South African Open Championship Odds & Picks

South African Open Championship Odds & Picks

The DP World Tour continues its tour of South Africa by playing in Johannesburg for the second straight week. After last week’s Joburg Open, many of the same players will tee it up in the South African Open Championship, which is one of the oldest national open tournaments in the world.

DP World Tour Odds

The first one took place in 1903, and the record-holder for wins is Gary Player, who has won this event an incredible 13 times. More recently, South African Ernie Els won five times, and multi-time winners include Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman. The current streak of South Africans winning started in 2018 with Louis Oosthuizen’s victory and continued with Branden Grace, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Daniel van Tonder, and Thriston Lawrence, who is the defending champion.

The tournament is a joint event between the DP World Tour and Sunshine Tour, so LIV Golf pros—including favorite Dean Burmester—are allowed to compete in the event.

The Course

Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate hosts the tournament for the second consecutive year. The course was designed by South African golf legend Gary Player and is once again setting the record for the longest course in DP World Tour history. It’s an 8,233-yard, par-72 track, which is 72 yards longer than it was last year. Four of the five par 5s measure over 600 yards, but last year, the par 5s were statistically the five easiest holes on the course. Part of the reason is that the elevation of Johannesburg means that the course plays about 10% shorter than its actual distance. Five of the par 4s are over 500 yards, and there’s only one par 3 that’s shorter than 200 yards. Lawrence’s winning score here a year ago was a 16-under 272.

Burmester Favored Over Lawrence and Other South Africans

Dean Burmester (+700)

Not only won the Joburg Open last week, but he also qualified for The Open Championship since the top-three finishers last week earned a berth into next year’s major at Royal Troon. Burmester is a member of LIV Golf, so that was one of his only chances to qualify. Burmester’s second-round 62 put him in contention, and his 64 on Sunday led to the victory. On top of that, he was a solid fifth here last year; he was also one of the few golfers to break par in all four rounds a year ago.

Thriston Lawrence (+1300)

Conquered Blair Atholl a year ago despite closing with a 2-over 74. The 2021 Joburg Open winner was also leading by three strokes going into the final round last week, but he got off to a rough start and lost the lead within the first three holes. He wound up tied for seventh after shooting a 75. But Lawrence has won in South Africa in each of the past two years on this swing, and he’s in solid form with last week’s top 10 and a fifth the week before at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Other South African Open Championship Contenders

Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+1600) finished ninth last week and is always a threat when competing in his home country. In the last nine tournaments he played in South Africa, Bezuidenhout won three of them, has four more top 10s, and was 15th and 29th in the other two. The only thing that may give a bettor pause is that he hasn’t competed here at Blair Atholl before.

Dan Bradbury (+1700) was the extremely surprising winner at the Joburg last year, winning with over +30000 odds. He started off strong here last year before fading to finish 56th. However, Bradbury showed that last year wasn’t a fluke by coming in third at Houghton last week.

As for a couple of other South African picks, we start with Hennie du Plessis (+2000), who was ninth here a year ago. While he wasn’t dazzling at the Joburg Open last week (29th-place finish), he did come in sixth two weeks prior at the Nedbank Challenge. Zander Lombard (+2500) came in fourth last week and was also runner-up at the Open de Espana last month and has another top 10 among his last eight starts worldwide.

Matti Schmid (+2500) also played well at the Nedbank, coming in third. He didn’t play last week but was a strong fourth here a year ago. He also owns a runner-up finish among his last five starts, so he could be the best bet to break the South African stranglehold on this event.

Another European to watch is Ewen Ferguson (+2500). After missing the cut at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Ferguson has finished in the top 20 in six of his last seven events, including three top 10s. He took last week off after coming in ninth in Dubai, and he also didn’t participate in this event a year ago, so there’s some questions as to how he’ll perform, but he’s been strong on all types of courses over the past two months, so he should be considered a strong contender

South African Open Championship Longshots

Scott Jamieson (+3500) came in 11th last year but has a good track record at Gary Player courses. He’s led on five different occasions and has come in the top six four times on tracks created by the golf legend.

Charl Schwartzel (+3500) is another South African big-name golfer who is worth a look. He missed the cut last week but came in 9th here last year, so his experience on this course puts him into consideration.

Since 2018, the winner of this event was no lower than +3200 in the pre-tournament odds, so the winner could very well be on the grid below. With that in mind, we’ll back the top three in the odds—Burmester, Lawrence, and Bezuidenhout—especially given the value associated with the latter two. Schmid, Lombard, and Ferguson are the other three we’ll take.

DP World Tour’s 2023 South African Open Championship Odds

Dean Burmester+700
Thriston Lawrence+1300
Christiaan Bezuidenhout+1600
Dan Bradbury+1700
Hennie du Plessis+2000
Matti Schmid+2500
Zander Lombard+2500
Ewen Ferguson+2500
Romain Langasque+2500
Jayden Schaper+2500

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