Nor do similar prices make much appeal about course debutants Anders Hansen and Soren Hansen, irrespective of their obvious claims. Soren brings the best worldwide form to this contest, but as usual can’t be backed because of an appalling conversion ratio when in contention.
Over the length of their entire careers, Anders’ win ratio is barely superior, but he has landed two titles this year, both in South Africa. In fact, his record in this country is impeccable, never finishing worse than sixth in four events. Consequently, he has the extra incentive of entering the final week of the Sunshine Tour money list in the lead. Ultimately, Anders is too short for my liking, but I do strongly expect to see him on Sunday’s leaderboard.
Next up in the betting are emerging UK pair Gareth Maybin and ROSS MCGOWAN. Long-term readers will know that I rate Maybin, whose first serious mark in the game was made when losing the play-off here last year. Since then, he’s contended several times and to be honest hasn’t covered himself in glory at the key moments. Sunday was a similar story, and until Maybin proves he has a bit more ‘bottle’, 20/1 is too short.
McGowan is more interesting as he’s been absolutely flying of late, and unlike many Europeans does have plenty of South African experience. Four top sixes in his last seven starts, including a runaway win in Madrid and runner-up behind Westwood in Dubai, is an outstanding return. He has improved vastly since registering a respectable 15th 12 months ago.
At this late stage of the year, it makes particularly good sense to side with ‘hot’ players, and right now there are very few hotter golfers on the planet than EDOARDO MOLINARI. Having won four weeks out of six, Molinari eased back to a respectable 15th place at Leopard Creek, once again registering some excellent greens in regulation stats. That should bode well on this ball-strikers course, as does a top 15 here two years ago when generally invisible at this level.
Of the trio of South Africans in contention here two years ago, Mulroy is ignored in favour of Oosthuisen and Kingston, but it wasn’t an easy decision. We have to forgive Oosthuisen’s missed cut last week, where all the damage was done very early. However, having felt for a while that Oosthuisen would be one to watch in these co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour events over the winter, it would be an over-reaction to give up after the first week and a significant drift in price.