This week’s event takes place at the Glendower GC in Ekurhulani, South Africa, the course that has hosted this event since 2013. Let’s jump right into some potential targets for this weekend!
Rory McIlroy ($13,500): McIlroy is making his first appearance at this event, and it’s mainly to keep a promise he made to Ernie Els, whose foundation hosts this event. This course does favor players with length off the tee, so the setup should favor him even though he lacks any course history. The real concern with Rory might be the fact that he is putting new clubs in play this week (Nike stopped making golf clubs), but I personally don’t think it will matter much. This is a weak field event, even by Euro Tour standards, and I fully expect McIlroy to come through with at least a top ten and likely better. I think he’s worth paying up for.
Brandon Stone ($10,200): Stone is a name to remember. At only 23 years old the South African has already amassed two wins on the European Tour, one which was at this event last season. The other event Stone won was the Alfred Dunhill Championship — which, coincidently, was the last tournament he played and also took place in South Africa. Stone is a big hitter (24th in Driving Distance last year), will be playing in his home country and obviously has taken to the course already.
David Horsey ($8,500): Horsey closed out last season in great form, making nine straight cuts to end the year. The Englishman has only played this course once and missed the cut, but given his recent form, I think he makes for a great play in this weaker field at only $8,500. Horsey had previously won in consecutive seasons before going winless in 2016, so he’ll be looking to get back on top at some point this season. He’s been in the southern hemisphere preparing for this tournament and the Dubai swing which comes next, so I expect him to play well this week.
Peter Uihlein ($7,800): Uihlein is a talented American player who makes his living on the Euro Tour. He missed a lot of 2016 with an injury but came back healthy recently and finished 14th in Hong Kong a couple of months ago. Uihlein has never played this event before, but with plenty of power off the tee, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him take to the course this week, as it has favored big hitters in the past. At just $7,800, in a weak field, there is plenty of upside here.
James Morrison ($7,600): Morrison is a steady English player who also brings in a nice course history this week. In two appearances at this event, Morrison has put up strong finishes of 22nd and 15th. While he had a bit of a slow 2016, he still landed three top-five finishes, so there is pretty good upside here for only $7,600. Morrison is a golfer I’d feel very comfortable rostering this week in any format given the weak field.
Jbe Kruger ($7,600): Kruger has a nice blend of good course history and good recent form this week. The South African has played this course four times in competition (twice as an official Euro Tour event) and never missed the cut. He was top 50 on Tour in Driving Distance last season and also comes into this week off the back of three top-ten results in his last four starts. At $7,600, he looks like nice value and is another player primed to put up a nice week.
Carlos Pigem ($7,600): Pigem is a talented young Spanish player who put up a great week the last time I included him in this column for the Hong Kong Open. While he’s never played this event before, the last time he played in South Africa at the Alfred Dunhill Championships (a tougher overall field), he finished T4. Pigem has now made the cut in each of his last six starts on Tour and looks to me like a great under-the-radar play once again.
Paul Maddy ($6,600): Maddy is a young English player who is still looking for consistency on Tour. Maddy doesn’t have a huge resume, but he’s coming into this event in nice form as he finished sixth and 11th in his last two starts, and already has a great record in South Africa. Maddy placed fifth at this event two years ago and also finished 11th at the aforementioned Alfred Dunhill Championships last fall. At $6,600, he looks like a nice value play this week.
Jean Hugo ($6,400): Hugo is a veteran South African player who has played this event and course numerous times. In seven of eight starts at Glendower, Hugo’s only missed the cut once and has four top ten finishes to his name. While a lot of those starts came in lower tier events, that’s still a record not to be ignored. He’s also made all four of the cuts in his last four starts so I think he’s someone to consider if you are going stars and scrubs in tournaments.
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