Venue – Gary Player Country Club, Sun City
Location – Sun City, South Africa
Style – South African Resort Course.
Par – 72
Yardage – 7,827
Architect – Gary Player
Event – Rolex Series and final event before the Dp World tour Championships.
Greens: Bent Grass (Slick and quick running at around 13-14 ft)
Fairways: Very narrow considering the style and length of course
Rough: Kikuyu (The rough is extremely thick and littered with bushes)
Other Notes: Altitude Course, No Cut 63 man field.
Previous winners and runners up since 2013:
|2018||11 Nov||Lee Westwood (3)||England||273||−15||3 strokes||Sergio García||7,500,000||1,250,000|
|2017||12 Nov||Branden Grace||South Africa||277||−11||1 stroke||Scott Jamieson||7,500,000||1,166,660|
|2016||13 Nov||Alexander Norén||Sweden||274||−14||6 strokes||Wang Jeung-hun||7,000,000||1,166,660|
|2015||6 Dec||Marc Leishman||Australia||269||−19||6 strokes||Henrik Stenson||6,500,000||1,250,000|
|2014||7 Dec||Danny Willett||England||270||−18||4 strokes||Ross Fisher||6,500,000||1,250,000|
|2013||8 Dec||Thomas Bjørn||Denmark||268||−20||2 strokes|| Jamie Donaldson
Off the Tee – All about hitting it straight and keeping it in the short stuff. The yardage of the course would suggest players are going to need to hit it long but at altitude and in this climate, covering the yardage and hitting short-mid irons in will pose very little issues.
Not only are the fairways tight and awkward to find, but the penalty of straying to far from the short stuff can be extremely penalising. At best players will find that thick kikuyu rough and lose huge amounts of control playing their approach shots (made substantially worse when altitude calculations come into the mix). And if not in the rough then unfortunately most likely stuck in a bush and no choice but to take relief or head back to the tee.
Approach Play – Just as important as finding fairways is hitting greens and hitting it close. For each year this tournament has been played it has been the stand out stat for those contending and those that have lifted the trophy. Obviously, creating realistic chances is key to getting a decent score going but avoiding those bogeys from failed scrambling attempts will have a lot of influence come the end results on Sunday
Scrambling – Chipping from thick bladed grass on to rapid greens just isn’t fun at the best of times and its certainly going to test the elite of the European Tour. It would be a mistake to simply look into the basics of scrambling stats and to factor this area in I have put my focus into those with experience and good past form under similar conditions.
Putting – You may of seen a video or two showcasing the speed of the greens this week and its certainly going to be interesting if they maintain those speeds for the start of play. If so very much like at Augusta National, you can almost sack off putting stats completely. More focus needs to be directed towards finding fairways and hitting it close.
European Tour, DraftKings Picks
$10,600 – Matthew Fitzpatrick
$9,000 – $10,000
$9,200 – Kurt Kitiyama
$8,000 – $9,000
$8,900 – Lee Westwood
$8,600 – Paul Waring
$7,500 – $8,000
$7,800 – George Coetzee
$7,600 Shubshankar Sharma
$7,000 – $7,500
$7,300 – Joachim Hansen
$7,100 – Benjamin Hebert
Less than $7,00
$6,800 – Scott Jamieson
$6,200 – Zander Lombard
European Tour Betting Tips
Matthew Fitzpatrick Wallace 14/1, 1 point e/w
Paul Waring 34/1, 1 point e/w
Shubankar Sharma 50/1, 1 point e/w
Scott Jamieson 100/1, 1point e/w
First Round Leader
Shubankar Sharma, 40/1. 1/2 point e/w
Scott Jamieson 66/1. 1/2 point e/w
Zander Lombard 90/1. 1/2 point e/w