Tshwane Open 2013
This week sees the European Tour once again team up with South Africa’s Sunshine Tour in the 6th and final event in the country for this season. We have to start off by saying the Tshwane Open will probably be one of the toughest to call this year purely because it is a new event, so we have no previous tournaments or course form to go off. But what we will say is 4 out of the last 5 tournaments played in South Africa have been won by a native. So you can see why we have chosen the people we have.
The course itself, The Els Club Copperleaf, is rather long at 7,315 metres meaning there will be a few big hitters towards the top end of the leaderboard. The fairways are quite wide too, which again will favour the big hitters. But there is likelihood of wind, rain and even thunderstorms here and there this week meaning it will not be a stroll in the park. Various tough bunkers surround most of the greens so a deft touch now and then will be needed as well as length off the tee.
Jaco Van Zyl (12/1 Paddy Power)
It is very, very rare that we at DownThe18th back the outright favourite but we’re finding it hard not to this week. Van Zyl has been on our radar for some time and we think the time is right to get on him. In his last 3 tournaments in South Africa on the European Tour he has finished T8, T11 and most recently T2 at the Africa Open. So it is time you would say for him to record his first win. One main reason Van Zyl finds himself favourite this week is because he won the Dimension Data Pro-am at the weekend beating players such as Fichardt, Fisher Jnr, Otto and Mulroy who find themselves in the field this week. So he certainly has the taste for victory at the moment. After the tournament Jaco himself said how he felt the time was right for him to bag his 1st European Tour win. Statistically, the South African finds himself 16th in putts per round, 29th in putts per GIR, 32nd in sand saves, 37th in driving accuracy and averages 287 yards off the tee on the European Tour. Because he finds himself at 12/1 we would strongly advise just betting to win this week.
Trevor Fisher Jnr (28/1 Paddy Power)
Again this guy keeps popping up on our radar every time the tour moves to South Africa. We backed him 2 weeks ago at the African Open and he disappointed somewhat finishing down in T27. He has always said though that the Africa Open is not one of his strongest with him missing the cut the year before. But before that his form was very respectable, finishing T13, T31, T21 and then T6 at the Joburg Open. It was at the Joburg where Fisher Jnr came properly to our attention. In his first 3 rounds he hit 25 birdies and 2 eagles and but for a poor last round, the tournament would have been his. As with any course putting is essential and Trevor is playing well on the greens, 10th in putts per GIR and 34th in putts per round shows this. He is also 12th in birdies per round, 10th in eagles per round and also 17th in par5 scoring meaning he will know how to take advantage of these longer holes on this course. The South African also finished 3rd at the weekend at the Dimension Data Pro-Am, 3 shots off the in-form Van Zyl so he is hitting the ball nicely.
Mark Tullo (50/1 Paddy Power)
Now we did say it is likely to be a man from South Africa who wins here this week but if there is anyone from abroad who wins this thing we think this man could be in with a squeak. He doesn’t fly off the page at you but recent form impresses us a lot for someone at 50/1. Tullo finished T5 at the last European Tour event, The African Open, showing his current form is tasty. At the weekend Tullo again finished just 5 shots off Van Zyl in T9, with Fisher Jnr and Fitchardt also above the Chilean. So his last two turnouts in South Africa have been very respectable. He has 2 Challenge Tour victories to his name, one was beating Matteo Manassero who finished 1 behind at the 2010 Rolex Trophy. So he does know how to win. Also statistically, Tullo has some impressive figures! On the European Tour he finds himself 4th in driving distance (crucial for this long course and 2 of the people above him aren’t in the field), 19th in driving accuracy, 32nd in stroke average, 37th in putts per round and 26th in sand saves (because we all know Ernie Els loves a bunker). Considering a lot of the big boys will be above him in those statistics, they are very impressive. Worth an e/w punt for sure!
Jake Roos (125/1 Paddy Power)
Now, we always enjoy backing an outsider here at DownThe18th and this week’s pick goes to 32 year old South African Jake Roos. Now of course a lot of this is to do with gut instinct so tread carefully on this one. But at the weekend Roos finished level with our last pick Mark Tullo in T9 which was only 1 shot off the likes of Fisher Jnr and Fitchardt who are very well fancied this week. What impresses us more is that he finished off with a round off 66 at the Dimension Data Pro-Am and we are hoping he will take that sort of form into this week. Roos also has 12 professional wins to his name, 5 times on the Sunshine Tour. 3 of his Sunshine Tour wins came in 2012 which clearly shows he is in some sort of form and definitely knows how to win. Previous European Tour performances in South Africa go T46, T13 and most recently T32 at the Africa Open. At 125/1 with that sort of track record, surely worth a punt?