EUROPEAN TOUR specialist Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) returns with three more fancies for this week’s Tshwane Open.
Tshwane Open | 2nd-5th March 2017 | Sky Sports
The European and Sunshine Tours move up the road a few miles from Johannesburg to Pretoria Country Club this week for another co-sanctioned event.
It would be fair to say that last week didn’t go very well at all but that’s the way it goes sometimes, no need to change the approach. The tournament was heavily weather-effected and reduced to a 54-hole tournament but was ultimately won by a South African, as predicted, with two more in the places.
Again this week the weather is likely to cause disruption with delays aplenty; there’s no way of predicting it to try and gain an advantage so we just need to hope it works out in our favour.
Course background and past trends
This is the fifth Tshwane Open and the third at this course. It’s a narrow tree-lined course where there’s no advantage to being able to hit the ball miles.
Plotting you’re way around the course, being accurate off the tee giving yourself a chance to hit the greens looks the logical way to win. The stats from the last two years don’t really suggest that too much, nothing really stands out in that regard but with a small sample size it’s hard to know for sure.
Similar to last week, being South African is a big advantage – three of the four winners have been South African, including both at this week’s venue. In fact, over the last two years nine of the 11 players to finish top –five have been South African.
Both winners at Pretoria have been from the top table of South Africa golf in George Coetzee in 2015, for whom this is his home course, and Charl Schwartzel in 2016 who obliterated the field, so that’s one thing to take into consideration.
The field is very similar to last week and I’m taking the same approach in backing South Africans with decent recent for and/or course form.
George Coetzee (12/1 Coral)
It’s not often I back the favourite but I’m finding it hard to leave George Coetzee out at 12/1 (Coral) this week on his local course.
As mentioned above, he won here two years ago and was 14th last year. Last week in Johannesburg he finished seventh and also had a seventh a few weeks ago in Dubai.
In between he recorded a MC in Malaysia and a 14th on the Sunshine where he ranked fifth in the all-round statistic and was sixth in the same stat in Dubai.
Apparently he finished 74th in that stat last week while finishing seventh but in general I’m not sure any of the stats can be trusted from last week. They all look a bit off so I’m ignoring them, maybe wrongly.
Dylan Frittelli (33/1 Ladbrokes)
Dylan is a player I’ve kept my eye on for a while now at these co-sanctioned lower profile tournaments.
He comes into this week with a 16th last week in Joburg and an eighth and second the weeks previously on the Sunshine Tour. In those weeks he ranked ninth and first in all-around stats so is in good form at the moment.
In 2016 as a whole on the European Tour he ranked 24th in Driving Accuracy and 70th in GIR hit, so considering the low quality field this week puts him up near the top of the list from this field.
As an extra to the current good form, he’s also recorded 14th and 10th-placed finishes in the last few years so has that course form too.
Jacques Blaauw (80/1 BetVictor)
Along with trying to pick out a winner from a field of 150+ participants, one of the worst things about golf betting is backing someone a week too early.
Experience gives you a bit of an instinct for these things so I’m going to back Jacques Blaauw again, this week at 80/1 (BetVictor).
As I said last week he played on the web.com finishing sixth then missed the cut in Panama before heading straight to Joburg. He missed the cut again last week but with an extra week’s rest after the long trip to South Africa, plus inflation in price up to 80/1 from 60/1, I’m happy to give him another chance.
Nothing more than an instinctive pick with this. An extra plus point is a second-place here in 2015 which included a round of 61. I’ll settle for another of those this week.