For the last event of the calendar year the European Tour team up with the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour to bring us a monstrous field that will compete for the Joburg Open. Now this event although a regular to the European Tour has a couple of notable amendments, the first being the change of date and being brought forward from its usual appearance in early in the new year and secondly the change of venue.. Traditional played at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington GC, but unable to host due to renovations and updating of its courses, the event has moved to Randpark GC.
The Course and Venue
The move to Randpark was the perfect solution so that the Tours could maintain the structure of this event. Keeping a field of 240 players it was essential that 2 quality courses were on offer and seeing as though Randpark has been a former host of the SA open and many other professional and elite amateur events it certainly has the prestige and facilities to accomadate the visiting circus this week.
The 2 courses on offer here are The Firethorn Course and The Bushwillow Course..
The Firethorn is considerably longer, measuring 7,595 yards with a par of 72. The design more synonymous with top end tournament golf and certainly considered to be the tougher layout.
Bushwillow is shorter but tighter, measuring 7,156 yards with a par of 71. Although considered to be the easier of the 2, the narrow tree lined fairways, smaller targets and deep sticky rough present its own challenge and will test any complacency.
240 players will compete this week for the Joburg open and 3 that are not already exempt will pick up spots at this years The Open.
The main attraction and favourite to win (Louis Oosthouzen) has withdrawn due to injury, however there is still plenty of talent on offer and lots to be seen from names that could break through and feature in a big way throughout 2018.
Great opportunity to take advantage of ownership this week, a lot of non regular Euro contest players will be drawn to the names they know but obviously be mindful to get your picks through to see weekend golf if not playing multiple line ups.
Key Stats and Strategy.
With the venue being saturated by rain its a very simple yet always difficult task for the players, hit it long, keep it on the short stuff and attack pins when you can.
Longer hitter especially those with good carry yardage could certainly get a good advantage but much will depend on the tee's used.
Softer greens will offer up more chances and even those with longer irons into green will be able to fire at more pins so don't be shy to play a 'short knocker' or two in your line ups.
Adaptability of players, recent form and course fit have all been considered when selecting my line ups
With this 240 man field getting your 6/6 is going to be tough task and maybe a little more balance in a line up could pay off.
Make sure Louis isn't still lingering in any of your line ups, withdrew due to a freak injury to his fingers caused by an airport trolley.
Dylan Frittelli $11,400
George Coetzee $10,400
Haydn Porteous $9,400
$8,000 - $9,000
Dean Burmester $8,900
Gavin Green $8,400
Sam Horsfield $8,200
$7,000 - $8,000
Aaron Rai $7,800
Oliver Bekker $7,700
Jacques Kruyswjik $7,500
Louis De Jager $7,400
Jeff Winther $7,300
Andrea Pavan $7,200
$7,000 or less
Zander Lombard $6,900
Pep Angles $6,900
Casey O'Toole $6,700
Christian Bezuidenhuit $6,600
James Heath $6,600
Tapio Pulkkanen $6,500
Right ladies and gents that's me done for the year and looking forward to a well deserved break, I'll be back refreshed, well researched and ready to break down the SA Open on January 11th. However until then I wish you all a happy holidays and I hope the new year brings you all good luck.
@AshleyMorrisson - Twitter