2019 South Africa Open

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

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2019 Australian PGA Championship

THE OVERVIEW

RACV Royal Pines Resort, Queensland, Australia – The RACV Royal Pines Resort course is a beast and this week it will be playing as 7,364-yard, par 72. The track, which is set along the tropically lush Gold Coast, features some tight fairways, a ton of bunkering, and plenty of trees and water to cause problems. However, it remains a resort layout, so the pros should be able to score here this week if the wind stays down.

The weather looks to be pretty warm in Queensland this week, with the potential for rain on Friday. And, the forecast shows the possibility of a windy weekend. So, the action coming down the stretch could be particularly fun.

The Australian PGA Championship is a favorite of Aussie golfers and this week’s field is an exciting one. For our selection, we’ll be looking at the last five years of course history, Aussie pros, and recent form.

 

PAST WINNERS

2018  – 18  Cameron Smith   (Runner Up, Playoff:   Jordan Zunic)

2017  – 19  Harold Varner III   (Runner Up:  – 17   Andrew Dodt)

2016  Even  Nathan Holman   (Runners Up, Playoff:  Even    Dylan Fritelli, Harold Varner III)

2015  – 11  Greg Chalmers   (Runners Up, Playoff:  – 11  Wade Ormsby, Adam Scott)

2014  – 14  Adam Scott   (Runner Up:  – 10  Rickie Fowler)

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2019 Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open

THE OVERVIEW

Four Seasons Golf Club at Anihita, Beau Champ, Mauritius – The Four Seasons course this week is an Ernie Els design that plays as a 7,400-yard, par 72. It’s a long, undulating track with big fairways, lots of trees, water, and wind, and some awesome views of the Indian Ocean.

The courses at the Afrasia have been alternating from year to year, so if you are going to look at any course history info, be sure to look at the 2016 iteration of this event instead of 2015 or 2017, which were held at The Heritage Club.

 

PAST WINNERS

2017  – 16   Dylan Frittelli   (Runner Up, Playoff:   Arjun Atwal)  @ The Heritage Club

2016  – 6  Jeung-Hun Wang  (Runner Up:  – 5   Siddikur Rahman)  @ Four Seasons Golf Club

2015  – 13   George Coetzee   (Runner Up, Playoff:  -13  Thorbjorn Olesen) @ The Heritage Club

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2019 Honma Hong Kong Open

THE OVERVIEW

Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling, China – This week the European Tour is kicking off their 2019 season by moving back to China, where The Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling will be playing as a par-70 and measures only 6,710 yards. Traditionally a ball striker’s track, the course features tree-lined fairways with relatively narrow landing areas. So, many of the longer hitters will be forced to leave their drivers in the bag. The greens are Bermuda and the fairways are made up of a Bermuda/Zoysia mix.

In the past, windy conditions have caused some trouble, and the forecast this week calls for wind in the 13-14mph range on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. And with evening showers on Thursday and rain during the day on Sunday. It could get hairy out there. Dave Tindall on Rotoworld says that late-early appears to be the best draw.

In selecting players we like this week, we’ll be looking at strong iron players. As far as stats, Greens in Regulation, Driving Accuracy, Course History, and Current Form are going to weigh heavily.

 

PAST WINNERS

2018  – 11  Wade Ormsby   (Runners Up:  – 10   Rafael Cabrera Bello, Alexander Bjork, Paul Peterson, Julian Suri)

2017  – 13  Sam Brazel   (Runner Up:  – 12   Rafael Cabrera Bello)

2016  – 17  Justin Rose   (Runner Up:  – 16   Lucas Bjerregaard)

2015  – 13  Scott Hend   (Runners Up, Playoff:  – 13  Angelo Que)

2014  – 12  Miguel Angel Jimenez   (Runner Up, Playoff:  – 12  Stuart Manley, Prom Meesawat)

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2018 DP World Tour Championship

THE OVERVIEW

Jumeriah Golf Estates, Earth Course, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – The Earth Course at Jumeriah Golf Estates is a Greg Norman design that was created specifically for this event. The par-72, 7,675-yard long track can be a beast. It demands accuracy off the tee to avoid the many bunkers strategically placed in the landing areas. Players will be required to hit the ball long and straight and the greens will favor players with higher ball flight. Although the greens will be will not favor anyone when putting as they are well-known for being difficult to read. The finish will also be challenging as the closing 4 holes will punish any errant shots.

Given all of that, it is no surprise that the two names that pop up the most in course history success are Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson. We will be looking most closely at course history and recent form when picking players for this one.

 

PAST WINNERS

2017  – 19  Jon Rahm   (Runners Up:  – 18   Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Shane Lowry)

2016  – 17  Matthew Fitzpatrick    (Runner Up:  – 16   Tyrrell Hatton)

2015  – 21  Rory McIlroy   (Runner Up:  – 20   Andy Sullivan)

2014  – 16  Henrik Stenson   (Runners Up:  – 14  Victor Dubuisson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose)

2013  – 25  Henrik Stenson   (Runner Up:  – 19  Ian Poulter)

2012  – 23  Rory McIlroy   (Runner Up:  – 21  Justin Rose)

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