THE OVERVIEW

Randpark Golf Club (Firethorn & Bushwillow) - The event this week will be played across two parkland-style courses at the Randpark Golf Club. Both courses, Firethorn and Bushwillow, will play considerably shorter than their yardage totals due to the severe Johannesburg altitude. The Firethorn course will play this week as a 7,595-yard, par 72 while the Bushwillow course plays as a 7,114-yard, par 71. Players will alternate the courses Thursday and Friday, and those who make the cut will play Firethorn for rounds three and four.

Firethorn is the tougher of the two tracks, but players have been known to go super low on both. The finishing three holes have been described as "death or glory." So, a close leaderboard on Sunday afternoon could produce some fireworks. Both courses are defined by target shots and tight, tree-lined fairways. Most write ups are targeting GIR and Scrambling as good indicators of strong play at Randpark, but with the forecast calling for significant rainfall, longer hitters may have a distinct advantage.

When making picks this week, I'll be looking at Driving Accuracy (and Distance), GIR, putting, South African players, and recent form.

The 2000 South African Open was here at Randpark, and a few names that were on that entry list are here this week. Those names are: Darren Fichardt, Hennie Otto, Adilson Da Silva, Keith Horne, Thomas Aiken, and Wallie Coetsee.

Last year's Joburg Open was also held here at Randpark and some notable players that finished well there are: Erik Van Rooyen, Shaun Norris, Tapio Pulkkanen, Joachim Hansen, James Morrison, Jinho Choi, and Paul Peterson. 

 

PAST WINNERS

2018  - 21  Chris Paisley   (Runner Up:   -18  Branden Grace)  @ Glendower GC

2017  - 18   Graeme Storm   (Runner Up, Playoff:   Rory McIlroy)  @ Glendower GC

2016  - 14  Brandon Stone    (Runner Up:   -12  Christian Bezuidenhout)  @ Glendower GC

2015  - 11  Andy Sullivan   (Runner Up, Playoff:   Charl Schwartzel)  @ Glendower GC

2014  - 19  Morten Orum Madsen   (Runners Up:  -17   Jbe Kruger & Hennie Otto)  @ Glendower GC

 

BETTING ODDS   (Bovada 12/03/2018)

Louis Oosthuizen  +700

Branden Grace  +1000

Matt Wallace  +1000

Dylan Frittelli  +1400

Charl Schwartzel  +1800

Dean Burmester  +2000

Erik Van Rooyen  +2800

Shaun Norris  +3300

Chris Paisley  +4000

George Coetzee  +4000

Justin Harding  +4000

Kurt Kitayama  +4000

Sean Crocker  +4000

Bernd Wiesberger  +5000

Brandon Stone  +5000

Darren Fichardt  +5000

Jeung Hun Wang  +5000

Matthieu Pavon  +5000

Pablo Larrazabal  +5000

Richard Sterne  +5000

Romain Langasque  +5000

Scott Vincent  +5000

Thomas Aiken  +5000

Haydn Porteous  +6600

Masahiro Kawamura  +6600

 

HOT PLAYERS

Kurt Kitayama

Dylan Frittelli

Louis Oostuizen

Matt Wallace

Justin Harding

Dimi Papadatos

 

HORSES FOR THE COURSE

Erik Van Rooyen

Shaun Norris

Tapio Pulkkanen

Joachim B Hansen

James Morrison

Jinho Choi

 

LONGER SHOTS

Christian Bezuidenhout  +8000

Clement Sordet  +8000

Scott Jamieson  +8000

Tapio Pulkkanen  +8000

Trevor Immelman  +8000

Adilson De Silva  +10000

Aledjandro Canizares  +10000

David Drysdale  +10000

David Lipsky  +10000

Dimi Papadatos  +10000

Ernie Els  +10000

Jaco Van Zyl  +10000

Joachim B Hansen  +10000

Marc Warren  +10000

Paul Peterson  +10000

Callum Shinkwin  +12500

Jacques Kruyswijk  +12500

Kim Koivu  +12500

Grant Forrest  +15000

Jeff Winther  +15000

John Catlin  +15000

Trevor Fisher Jr.  +15000

Zander Lombard  +15000

Edoardo Molinari  +20000

Gregory Havret  +20000

Hennie Otto  +20000

Hyowon Park  +20000

Jaco Ahlers  +20000

Justin Walters  +25000

 

FAITHFULS

Louis Oosthuizen

Branden Grace

Charl Schwartzel

George Coetzee

Richard Sterne

 

GOLF PICKS

THE 'FORE' SOME

'FORE' SOMES are chosen by selecting one player from a "low tier" betting pool (30:1 or better), two players from a "mid tier" (30:1 - 75:1), and a final player from a "high tier" (75:1 & up).  

KEITH'S 'FORE' SOME 

Erik Van Rooyen  (28:1).  This top range is stacked this week. Even if you fade the first three names, which isn't easy here, the next four are equally difficult to choose from. Erik Van Rooyen gets the nod due to his break out year last season and his second place finish at Randpark in last year's Joburg Open. During that week, EVR shot 64, 67, 70, 66. And while those scores are most impressive, I clearly remember him missing one or two, very "make-able" putts. Van Rooyen improved on his putting a bit towards the end of the summer and it showed with his T4 finish at the Irish Open. So, what I see is a super-talented player who's game has improved since scorching this track just a year ago.

Shaun Norris  (33:1)  &  Sean Crocker  (40:1).  Shaun Norris continues the South African favoritism. Norris tore it up on the Asian Tour this past year. Although this field is much stronger than he is used to, he has played against all of these guys before, and his veteran grit will keep him from being intimidated. He knows the course, he knows the competition, and he is in fairly good form. Currently ranked #75 on the OWGR.

Sean Crocker is a personal fave pick here. Chris Paisley, Justin Harding, or Kurt Kitayama are all probably better picks at lower odds and even Brandon Stone and Scott Vincent are tempting at a slightly higher value. However, I am a Sean Crocker believer. And I am rolling the dice on the young American in Johannesburg.

Tapio Pulkkanen  (80:1).  The young, Finnish bomber with a pimp hat and an outstanding finish last year at Randpark takes the high slot. Joachim B Hansen made me think for a minute, but I think I always knew I was taking Tapio Pulkkanen here. Opened with rounds of 64 and 65 to start the week last year at the Joburg Open. A disappointing third round took him out of contention. That has to still burn. Tapio might come out with guns blazing.

 

Listen to this week’s podcast to hear the team’s thoughts on the event and tweet us @fantasygolfww or #fgww.

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