Below the leading batch, there aren’t that many South Africans used to playing against this level of opposition. Defending champion James Kingston, often a factor in Europe, will never carry my money. Last year’s success was the only time I’ve ever seen this notorious bottler hold his nerve. Preference is for GARTH MULROY and LOUIS OOSTHUISEN. Neither performed at their best at Leopard Creek, but may well return to form back on a course where they shared 3rd place last year. Mulroy’s effort was particularly impressive, seeing as he’d started with an 80, and in line with his general Sunshine Tour form. Prior to 21st at Leopard Creek, (which was a good week up until the final round), Mulroy had won twice and been no worse than 5th in his last five starts on home soil.
Oosthuisen was rated alongside Schwartzel until not so long ago, but has struggled to carry his form overseas. Nevertheless, he’s won four times in twelve South Africa events since the start of 2007, as well as three other top-3s, and clearly represents a strong threat at home. And even if we haven’t seen the very best of him in Europe, three top-20s on his last five starts including 7th at The Belfry are enough to suggest his form is fine. Enough at any rate to discount last week’s surprising missed cut.
Finally, my sole European selection this week is SIMON DYSON, who topped the greens in regulation stats at Leopard Creek. That particular discipline will be all important on this tough course, and it bodes well that he was beaten by just five shots in 11th place last year. He’d looked a frequent contender in the final few events of last season, and could be a strong candidate over the winter months.
3pts ew RETIEF GOOSEN @ 18/1 (BOYLESPORTS, CORAL, SPORTINGBET)
2.5pts ew TREVOR IMMELMAN @ 20/1 (GENERAL)
1.5pts ew GRANT MULROY @ 35/1 (CANBET, 40/1 CORAL)
1.5pts ew LOUIS OOSTHUISEN @ 40/1 (GENERAL)
1.5pts ew SIMON DYSON @ 40/1 (GENERAL, 45/1 BET365)
LONG-TERM ALREADY ADVISED
RACE TO DUBAI
2.5pts ew ROSS FISHER @ 20/1
2.5pts ew PAUL CASEY @ 20/1
2009 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
5pts ew SERGIO GARCIA @ 16/1
2008/2009 STATS: -98pts
2007/2008 STATS: +618pts