The European Tour moves from Johannesburg to the Eastern Cape for this week’s Africa Open, a tournament that for the last four years has been won by a Major champion.
East London Golf Club is the stage for the penultimate South African event of 2013, an old-fashioned layout that has been used to host the South African Open in the past. But with no Charl Schwartzel, Retief Goosen or, the winner in the last two renewals, Louis Oosthuizen, teeing up, the field is headed by up-and-coming golfers who by and large have yet to make their name on the European Tour.
Thomas Aiken heads the betting, but appears little value at single-figure odds of 8/1, with Jaco Van Zyl, Garth Mulroy and Jbe Kruger also leading the home challenge. There are, though, better bets to be had at the top of the market by siding with a couple of European stars that have hit their stride recently.
Few players on tour can boast the sort of form Ricardo Santos has shown. The Portuguese was fourth in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship before claiming seventh place in Dubai and third in the Joburg Open on Sunday. Those numbers – against much better opposition – are standout digits versus the field this week. He is 14/1 to get a deserved win here.
Lorenzo Gagli continued to rediscover form at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club last week, with ninth place hard on the heels of top-25 finishes in Qatar and Dubai – again against classier opposition. And topping the putting stats in Johannesburg will have done his confidence on the greens the power of good, making 25/1 decent value around his chances.
Lastly, take a chance that Shaun Norris at 100/1 can come good in an event he’s won before. The South African claimed victory in 2008 and has performed well in recent renewals.
My three off the tee – Santos, Gagli and Norris.
Meanwhile, if a tournament winner selection ends up being beaten in a play-off, the losing stake will be refunded as a free bet.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date