Starts: 25th November 2021
Course: Randpark GC, Johannesburg
Par: 71 (35-36)
Length: 7,506 yards
2020 Champion: JB Hansen
Overall Profit/Loss: +8.73pts
Pre-Event Bets: +10.23pts
1.25pts EW Shaun Norris 30/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-8)
0.75pts EW Santiago Tarrio 50/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts EW Zander Lombard 66/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts EW JC Ritchie 80/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts EW Trevor Fisher Jr 150/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-8)
In-Play Bets: -1.5pts
25 November 2021(-1.5pts)
0.75pts EW Oliver Bekker 50/1 @ Betfair (1/4 1-5)
Type of Course: Parkland, Tree lined.
Course Designer: Sid Brews, course re-designed in 1990 by Mark Muller and most recently by Sean Quinn.
Fairways: Average to wide.
Rough: Kikuya rough.
Water Hazards: Features throughout. In-play on holes 1,2,7,8,9,11,16,17.
Par 5's: 4th, 12th, 14th
Hosted Since: 2020
Premium on: Tee to Green
Thurs: Cloudy. Wind 14mph.
Fri: Light rain showers. Wind 16mph.
Sat: Cloudy. Wind 17mph.
Sun: Cloudy. Wind 14mph.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
- This is the first of three co-sanctioned events in South Africa.
- Randpark GC hosted this event in November last year, with all four rounds played at the Firethorn course.
- Randpark GC hosted the South African Open in January 2020 and December 2018 but the Firethorn course only hosted 3 of the 4 rounds. As a result, there may be some hidden course form available if a player played well at that course but not the Bushwillow course.
- Randpark also hosted the Joburg Open, played December 2017.
- Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
Scores of -23, -18 and -21 prevailed when the easier Bushwillow course was used for one round. JB Hansen won last year with a score of -19 with all four rounds at the Firethorn course.
JB Hansen finished 7th at the Joburg Open in December 2017. In January 2020, Branden Grace won here in January 2020 after finishing 7th in December 2018. Previous high finish regarded as a bonus.
The last four winners all had a top 10 finish in their last two starts. Look for a player coming in hot.
Two South Africans, an Indian and a Dane have won at Randpark so far. Five of the top 10 last year were South Africans, eight of the top 12 the edition before and 9 of the top 14 the previous two years. Preference for locals.
Strokes Gained stats have been available for the past three tournaments at Randpark. It shows a strong tee to green game is necessary to challenge.
SG: Off The Tee
Oosthuizen ranked 3rd off the tee in 2018, 2nd place Langasque was 29th.
In January 2020, Grace was 32nd and runner up Oosthuizen was 13th.
Last December, JB Hansen was 15th and Wilco Nienaber was 7th.
Oosthuizen was as low as 92nd SG: Approach the green in 2018 - however, ranked 12th for GIR. Langasque was 62nd.
In January 2020, Grace was 14th and Oosthuizen 12th.
Last December, Hansen was 7th and Nienaber 18th.
SG: Around The Greens
Oosthuizen ranked 25th around the greens in 2018, Langasque was 3rd.
In 2020, Grace ranked 16th and Oosthuizen (was 3rd for scrambling though).
Hansen was 42nd last December, runner-up Nienaber was 51st.
Oosthuizen ranked 5th on the greens in 2018, Langasque was 3rd.
In 2020, Grace was 7th and Oosthuizen 34th.
Hansen and Nienaber ranked 7th and 8th last December.
Long par 4 2nd was the hardest hole last time we were here. The 10th was 2nd hardest, closely followed by the 8th.
The three par 5s were three of the four easiest holes at last year's Joburg Open. The short par 4 9th was the oher.
Fast or Slow Start
December 2020: JB Hansen was five shots behind at halfway but only one shot back going into the final round.
January 2020: Branden Grace and 2nd place Louis Oosthuizen both sat 3 back at halfway. Grace started the final round three behind Oosthuizen.
December 2018: Oosthuizen opened with a 62 and won by 6 but he was one back at halfway before pulling clear.
December 2017: Eventual winner, Shubhankar Sharma, was one shot behind at halfway.
Players We Almost Backed
NOTE - These are players who we shortlisted for this event but ultimately didn't advise to subscribers. If you want to find out who we did tip, you can subscribe using the link below.
Brandon Stone 33/1
Brandon has finished 4th and 7th here from his last three attempts. A three time winner on the European Tour (twice in co-sanctioned African events), he's a cut above most in this field. Recent form hasn't been great however and a final round 76 at Korn Ferry Tour Q School a few weeks ago saw him slip down to 80th in that qualifier. He could well be inspired by a trip back home but he narrowly misses out on selection.
