The third prominent South African on show, Charl Schwartzel, is at least at the more palatable odds of 14/1. However, its hard to get too enthused about Schwartzel after his two failures to make the top-10 on this course. Instead, each-way betting at decent prices looks the way forward in a tricky contest. This isn’t a week for big stakes, but by taking minimum odds of 20/1 about our selections, we’ll only need one top-5 place to cover most of the layout.
Below those big names, this field is made up of the Sunshine Tour’s best and a dozen or so half-decent Europeans. Both previous renewals of this event suggested a strong advantage to the home crowd, with nine out of twelve top-5 placings filled by South Africans. That includes the runners-up in each year, GARTH MULROY and ANDREW MCLARDY, both of whom warrant the utmost respect again.
Mulroy has been solid if unspectacular in the two co-sanctioned events so far, but must rate a serious candidate on the basis of last year’s effort and his wider form in his own country. Its hard to see this consistent character out of the top-10, so 22/1 to win and 11/2 about a top-5 represents solid value.
As for McLardy, there was nothing wrong with 20th place at the HSBC Champions Trophy on his most recent start. In fact, as that field was genuinely world-class and light years ahead of this week’s opposition, a repeat performance would make him hard to beat. That wasn’t the only piece of European Tour form he’s shown, and we’ve seen in previous years that McLardy improves dramatically on home turf.
Next page: Joburg Open: Other ones to watch