The European Tour heads to the Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof, South Africa this week, a course which has staged this Euro Tour event since 2015 and has also been used as host for other South African Tour events in the past.
Thomas Aiken ($10,800): The course this week is a tight, tree-lined test, and that should suit Thomas Aiken just fine, who definitely is good at finding fairways off the tee — 7th on Tour last year in Driving Accuracy. Aiken has been circling a big finish since the start of the year, and this week could be the one where he breaks through. He hasn’t played at this venue since 2010, but he does have a couple T3 finishes at this course and also has two top fives over his last six starts.
Romain Langasque ($9,600): The talented young Frenchman has been on fire to start 2017 and has made five straight cuts. It’s also encouraging that in two of his starts in South Africa this year he’s finished 21st and 11th (last week). He’s never played this venue before, but given his recent form and how well he played last week, I’m not shying away from him. He’s got as much upside and more talent than anyone priced above him this week.
Justin Hicks ($8,400): The Justin Hicks revival show continues here. I included him in this column last week, and he finished a strong 23rd, which makes three straight made cuts in South Africa for the former PGA Tour regular on finishes of 23-2-8. Hicks should really set up well for this accuracy driven test as he was one of the better ball strikers on Tour in his day, even if he never did hit it very far. He’s playing good golf and is very rosterable at his price considering the weakness of the field in general.
Paul Dunne ($7,700): Dunne is a player I’ve written up several times already this year. The Irishman has gotten off to a nice start in 2017 and his finish of 23rd last week made it four of five made cuts on the season. At $7,700, making him a consideration this week is easy as the consistency and upside he brings is there week in week out in a field like this.
Trevor Fisher ($7,600): South Africans have a great record at their home country events, and this week is no different. Given that, and Fisher’s recent form, making him a target this week makes sense. He’s made two of three starts on the Euro Tour since November and landed finishes of T5 and T16 — both of which occurred in South Africa. He’s played this venue competitively seven times since 2005, and has four finishes of 23rd or better, giving him a decent course history as well.
James Morrison ($7,500): Morrison paid off for us big time last week as the consistent Englishman willed his way to a T4 finish through three rain soaked rounds. Morrison should set up even better this week as he’s definitely someone who relies on accuracy over power and generally ranks much higher in Driving Accuracy than Distance every year. The lack of price increase here is worth notice, as Morrison has now finished 4-12-23 in his last three starts.
Chris Paisley ($7,400): Paisley is another player I’ve written up with tons of success lately and feel no reason to change course with him either. He’s made five straight cuts and his game sets up well for a shorter course. He had two top fives last year in some bigger events and has plenty of upside this week against a weaker field.
Lucas Bjerregaard ($6,900): Another favorite of mine, Bjerregaard has one of the hardest names to spell on Tour, but it’s often worth doing since he generally makes a lot of cuts (4/5 this year). The Dane played this course once back in 2015 and finished 46th, so the fact that he’s relatively familiar with the venue is good news for his prospects as well.
Chris Hanson ($6,800): Hanson is yet another stalwart of mine who keeps making cuts and churning out decent fantasy weeks. While he struggled with the rain stoppages a bit last week, Hanson still made the cut (now 4/5 on the year) and had some success earlier in the season in South Africa with 26th and 11th place showings. There’s no point in getting fancy here, Hanson is priced under $7k and has had an excellent start to the year, I think he’s a great play again this week.
Haydn Porteous ($6,500): The young South African won the Joberg Open back in 2016 but struggled to find his way after that win. However, he’s now made two straight cuts — with 26th and 23rd place finishes — and also finished 10th at this venue last season. Given his recent run of good form, the fact he’s from South Africa, and his great record when playing in South Africa, I can’t see not taking advantage here at this bargain bin price.
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