Louis De Jager 60/1
Louis was another who was considered given his play last time out at the PGA Championship on the Sunshine Tour. A 3rd place finish was a good result but it really should have been a win given he shot a disastrous 74 in round three when leading. That is a worry given this is a step up in class. Coupled with his poor form at Randpark (best finish 42nd in four attempts), he was ultimately left out.
Niall Kearney 70/1
If Niall had been available at 80/1 with eight each way places he'd probably have been a selection this week. The Irishman had the 6th best Stoke Average on the European Tour in 2021 but suffered from a lack of starts. As such, he's not been able to tee it up since the Mallorca Golf Open a month ago. He's a steady performer who is likeley to challenge the top 20 this week.
Luke Brown 250/1
Luke is a young South African who secured his maiden win on the Sunshine Tour at the end of October. He hails from Johannesburg and should have plenty of experience of Randpark. He narrowly missed the cut here in January 2020 (shooting 70-69) but he appears to be a much improved player since then and a big finish is entirely possible. After his win last month he referenced the fact he leant a lot from his experience of throwing away a four shot final round lead earlier in the season. That kind of maturity marks him out as one to keep an eye on this week.
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26 November 2021, 5.20pm (UK time)
It proved to be an extremely eventful day in South Africa as 23 players withdrew from the tournament over concerns relating to COVID. A surprise suspension of flights between the UK and South Africa leading many to fly home before quarantine rules applied.
The man at the top, Thriston Lawrence, need not worry about getting home and he's opened up a four shot lead. A general 11/8, the 24 year old South African was a highly promising amateur but has yet to really deliver on early promise in the paid ranks. One win on the Sunshine Tour in a three round event in 2019 and a win on the Big Easy Tour in 2018 are the best he's been able to produce in over 120 starts.
He seems mightily short to us with 36 holes to go. He led by two shots at halfway at the Sunshine Tour Players Championship in March this year, before slipping back to a 4th place finish. A win here would be a significant step up on anything he's achieved and he's sure to feel the pressure over the weekend.
We have three pre-event selections inside the top 7 and we're confident they can reel the leader in. One of those selections is the man who is closest to Lawrence. Zander Lombard was given to subscibers at 66/1 and he's now 4/1 second favourite to take the title.
Another of our pre-event selections, Shaun Norris, is third in the betting at 8/1. Due to turn 40 in May next year, he's been a consistent winner in Japan over the last few years. Norris is yet to finish his 2nd round, as 62 other players are, due to a weather delay for electrical activity.
Ashely Cheters was one of the few British players who remained in Johannesburg and he'll be glad he did. A solid second round 69 sees him sit 3rd going into the weekend. Odds of 17/2 make little appeal though for a player who's failed to convince in contention.
Weather for the third round should be dry with a consistent 15mph wind.
UPDATE 7pm (UK time): Since this blog was written, the tournament has been changed to 54 holes. Lawrence is now a best price 4/5.
Round 3 Bet
- No bet
We see Norris or Lombard as the most likely winner from here but we're happy with our pre-event position on both. Brandon Stone, Johannes Veerman and a top up on Santiago Tarrio (we're on him as well pre-event) were considered as each way bets but the tournament being reduced to 54 holes now rules them out.
25 November 2021, 6.20pm (UK time)
|Lawrence (thru 17)||-6|
|Seven Players Tied||-4|
An approaching thunderstorm halted play towards the end of round one at the Joburg Open and leaves 42 players still to finish their opening eighteen holes.
Dylan Frittelli made a mess of his last few holes to drop a shot but he remains the 6/1 favourite at the bookmakers. This represents a great chance for him to win for the first time since 2019. Many of the favourites struggled in the opening round and the leaderboard is full of players yet to win at this level.
That said, we've backed Fritelli twice in the last three weeks and know all too well how frustrating a player he can be. He opened up with a 69 at last week's RSM Classic before shooting an 80 in round 2. We won't see him shoot an 80 tomorrow but we're content to leave him alone at 6/1.
Second in the betting is Shaun Norris (14/1) and he's much preferred to Fritteli at the odds available. Norris was one of our pre-event selections at 30/1 and we like his chances from here.
Three of our pre-event selections are inside the top 11 and we're very much hoping they make further progress over the next 54 holes. We want to add to our strong position with one further play ahead of the second round.
Weather for the second round should be sunny with winds set to to reach a maximum of 15mph.
Round 2 Bet
- 0.75pts Each Way Oliver Bekker 50/1 @ Betfair (1/4 1-5)
Oliver opened up with a 2 under par 69 to sit four shots off the pace. He's a six time winner on the Sunshine Tour and recently graduated to the European Tour having had a stellar year on the Challenge Tour. Four top 3 finishes this year was an impressive strike rate and this is a sound each way bet. Finally, a 13th place finish at this course in 2017 indicates his opening round wasn't a fluke.