BMW South African Open: Home Based Golfers Leading the Way
Golf is just starting to build momentum at the start of 2018 and on Thursday, we see one of the oldest national tournaments in history. The BMW South African Open was first held way back in 1903 and some greats of the game, most notably Gary Player with 13 victories, have taken the trophy.
These days the event is co-sanctioned by both the European and Sunshine Tours and while we’ve seen only one South African winner in the last five years, a strong home contingent promises to improve on that record at the end of the four days.
Men to Beat
Two golfers stand out at the top of the betting with short prices for any golf tournament and many punters may find these a little too tight. Leading the way is Branden Grace at a top price of 13/2 with Paddy Power and Marathon Bet while Charl Schwartzel follows at his best odds of 15/2 with BetFred.
Schwartzel has the better record in terms of this event, taking a runners up place in 2015 but Grace has a much better recent record. Among his achievements in 2017, golf lovers will recall that incredible 62 at the Open last July and he finished the year with victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November.
South African golfers dominate the top of the betting although we have quite a gap now until third favourite Dylan Frittelli drops in at a best of 18/1 with Stan James and BetFred. At 27, he’s no youngster but 2017 was something of a breakthrough year for the player as he claimed his first two European Tour victories.
If he can add consistency to his game, Frittelli can be a real threat at the Majors in 2018 and he’s definitely one for us to watch this week.
Dean Burmester then comes along at a top price of 22/1 with Betway and Sun Bets before we start to get into outsider territory with George Coetzee on offer at best odds of 30/1 with Stan James and SportingBet.
As we move out into the middle distance we find our first non-South African in Jordan Smith who is available at best odds of 33/1 with Stan James. Victory in the European Open last year was his first on tour but we’re more interested in the same top price of 33/1 with Unibet and 188Bet next to the name of Soren Kjeldsen.
The Dane has four wins on the European Tour and although the last of these came in 2015, there were enough strong finishes in 2017 to suggest that this could be a more productive year.
But the price that really stands out for us in this section is the best of 45/1 with SportingBet for Haydn Porteous. At 23, his best years are still ahead, unlike some of the golfers we’ve assessed and after winning the Czech Masters last September, that looks to be an exceptional price.
Other options in the outsider section could include our 2015 winner Andy Sullivan at best odds of 50/1 with Unibet and 888Sport while our defending champion, Graeme Storm, is way out at a top price of 80/1 with Stan James.
The Glendower Golf Club hosts this event and it’s a Par 72 with a relatively lengthy 7,500 yards but distance really shouldn’t be an issue. At some 5,000 feet above sea level, the ball will fly through the air but accuracy really is vital with water hazards in play on 11 of the 18 holes.
Recent winners of this event haven’t exactly given us one key stat to hang on to but in general, greens in regulation is important and while we haven’t seen much in the way of low scoring recently, putting average has also featured in some of the latest renewals.
In 2017, Dylan Frittelli emerged from the fringes of the game to take those two victories and become one of the most exciting players on the European Tour. 2018 is therefore going to be an interesting year and based on some of those performances, he could now become a genuine threat at the biggest events of all.
Success on home soil has eluded him but at that 18/1 price he is an outstanding option, even for those who want to play safe and take an Each Way punt. Moving on from that we would look to the Top Ten markets where Haydn Porteous’ best price of 5/1 with Stan James is an exceptional one.
Soren Kjeldsen is a little shorter in the same market at a best of 3/1 with Paddy Power and Unibet but we’re expecting a strong year from the Dane and will therefore add that to the slip.
Best Bets for the BMW South African Open 2018:
• Dylan Frittelli Each Way at 18/1 with BetFred
• Soren Kjeldsen for a Top Ten finish at 3/1 with Paddy Power
• Haydn Porteous for a Top Ten finish at 5/1 with Stan James