Dean Burmester got over the line last week in T7 to give us our 3rd place in 4 weeks at 40/1. Meaning the last 3 places have been 66/1, 28/1 and now 40/1, not the worst form in the world ayy?

Last week could have been a whole lot better though, we had 66/1 Adri Arnaus finish T10 1 shot outside the places and then 125/1 Marcus Armitage finish T13 2 shots out the places!

Joburg Open 2021 Preview

So we begin a new season on the DP World Tour… yes, a new name for the formerly known European Tour.

We begin proceedings at Randpark GC for the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, South Africa! Where players will play on the Firethorn Course.

This course has held the Joburg Open twice (2020,2017) and the South African Open twice (2020, 2018) so we have a bit of information to go off in terms of trying to pick a winner!

Lets go into the course a bit more before getting into previous winners here at Randpark.

Firethorn Course – Randpark GC

  • Par 71
  • Just over 7500 yards
  • Sid Brews Design
  • Traditional South African Parkland layout
  • Tree lined fairways, with water in play on almost half the course and greens guarded by deep bunkers
  • Kikuyu grass fairways/thick Kikuyu rough with Bentgrass greens
  • Played at altitude

The course is a long, winding track that will require navigation around the tree lined fairways with an attempt to avoid the thick penal rough at all costs. However, the altitude here this week will make golf balls fly a percentage further than they usually do, bringing the length of the course down and bringing the shorter hitters into play.

As I said above, the Firethorn Course at Randpark has hosted 4 tournaments in the last 4 years across the South African Open and the Joburg Open. Heres a list of the winners:

2020 South African Open – Branden Grace -21
2020 Joburg Open -  JB Hansen -19
2018 South African Open – Louis Oosthuizen -18
2017 Joburg Open – Shubhanker Sharma -23

Four winners to look at, but all players have a very accurate and dominating Tee 2 Green game and sharp iron play. Lets look into the stats of those winners a little further.

2020 SA Open winner Branden Grace -

  • OTT 32nd                      
  • DA 32nd                        
  • APP 14th          
  • T2G 4th            
  • GIR 23rd
  • Scrambling 5th              
  • Par 4s 1st                      
  • Putting 7th                                               

2020 Joburg Open winner JB Hansen -

  • OTT 15th                     
  • DA 35th                        
  • APP 7th            
  • T2G 6th            
  • GIR 8th
  • Scrambling 22nd            
  • Par 4s 5th                      
  • Putting 7th

2018 SA Open winner Louis Oosthuizen -

  • OTT 3rd                         
  • DA 30th                        
  • APP 92nd          
  • T2G 15th          
  • GIR 12th  
  • Scrambling 28th            
  • Par 4s 1st                      
  • Putting 5th

2017 Joburg Open winner Shubhanker Sharma -

  • OTT 42nd                      
  • DA 8th                          
  • APP 2nd            
  • T2G 3rd            
  • GIR 49th
  • Scrambling 2nd             
  • Par 4s 5th                      
  • Putting 12th

Averages -

  • OTT 23rd                       
  • DA 26th                        
  • APP 28th          
  • T2G 7th            
  • GIR 23rd
  • Scrambling 14th            
  • Par 4s 3rd                     
  • Putting 8th

An emphasis on the tee shot to find the correct spots to attack the tricky to find greens and a sharp flat stick on the greens seems to be the key to succeeding here. A good T2G is mostly needed to do well most weeks on tour, however at a tree lined track where rough is tough to navigate from, it becomes even more of a priority for the players.

Par 4 scoring and birdies have both been crucial here, with winning scores being -18 and above and a winner’s average of 3rd for Par 4 scoring, taking care of the backbone of the holes here (Par 4s) and scoring well on them seems to put players in a better place to those who don’t.

Joburg Open 2021 Betting Odds

A somewhat weaker field for the first event of the DP World Tour 2022 season with most players who made it all the way to Dubai last week taking a break.

One guy, who isn’t taking a break and looking to continue his incredible form of late, is this weeks South African favourite Dean Burmester 8/1. No surprise to see Dean at the top of the market with the year he has had, 7 top 10s on the European Tour with 2 wins under his belt, one coming at the Tenerife Open and then one coming 3 weeks ago at his home countries PGA Championship. With the Off The Tee game he possesses and the somewhat sharp putting ability, I cant see why he will not contend here this week.

