Re-cap on last weeks Joburg Open.
Once again a somewhat disappointing event on the European Tour. The weather has been playing a huge role over here and this time it reduced the play to 54 holes. (Whatever happened to rolling things into the Monday if needed). Anyway some golf was played and considering the size of the field, the onslaught of rain, the organiser's and in particular ground staff did I superb job of making the best of what they had on offer.
We had the usual South African winner in the form of Darren Fichardt with 3 exceptional rounds resulting in a final score of -15, some stunning low scoring rounds including the superb 62 shot by Paul Peterson on day 1, a leader board dominated by the SA contingent and very pleasing for me to see a very healthy representation of players from the UK... Oh yeah of course there was the somewhat strange choice of putter used by Jaco Van Zyl.
Next Up - Tshwane Open
Yet again the European Tour holds an event in South Africa, this time were at Pretoria Country Club, a far different challenge to your usual SA layout and if the weather plays it part as expected the players could be in for some tough rounds.
A field again dominated by players from SA, many of the big names away in Mexico but maybe an opportunity to do well with the lesser known or big gamble.
The Course - Pretoria Country Club
Considerably shorter layout measuring only 7081 with a par of 71, However tight tree lined, with narrow fairways and a far greater demand for accuracy required rather than raw power.
For me nice to see something a little more traditional on offer and should I visit that part of the world would comfortably be on my list of must play courses.
The greens are bent and poa, small in size and tricky in design not only the demand to hit greens in regulation will be needed but due to the lush Kikuyu rough a solid short game will be required to salvage the odd inevitable mistake
In the last 2 years scoring hasn't been spectacular with last year Schwartzel being the only player getting into double digits under par, only 20 players bettering par and +4 making the cut.
This year with recent rainfall, soft targets and current form of players on offer I think we should see much lower scores.
Strategy and Key Stats
What I love about this layout is there are 2 ways to take it on.. Go for it and hope that the risk turns into reward not disaster or strategically place the ball around the course. I will be considering this when making me drafts and trying out a couple of strategies based on the obvious accuracy picks and some bigger bombing risk takers.
Most of my focus this week has been pushed in the direction of accuracy from the tee and the ability to scramble well. This very classic layout suggests accurate placement of tee shots and solid iron play is by far the safest bet.
However one to love a risk taker and especially with birdies or better being on offer on a much shorter course I'm still going to pick some bigger hitting birdie machines, currently in form and even more so if their finding fairways.
Gorgeous morning followed by... you guessed it more rain!!! It shouldn't be as disruptive as last week but there is the threat of lightening and interrupted play. The wind forecasts seem fairly steady and in all honestly there doesn't seem to be one side of the draw that considerably benefits the other.
There are 3 players in the section I really like this week and will be playing as much of these I can this week
Dean Burmester - $11,800 - Dean is one of the longest on tour but has a very strategical head on his shoulders. His forms great, stats superb and always plays well in SA events.
George Cotzee - $11,600 - This is Georges home course, he knows it better than anyone in the field, Won here in 2015, knows when it right to take on the gamble here and I'm expecting him to be competing for 1st this week.. All 4 rounds in the 60's and bucket loads of birdies
Thomas Aiken - $10,800 - Although he hasn't exactly done well for me the last 2 weeks I'm still picking Thomas based on his stats in fairways hit and greens in reg. This course suits his style perfectly, has solid course history and always a top runner in SA.
$9,000 - $10,000
Only one player in this section and it's Jordan Smith - $9,400 - Trust me this newbie is quality, He won the order of merit on the Europro Tour, then followed it up by winning OEM on the Challenge Tour, now on the European Tour he has one thing on his mind and that's winning the Race to Dubai. Knowing he can only do that through picking up a few wins I hope this week he plays all 4 rounds like his 1st and picks up the win.
$8,000 - $9,000
Dylan Frettelli - $8,500 - Solid stats in all departments, Played well last week in Joburg (16th), has very sound course history and a DK point scorer, at this price I think a good pick for a top 10
Jorge Campillo - $8,100 and Alexander Bjork - $8,000 - Picking both of these guys because they are cut makers, this course screams out strategy and limit your mistakes, it fits the nature of both of these and the way I'm stacking my teams I may need a banker or 2
£7,000 - $8,000
Mikko Korhonen - $7,900 - This player wasn't on my radar but heard his name mentioned way too many times this week as someone they like for this course, After delving into a bit of research it was easy to see why. Hits a lot of greens, absolutely loves this course, has the putter working well and on this shorter course can manage his way round with very little drama
Paul Warring - $7,700 - Played really well at Joburg finish in tied 2nd, putting stroke looks as smooth as silk. He's looking to contend again this week and in all honesty I cant see a reason why he shouldn't. The course and greens are perfect for him
Trevor Fisher Jnr - $7,600 - Picks up most of his Euro's playing at home, although he had a bad result here last year he finished 23rd and 10th the years before, played well in Joburg and seeing as though were still in SA would be wise to pick home players
James Morrison - $7,500 - Unlike me James spells his surname correctly, Form is very good and progressively getting better (23rd, 12th, 4th). All 3 rounds in the 60's at Joburg and a player very well adapted to stop start conditions. I really like this pick.
Christiaan Bezuidhout - $7,500 - Picked for many of the same reasons I have picked Jordan Smith, a seriously talented player with the potential to win. was very unlucky last week to miss the cut with a -3 and thanks to that maybe even lower picked.
$6,000 - $7,000
There's an abundance of players in this range I would happily take a punt on especially as I want to stack some higher priced players in my drafts.
Pep Angles $6,900. L. Bjerregaard $,6900. Chris Hanson $6,800. Gramae Storm $6,600 Merrick Bremner $6,500. Haydn Porteous $6,500. Gregory Harvet $6,400. N.Kimsey $6,000
Too name a few!
Euro Tour on Tour.
Once again the big boys of the Euro Tour will be mixing it up with the PGA Tour this time in Mexico. I will be revealing my Euro tour only draft on twitter @AshleyMorrisson.
Last weeks draft did well for me through the first 54 holes and just like the Tour back home they didn't bother turning out for the final round. However I'm still going to back my side of the pond in the hope of a mini victory to stop me licking saw and deep wounds from Hazeltine.Seriously though the value of some of the players available to draft is ridiculous (Lee Westwood) and incredibly strong teams can be drafted with loads of bucks to play with.
Hope you all enjoy the golf and any questions fire them my way.