EUROPEAN TOUR: Joburg Open
The event is played for the ninth year in succession at The Royal Johannesburg and Kensington courses. The longer East course is considerably harder than the West. One round is played on each course over the first two days then the closing rounds revert to the East course.
OUTRIGHT: Christiaan Bezuidenhout, 0.5 pts win and place 45/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
As a local Johannesburg resident Bezuidenhout will know these courses well. Bezuidenhout reached the giddy heights of top ranked South African amateur in 2014 then, after an enforced lay off, started his pro career in 2015 culminating in him finishing as top player in South Africa’s Q School in December 2015. After a near miss in the 2016 South African Open, which he lost narrowly to Brandon Stone, he followed up with a respectable top thirty place finish here. On the back of two recent top five finishes on his local Sunshine Tour he will surely be looking to improve on that this year.
OUTRIGHT: James Morrison, 0.5 pts win and place 66/1 (1/4 odds 6 places)
Although Morrison has only one top twenty finish here to his name here in 2014 he does have a decent record in the South African Open so the local kikuyu grasses don’t appear to stifle his game. In what is a rather weak field this year he does look to represent some value at these odds more especially on the back of some very promising recent form which has seen him record three top thirty finishes in his last four outings. Having rededicated to his game and returned to his old coach and swing he looks like a player to follow closely this season.
OUTRIGHT: Trevor Fisher Jr, 0.5 pts win and place 80/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)
Somewhat surprisingly local boy Fisher has been overlooked by the layers this week. His recent course form of 3T in 12, 6T in 13 and 13T in 16 is impressive and his recent form is none too shabby either with a tied fifth place in the South African Open 5 weeks ago. True he had a history of failing to close out event down the stretch but a with a recent Tour win behind him he is arguably a much better betting proposition these days.
PGA TOUR: The Honda Classic
The Florida swing begins this week at PGA National. The 7,100 yards long, par 70 Jack Nicklaus designed track hosts this event for the eleventh time. The course has water hazards at 16 holes, and, in typical Nicklaus style, should favour left to right hitters. Scoring last year was generally high relative to par and indications are that good all round ball strikers have an edge on this tough track especially if the rough is up. In the generally breezy conditions good wind players tend to come to the fore.
OUTRIGHT: Russell Knox, 0.5 pts win and place 33/1 (1/4 odds 5 places)
Knox must always be on the betting short list here on what is historically his favourite course where his form figures read 2T in 14, 3T in 15 and 26T in 16. His accuracy and ability to control his ball flight suits this testing course to a tee and, on the back of an encouraging start to his year in Hawaii, he looks well worth following again this year in a field which contains only two marquee names.
OUTRIGHT: Russell Henley, 0.5 pts win and place 50/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)
Like Knox Henley has previous form here having won in 2014 on the back of a top fifteen place finish in 2013. He too has made an encouraging start in 2017 having followed up a top fifteen place finish in The Sony Hawaii event with a top twenty place finish in Phoenix four weeks ago so looks set fair to mount another strong challenge here this time around.
OUTRIGHT: Graeme McDowell, 0.5 pts win and place 66/1 (1/4 odds 6 places)
We have some surprisingly good value on offer with McDowell this week on what is one of his favoured events. His recent record here has few peer reading 6T in 11, 9T in 12, 9T in 13 and 5th in 16 and once you add in some notable and improving recent form on the desert swing in Qatar and Dubai on the European Tour you have the makings of a clear value bet.