European Tour Resumes with Home Players in Focus at SA Open

by on Wednesday, January 10

The European Tour resumes following its break for the holiday period and nerves will be getting to the South African golfers with the BMW SA Open swinging into focus.

First played in 1903, it is one of the oldest tournaments in the game and is the one the home players want to win above all other events – majors notwithstanding.

South Africa’s greatest golfer, Gary Player, won the event on 13 occasions, while modern-day great Ernie Els has five victories to his name.

The home defence is to the head of the market with 188BET, who have Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel at the top of the betting at 7.00 and 8.00 respectively.

Both Grace and Schwartzel have plenty to recommend them, with Grace the favourite on account of his recent win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and his excellent conversion rate on home soil – he has seven professional wins to his name.

It would not come as any surprise were Grace to add another win at home, but the Glendower Golf Club is not likely to play to his strengths as the fairways are tight and the rough expected to be up. Grace has been known to spray the ball around and that sort of golf will be punished.

The 2011 Masters champion Schwartzel is without a win to his name since March 2016, but he was in decent form towards the end of last year – a 12th-place finish at the Nedbank a highlight, and he has the all-round game to flourish on the course. But at the odds, we’re prepared to look elsewhere.

A player who catches the eye at 188BET’s price of 17.0 is Dylan Frittelli. He may not have the worldwide appeal of an Els or a Schwartzel, but he has been in blistering form – with a win in the Mauritius Open in December the most recent highlight. But he’s also shown he can compete in big events, such as a second-placed finish in the Turkish Airlines Open and fourth at the Dubai World Championship.

His putting his been the highlight of his recent surge in form and if he can carry that momentum into his home open, he will be a contender.

It’s worth having a second string to the bow and we will go for Edoardo Molinari, who can be backed at 151 with 188BET.

The Italian snapped a seven-year winless run with victory in the Trophee Hassan II last April and he put together a run of decent results through 2017; he has enough back class to warrant a punt on a track where he set the course record 63 last year.