Roebuck’s Nelson Mandela C’ship preview: Da Silva has Durban form

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The last stop this calendar year on the European Tour schedule is the Nelson Mandela Championship, staged for the first time at Mount Edgecombe Country Club in KwaZulu-Natal Province.

The event is co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, but the European influence in the market is thin, with only one player from this continent featuring in the top 10 of the betting.

It was exactly the same story 12 months ago, but that didn’t stop Europeans filling five of the first six places, including 50/1 winner Scott Jamieson.

However, that form is worth next to nothing, as Royal Durban was the venue last year – with its par reduced to 65 due to heavy rainfall – and only two rounds were possible because of poor weather.

This year’s renewal takes place at a track used for the Mount Edgecombe Trophy – most recently in 2007 and 2008 but also in 1993 and 1994 – and this time the home challenge should come good.

George Coetzee (14/1) holds favouritism ahead of Branden Grace (16/1) – the latter is the only player inside the world’s top 50 in the field – and I couldn’t put punters off either.

However, with all bar Jamieson (50/1) of those that filled the each-way places available at triple figure odds before the off in the 2012, I’m loathe to take a short price in a tournament that throws up long odds winners and placed runners.

Still, you don’t have to dig too far down to find the three picks this week.

First up; Warren Abery at 40/1. The Durban-born professional will be on home fairways and has form at this week’s layout, with top-20 efforts in the last two renewals of the Mount Edgecombe Trophy.

But it’s his recent form that stands out, with three consecutive top nine finishes coming into this week.

The course form pick has to be Adilson Da Silva, a 50/1 shot with Ladbrokes. The Brazilian has been based in South Africa for long enough now to be considered a home player, and he is the only golfer that can boast top-six finishes in both of the last two Sunshine Tour events held at this week’s course.

It also helps that Da Silva is unnervingly accurate with his iron play – key at this short venue.

Lastly, Shiv Kapur’s win in the Challenge Tour Grand Final has instilled plenty of confidence in his game and three good efforts since gives him a big chance at pleasing odds of 33/1.

My three off the tee – Abery (40/1), Da Silva (50/1) and Kapur (33/1).

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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