Golf – Home heroes could go well at the Joburg Open

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EUROPEAN Tour golf specialist Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) returns to share his thoughts on the upcoming Joburg Open.

Joburg Open | 7th-10th December 2017 | Sky Sports

It’s the final tournament of the calendar year for the European Tour as we head to South Africa for the Joburg Open.

I didn’t have time to get a piece written for the Mauritius Open last week but that turned out for the best because it was the previous weeks selections who did the business a week too late, first and fifth.

It’s frustrating when that happens but inevitable with golf betting from time to time. Taking the positives of knowing you’re on the right lines rather than getting down hearted is key.

Like last week, this is a tri-sanctioned event between the European Tour, Sunshine Tour and Asian Tours. It’s worth noting that this is the penultimate event of the Asian Tours Order of Merit and towards the end of the equivalent season for the Sunshine Tour season.

The field is a bumper one at 240 entrants, split over two courses for the first two days but even so, it’s a weak field. That means two things – those at the head of the market are in a different class to most the field and there’ll be a few guys at huge prices near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. Picking out the right ones is the difficulty in that.

Course background

It’s back to courses last used back in 2010 this year at Randpark Golf Club as the normal host course is undergoing renovations so there isn’t too much to go on.

As I say ahead of every tournament in South Africa, the home contingent have very good records down there and you need to have a few onside at the very least. Again, it’s picking out the right ones that’s the difficulty but I’ll give it a go.

Darren Fichardt (28/1 Unibet)

First up Darren Fichardt who ticks the boxes for nationality, recent form, South Africa form and historic course form.

The ageing South African was 16th last week in Mauritius and his outing previous to that saw him pick up sixth at the Nedbank Challenge. He’s also coming into this as the defending champion which I more often than not see as a disadvantage but seeing as this is on a different course, I’m more inclined to look past that.

That’s not to say Darren hasn’t got any previous form at Randpark because he does. Second in 2000 at the South African Open and sixth at a Sunshine Tour event in 2010 gives him a decent advantage over most in the field who won’t have seen the course before.

At 28/1 he’s the sixth favourite and probably rightly so. The five at shorter odds are at a different level though and it’ll most likely only take one of them to be on their game to win this week but it’s a risk I’ll take.

Jacques Kruyswijk (125/1 William Hill)

Jacques Kruyswijk made his first outing since mid-October last week and predictably didn’t fare too well, however he did make the cut so did get four rounds in.

He’s been playing mainly on the Sunshine Tour with very good consistent results. Over the last 12-18 months he’s seen many of his fellow young South Africans winning tournaments and it could well be that he made an appearance last week with this one in mind to try and add his name to that list.

At 125/1 he’s certainly too big a price to do so.

Mikko Korhonen (150/1 Coral)

Finland is somewhere very different to South Africa so it’s a surprise to see that Mikki Korhonen has such good form there.

Earlier this year he picked up sevnth at the South African Open and second at the Tshwane from his two trip south.

Mikko has had a break since the Andalucia Masters at the end of October so to come back for just the single tournament now must mean he fancies his chances of a positive result.

Like Kruyswijk, he’s too big a price at 150/1.

Ulrich Van Den Berg (350/1 Bet365)

Finally a big price, not one to go overboard on by any means but Ulrich Van Den Berg at 350/1 is the nominated huge price.

He missed the cut last week and doesn’t have the best of results in European Tour sanctioned events but could be worth chancing still, especially as the field here isn’t great.

In his 13 solely Sunshine Tour events his worst finish has been 26th, the best is only seventh but he’s consistent if nothing else.

He’s also been 16th and eighth on this course in 2009 and 2010 which can’t be a bad thing.

Best Bets

Joburg Open – Darren Fichardt (28/1 each-way Unibet)

Joburg Open – Jacques Kruyswijk (125/1 each-way William Hill)

Joburg Open – Mikko Korhonen (150/1 each-way Coral)

Joburg Open – Ulrich Van Den Berg (350/1 each-way Bet365)

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