Second favourites we then have Dylan Fritelli and Johannes Veerman both at 20/1. Fritelli another South African will surely be relishing a trip back to his home country and to somewhat comfortable conditions he grew up playing on, he comes over from a season on the PGA Tour and I wouldn’t like to predict what he will bring here this week performance wise, I just know his T2G game is stellar. Veerman on the other hand is coming off a solid season on the European Tour. Veerman finished T13 here at the SA Open in 2020 so clearly prefers the course, his sharp approach play can put him in contention again here this week.

Between this mark and the 30/1 point. We have: Wilco Nienaber, Romain Langasque, Matt Jordan, Shaun Norris and George Coetzee. Big hitting Wilco will be popular I should imagine here, coming back to his home country to a course he finished 2nd at in the 2020 Joburg Open, his ability to regularly smash the ball 320+ yards Off The Tee without altitude will set up his bomb and gauge game perfectly here and it could well be an effective one. The last 4 guys in this range all have good form here and good South African form, Shaun Norris especially. Hes gone T36-3-3 here in his last 3 attempts at the Firethorn Course. He plays most of his golf on the Japanese Tour so the only worry would be his step upto this level, but if he composes himself well there’s no reason why he wont take to it again this week.

Outside this range, we have newly tour graduates Julian Brun, Marcus Helligkilde and Matthias Schmid. Three outrageously good talents, I am not tipping them this week as it is their first tournaments as with a full tour card but it will be really interesting to see how they go this week with them all coming off some exceptional form towards the end of the 2021 season on the Challenge/Euro Tour.

Joburg Open 2021 Predictions 

Back to 5 tips this week and for those who like value, I have backed all my guys with bookies who offer 8 places at 1/5 payout!

Justin Harding - Tipped at 35/1 
I’m going to start with a guy that won at altitude in Africa last year and had a T14 too the week after in the same conditions.

When you talk about a course that requires piercing, accurate drives, Harding to comes straight to mind for me. When he won at Karen GC in Kenya, he dominated the field by his T2G game. The altitude clearly suits his game, as he isn’t the longest of hitters however his accuracy with various clubs from the tee is what he masters in. If the irons are hot this week, he contends.

Masahiro Kawamura - Tipped at 40/1 
Onto a player that I’ve probably bet too much on in the last year or so as a genuinely believe he is a talent. Apart from the putter, he doesn’t do a lot wrong T2G. Stats last year of; 28th Par 4 scoring, 20th Stroke Average, 19th OTT, 30th DA, 28th T2G, 38th GIR and 36th for scrambling. He ranks close to 100th on tour for the putting which is what lets him down. If he finds it however, this course can suit him.

I have watched him in person at Wentworth GC at the BMW PGA Champs where he navigated the ball superbly around the tree lined fairways there so I can only imagine he will do the same but with more effect in the altitude here this week.

Jaques Kruyswijk - Tipped at 45/1
3rd pick this week is the big hitting South African Jaques Kruyswijk who will be relishing coming back to his home country. He has a very similar game to Nienaber in the fact that he bombs it so far down each hole that he rarely leaves himself with far into the greens. Unlike Wilco though, Jaques all round game last year on tour was nothing short of superb, stats like; 1st Stroke Average, 28th Par 4 scoring, 23rd OTT, 30th APP, 6th T2G, 37th GIR, 34th Scrambling and 24th for Putting shows he is far more than just a long hitter! If he keeps the ball in play this week, I’m confident he can go low.

Marcel Siem - Tipped at 55/1
Marcel Siem, the hot headed golfer I love to watch and have witnessed him snapping clubs mid round. However, last year he regained his tour card by having an really consistent middle of the year both on the Challenge Tour and on the European Tour.

He holds form in Africa at altitude when he finished T6 at the 2021 SA Open and has a T7 at altitude at 2021 Omega European Masters which is held at Crans sur Sierre.

Stats last season of 10th for DA, 1st for Putting Average and 20th for Par 4 scoring, mixed with his refound confidence going into a full year on tour gives me an idea he will relish this challenge this week.

Neil Schietekat - Tipped at 60/1
And finally, I have decided to throw in a guy that spends all his year playing in South Africa on the Sunshine Tour and will be very comfortable with these conditions. He has a T11 and a T29 at this course over the last 3 tournaments and his current form reads T5-2-26-17-32, the T5 being at the South African PGA Champs. Neil has stats of; 1st for birdies on the SS Tour, 20th DA, 13th GIR, 10th for Par 4 scoring and 28th for putting (according to the SS Tour website). Briming with confidence, where he is coming off a 5th place finish on the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit, I feel I have to chance him this week.