which interrupted his 2013 season. Coetzee, who has finished in the top five on his last two outings, has been seventh, 14th and third here over the last three years. The best odds of 14/1 with BetVictor and Stan James are probably a touch too big.
Other major hopes for the host nation include Aiken and Jaco Van Zyl. Aiken, who has been in fine form in the early part of the year with a top five and two other top 20 finishes, has a third place and a sixth place finish to his name in his last three appearances here. He’s 25/1 with Stan James.
Van Zyl's recent record isn't as hot as Aiken's, but he has made the cut on his last eight outings and he has to be taken seriously after finishing third in this event in 2012 and in a share of 11th place last time around. Bet365 are taking a chance by pricing him at 60/1 and that looks a great each-way bet.
Twice a runner-up here, Garth Mulroy was ninth last year and is also worth consideration, although he is looking for a return to form after missing the cut on each of his last three outings. Betfred and Stan James both go 66/1.
Finally, take a look at David Drysdale at a big price. The Scot hasn't had much to shout about during his career but he does tend to play well at the Royal Johannesburg. His record here over the last 5 years reads 3-104-13-3-11 - so 4 times out of 5 he has been well in contention, placing twice. He can be backed at 80/1 with BetVictor and Stan James.
|George Coetzee||Tournament Winner||14/1
||BetVictor & Stan James
|Jaco van Zyl||Tournament Winner||60/1||Bet365
|Garth Mulroy||Tournament Winner||66/1||Betfred & Stan James|
|David Drysdale||Tournament Winner||80/1||BetVictor & Stan James