The European Tour heads to Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate this week for the inaugural Tshwane Open, the sixth South African event on the 2013 European Tour roster.
With the WGC-Cadillac Championship taking place in Florida next week, many players have stayed in America following the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
As such, the Tshwane Open will provide a good chance for some of the Tour’s lesser lights to make an impact, even though past major champions Darren Clarke, Jose Maria Olazabal and Michael Campbell are in the field.
Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate is a 7,791 par-72 layout, with two par 5s over 600 yards and two par 4s over 500 yards.
The course also boasts some very wide fairways, so long, erratic hitting is more advantageous than precision and accuracy on this track. Jaco Van Zyl and Garth Mulroy are favourites this week at 14/1 with Ladbrokes, and both look poised to enjoy success.
Van Zyl simply can’t be overlooked this week. He won the Sunshine Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am last week, and his form over the past month has been exemplary. He finished in a tie for 11th at the Joburg Open and second at the Africa Open, where he led after three rounds.
Trevor Fisher Jnr, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, is well worth a bet this week. The South African has also been in fine form over the past month. Indeed, he finished sixth at the Joburg Open after sharing the 54-hole lead, contended at the Africa Open and came third last week at the Dimension Date Pro-Am.
Max Kieffer, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes, has made a good start to life on the European Tour. The German finished fourth at the season-opening Nelson Mandela Championship and led the way after 18 holes of the Joburg Open. He hasn’t finished outside the top 27 in his last three starts, and will fancy his chances in tournament with a relatively weak field.
Tom Lewis, at 80/1 with Ladbrokes, is worth keeping an eye on this week. Regular readers of this column will know I’ve been backing Lewis for the past couple of weeks, and I genuinely believe a strong showing is just around the corner. Rounds of 65 and 67 at the Joburg Open, his best two scores in some time, are enough to convince me some good form isn’t too far away.
Espen Kofstad, at 125/1 with Ladbrokes, is a decent each way bet this week. Granted, he hasn’t made the best of starts to life on the European Tour, but his record in South Africa isn’t bad, and anyone who wins the Challenge Tour Order of Merit can play.
Tshwane Open advised bets:
2pts each way on Jaco Van Zyl at 14/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Trevor Fisher Jnr at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Max Kieffer at 50/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Tom Lewis at 125/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Espen Kofstad at 125/1 with Ladbrokes