GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Alfred Dunhill Championship | 26th-28th November 2020 | Sky Sports
The European Tour remains in South Africa for another co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour event and with the Nedbank Challenge postponed, this'll be the richest event taking place in these parts this season.
Leopard Creek is no stranger to the European Tour with it playing host to this tournament 15 times since 2004, the latest being nearly one year to the day as it actually kickstarted the 2020 campaign. Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal triumphed by a single shot.
Though no one could have expected the circumstances that, not just golf, but the world too, has been through ever since then.
Located next to Kruger Park, Leopard Creek is one of the most spectacular venues the players will visit each year and presents a pretty much all-round test of ability. The undulating fairways are lined with natural bushes and trees with bunkers the main threat whilst new Bermuda greens will also play firmer and faster.
I think it would be wise to call upon current and course form, more so than any particular facet of one's game, though those at the top of the Greens in Regulation, Scrambling and Putting charts tend to rise to the top come Sunday.
It's not the greatest field in the world but there are some strong names at the front of the betting in Brandon Stone, a former winner here, Robert MacIntyre, who won in his last outing and Andalucia winner Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
They're closely followed by Eddie Pepperell, last week's winner JB Hansen and a trio of other South Africans. You'll also find Laurie Canter in this bracket, a man that has brought us many close returns, though it pains me to say, I cannot get him onside at these odds this week.
Johannes Veerman (40/1 Betfair)
Instead, I will start the staking plan with impressive American, Johannes Veerman
boost), who finished T7 here last time at three-figures. His form since has been rather fantastic with a smattering of top-10s on the ET – ranging from his T10 at Valderrama, T8 at the Portugal Masters and T4 in Cyprus.
These are all in countries that you could consider hot and humid, well South Africa will top that but it's good to see that it shouldn't affect him whatsoever.
The Q School graduate has also flashed at the Maybank in the past, one track with Bermuda greens which suggests a liking for the tricky putting surface. Whilst on the whole tour, he ranks 3rd for stroke average (behind only Tommy Fleetwood and Andy Sullivan), 4th for par-5 scoring, 5th for SG: Putting, 12th for GIR and inside the top 50 for SG: Off-the-tee and scrambling.
He is perfectly all-rounded and should go well at Leopards Creek once again.
Scott Jamieson (40/1 Bet365)
Next up I will turn to a course horse in Scott Jamieson
The Scotsman has three top 4 finishes at this event, two of which were in his last two appearances. He finds himself in decent nick too and is worth chancing at these odds. A T20 at the Joburg last time out was a nice warm-up going into this week whilst earlier in the year, he finished T12 at the Qatar Masters, T10 at the Hero Open and T9 at the English Championship.
His one and only ET victory came in South Africa, as did his next best finish – a runner-up at the Nedbank in 2017. He clearly likes South Africa. If we throw in his fine ability with the flat-stick, ranking 15th on tour for SG: Putting, then we have someone who could truly contend this week.
Zander Lombard (55/1 Unibet)
It would be rude to not back someone native to the country, and I rate Zander Lombard
) and his chances this week. I think it would be fair to suggest that the 25-year-old is one of the harder players to judge correctly. It's usually either end of the stick – a solid display or way off it. His T15 at the Joburg last week tempts me to back him.
He clearly has an eye for Leopards Creek having gone T3 in 2018 and then T7 last time out. In fact, that was his last top ten across both the European and Sunshine Tour, so perhaps he can build on his latest performance. In the field last week he was 4th for ball-striking and 6th for total driving.
If he can keep that up, then he has every chance of outperforming these odds – but I warn you, he is one that could quite easily miss the cut too.
Connor Syme (66/1 Bet365)
I will also go back to Connor Syme
), who flashed here on debut last time with a T11. He is another who fits in the ‘all-round' category, ranking 11th for GIR, 39th for par-5 scoring and Scrambling, and 55th for SG: Putting. Since winning us a few each way returns with places in the UK Swing, he's gone off the boil with four missed cuts in six events, but I think a tournament like this is a spot he can regain his feet.
One of those missed cuts was the US Open, which was followed by another one on his return to the UK the very next week. And clearly, the two events in Cyprus weren't too his fancy, especially given they were major unknowns going into it. On the other side of this all, four of his best six finishes on the ET have come in 2020, so he's clearly at the very top of his game right now. These odds are far too good to ignore.
Joel Sjoholm (125/1 Bet365)
You can usually find Joel Sjoholm
) at longer odds than this but I still think he's worth a chance at three-figures. He was the runner-up to Larrazabal here, finishing just one shot behind and comes into this week on the back of five straight cuts and two top-25 finishes.
Clearly, he's in decent nick right now. The Swede is 5th on the ET for SG: Approach, behind Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters, Sullivan and Garrick Higgo (who will win an event sooner or later – maybe this).
Joel Stalter (150/1 Boylesports)
I will also throw some money on another long-shot dart in Joel Stalter
). The Frenchman picked up his maiden ET win earlier in the year, clinching the Euram Bank Open but then missed the cut in four of his next six events post-win. He's put that fully behind him and has looked in shape with a top-25s in Italy and Cyprus, his last outing.
Similarly, his only visit here was also a top 25 finish. Having also contended at the South African Open before, perhaps he like Jamieson likes coming to this country and that could be the one factor to bring out the sort of display we need this week.
Alfred Dunhill Championship – Johannes Veerman (40/1 each-way Betfair)
Alfred Dunhill Championship – Scott Jamieson (40/1 each-way Bet365)
Alfred Dunhill Championship – Zander Lombard (55/1 each-way Unibet)
Alfred Dunhill Championship – Connor Syme (66/1 each-way Bet365)
Alfred Dunhill Championship – Joel Sjoholm (125/1 each-way Bet365)
Alfred Dunhill Championship – Joel Stalter (150/1 each-way Boylesports)