After a nice long break for the festive period were back with a double helping of European Tour action. The South Africa Open at Glendower GC and the EURASIA Cup at Glenmarie G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Although I'm looking forward to a little team golf in Malaysia and have a few side bets placed the event I will be focusing on is the SA Open.
This tournament has a rich history that dates back as far as 1893 and holds the honour of being the second oldest national tournament with only The Open being older.
Always represented extremely well by the home contingent and on paper even more so this year with such an incredible amount of talent that is being produced by this nation.
Once again and for the fifth time running the SA Open will be hosted at Glendower GC. Very much a traditional South African classic parkland layout played at altitude. Located just outside Johannesburg it sits approximately 1,500 meters above sea level.
Other than the impressive collective of home nation players there is a strong representation from the tour regulars and newly promoted.
Par: 72 ( 4 x par 3's, 14 x par 4's and 4 x par 5's )
Length: 7,594 yards or 6,942 meters. (Playing yardage due to altitude 6,900 yards.)
Design and Layout: Classic Parkland, tree lined fairways, with well guarded quick greens.
Greens: A1/A4 Bentgrass expected to be running between 11'5" and 12'. Gently undulating, small in size and well guarded with bunkering.
Fairways: Narrow, tree lined, protected by dense Kukuyu rough, well placed bunkers and the occasional water feature.
Conditioning: The course is softer than they would like it due to a very wet December but progressively drying out. The rough denser than the last couple of years and set to offer a slightly tougher challenge.
Key Stats, and Attributes
Par 5 scoring - Stand out stat for this event, the par 5's here can present big point scoring opportunities for your line ups and in most years has been the key contributor to placing performance.
Overall Accuracy - I have leaned more towards accuracy off the tee and greens hit. Although this course slightly favoured the longer hitter in the last couple of years, the demand for accuracy will be increased this year due to the thicker rough
Putting - The greens aren't overly complicated and described as gently undulating. Suited best to the good green reader with a confident stroke as they should be running quick and true.
Altitude Performance - The course sits 1,500 meters above sea level, suited better to those with experience playing at venues like this as its not just as simple as changing the number in meters to yards or taking off between 7 and 12 % depending on the players ball flight and club used.
I have factored in Course history and course fit whilst making picks, taken form with a pinch of salt as many have had a long break and when creating my line ups focused more on balance in order to get my 6 of 6 through to weekend golf.
Charl Schwartzel $11,500
Dylan Frittelli $10,900
$9,000 - $10,000
Dean Burmester $9,800
Matthieu Pavon $9,500
$8,000 - $9,000
Haydn Porteous $9,000
Jordan Smith $8,800
George Coetzee $8,700
Soren Kjeldsen $8,600
$7,000 - $8,000
Trevor Fisher Junior $8,000
Andy Sullivan $7,700
Christian Bezuidenhout $7,300
Mikko Korhonen $7,100
$7,000 or less
Oliver Bekker $7,000
Jeff Winther $7,000
Ricardo Gouveia $7,000
Tapio Pulkkanen $6,900
Jean Hugo $6,700