A LONG hard year comes to an end this week at Randpark for the Joburg Open and time to boost the bank for Xmas.
The tournament takes place over two courses, 54 holes at the Firethorn and 18 over the Bushwillow. The Firethorn is a parkland course and a true test of championship golf while the older Bushwillow is shorter but large trees protect the fairway making it tight and challenging.
When you look at European Tour events in South Africa you notice homers tend to win (four out of five events in the 2017 season were won by South Africans).
With that in mind I like the look of George Coetzee. The 31-year-old has had a busy year and had eight top-10 finishes. Although at the end of last season his form seemed to dip slightly he came back strongly last week with another top-10 in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. Definitely a good fit for here and not a bad price.
In his last five tournaments American Paul Peterson has four top-10 finishes. In 2016 the little-known American, who had been playing on the Canadian and Asia Tours, held off a challenge from defending champion Thomas Pieters to win the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
He is not the longest hitter on tour but one of the most accurate. In fact when you look at his stats he seems to be good at everything with maybe putting average his worst figure.
Since 2014 the left-hander has regularly played the Asia Tour and has done well out there. He seems to be following in the footsteps of Brooks Koepka and we all know how that’s turned out.
Twenty-three-year-old Haydn Porteous won his first tour event at the Joburg Open in 2016 and secured his European tour status. His minus 18 winning score included a 66, two 68s and a 69, which was really steady golf.
With the tournament reduced to 54 holes earlier this year he couldn’t retain his title. The tournament has moved from the Royal Joburg and Kensington Golf Club due to renovations but he could still do the business in his home town. Last season he also won the Czech Masters.