The European Tour took a back seat last week as golf’s elite headed to Augusta for the delayed Masters, but the chase is now on for a place at the Tour Championship next month and the quest heads south this week.
Three of the remaining four tournaments will be in South Africa, starting with the reappearance of the Joburg Open after a two-year absence.
The Firethorn course at Randpark Golf Club plays host, just as it did for the South Africa Open in January, which was won by Branden Grace.
He, along with local Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen will not be present for a tournament which has been won by a South African in seven of its last nine stagings.
But it looks like being a competitive field and with places in Dubai up for grabs, there is plenty at stake.
Armitage Looking In Great Form
While home players can often dominate in South African tournaments, England’s Marcus Armitage looks to have an excellent chance of doing well at
The Salford-born swinger has climbed more than 1200 places in the world rankings this year, mainly as a result of solid post-lockdown performances.
He has finished in the top 20 in seven of his last 12 tournaments, including each of his last four, and, at 59 in the Race to Dubai standings, he is only just inside the cut line for an appearance at the end-of-season showpiece.
Also he has some solid course form. He was third at the venue in January’s South Africa Open and fifth the last time the Joburg Open was held here, so it seems wise to expect a strong show.
Besseling Could Be Geared For Bold Show
Dutch player Wil Besseling is another player capable of making a big impression at
35/1 after top-20 finishes at the Cyprus Open and Italian Open.
He is ranked second in strokes-gained off the tee and solid driving is a prerequisite for success around the Firethorn course.
A double bogey at the 18th there in January cost him a weekend appearance at the South Africa Open as he missed the cut by a single shot, but he had been third at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, also in South Africa, just before that so he could thrive in the conditions.
Chance For Young Guns To Impress
The stars of South African golf – including Dylan Frittelli, who earned a fifth-place finish at Augusta, may be missing this weekend, but it will be seen by many on the native Sunshine Tour to test them at a higher level.
One home challenger who deserves attention is Daniel van Tonder at
22/1, he has won four of his last six tournaments and must be brimming with confidence.
Those successes have pushed him up to 145th in the rankings, the fourth highest in the field, so this looks like a great chance for him.
Jayden Trey Schaper, a
90/1 chance, has not been quite as spectacular, but he has had three recent top-ten Sunshine finishes and he could make his mark at a big price after rising to the occasion to finish sixth at the South Africa Open.
*All odds correct at time of writing