In my view, he’s much improved than when third two years ago, whereas Mulroy and Kingston have at best stood still in the meantime. That doesn’t by any means rule them out though. At a slightly bigger price, Kingston was preferred because he has the best stats of anyone in this field in windy conditions.
 
Hong Kong Open winner Gregory Bourdy is another well capable at this level, as is another of last week’s disappointing selections, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, though the Spaniard is less likely to be suited to this course. After Sunday’s fourth place, Robert Rock now has top sevens from three of his last four South African starts. He is overdue a first title. It will also be interesting to note the performance of Golf Monthly touring professional Sam Hutsby after the youngster secured his European Tour Card in Qualifying School recently.
 
As mentioned above, scrambling is a key skill around this course, and nobody in this field ranks higher than DAMIEN MCGRANE in that sphere over the past 12 months. McGrane was also in Sunday’s top ten and performed respectably in 14th here last year. As he is also one of the more proficient players in windy conditions, it would appear the Irishman would have his ideal set-up.
 
Finally, a couple of outsiders to consider. Fabrizio Zanotti has performed pretty well here before, finishing 21st and 11th. Zanotti has just enjoyed by far his best season to date, and has the excellent scrambling skills required to ensure another high finish. And Branden Grace, who was only beaten a couple of shots in sixth place last year, remains an interesting South African prospect, well capable of leaving a disappointing European season behind.
 
Advised golf betting for the South Africa Open:
 
3pts ew ROSS MCGOWAN @ 18/1 (STAN JAMES, BOYLESPORTS, 20/1 EXPEKT)
2pts ew EDUARDO MOLINARI @ 25/1 (GENERAL)
2pts ew LOUIS OOSTHUISEN @ 28/1 (GENERAL)
1.5pts ew JAMES KINGSTON @ 33/1 (GENERAL, 35/1 BETFRED)
1.5pts ew DAMIEN MCGRANE @ 40/1 (GENERAL, 45/1 BOYLESPORTS)
 
2009/10 STATS: -13pts

Where next?

Tour news: More awards for Lee Westwood
Q School: Sam Hutsby secures Tour Card
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