We’re really moving from strength to strength at DownThe18th, with George Coetzee giving us our second consecutive win on the European Tour. So confidence is high and we don’t see why we can’t continue our good run this week.
The tour stays in South Africa and we move to the East London Golf Club right on the Indian Ocean. It is one of those tight, testing tracks that we really love. And being on the coast, conditions could get very tough. The par 72 is one of the shortest courses on the Tour measuring 6,700 yards. Many of the par 4’s are in fact driveable but taking them on will be at your own risk with the rough expected to be very penal. The course is similar to the Durban CC which hosted the Volvo Golf Champions where Louis Oosthuizen won a few weeks back.
Last week in the Joburg Open, putting was key as the greens were particularly slow. And the greens this week are meant to be even slower! So if your pick is not putting well, we can’t see them being in the mix at the weekend. Darren Fichardt putted quite outstandingly on the way to his win here in 2013. Driving Accuracy we feel will be vital as well, particularly when the winds get up on the coastal front nine.
The field you will see is not the most mouth-watering, but from a betting perspective it does mean there is value to be had. Thomas Aiken will be someone who many people fancy this week but for the odds he is at (10/1) we just feel that is too low especially after his final round on Sunday. But we have found some names we are very confident in.
David Horsey (45/1 Bet365)
We can’t deny that big Dave is one of our favourite golfers, although we do tend to say that every week. But seriously, you put Horsey on a tight, coastal course and he will be in golfing heaven. His iron play is a thing of beauty, rarely misses a fairway off the tee and is solid on the greens too.
It is usually this stretch of the year that the Englishman enjoys, with him having three consecutive top 10’s in March 2013 all on tracks similar to this week’s. We particularly enjoyed his display at the Trophee Hassan II where he finished T2. But is he playing well now? Horsey ranked 1st in driving accuracy over the final two days last week and was also 6th and 3rd in putts per round for those days. You need to trust us when we say if Horsey is finding fairways, he is a big threat. It was his 2nd round of 63 last week that particularly highlighted to us Dave is playing some seriously good golf. He hasn’t played this tournament before which is why he is at relatively high odds, but we have faith in the Englishman, we really do.
Jaco Van Zyl (20/1 Ladbrokes)
Whenever the tour moves to South Africa Jaco is always someone that performs consistently and catches our eye. Now any lower than this and Van Zyl does start to enter unbackable territory. We managed to get on him at 22’s Monday morning which we feel is quite good value.
Jaco has done everything but win here over the last three years finishing 4th, 4th and then 2nd last year. Fichardt’s superior putting was enough to take it. But Van Zyl has 13 titles on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, he knows how to get the job done when in position. He ranked in the top 5 over the whole tournament in driving accuracy and was steady in the putting stats at the Joburg. He will know the greens this week intimately, so there is no reason why the putter can’t get hot.
Morten Ørum Madsen (45/1 Stan James)
A player who we followed right from his early days on the Challenge Tour and is now one of the hottest prospects out there. All you need to know is that he has a passion for coastal courses and can plot his way around the most difficult of tracks. After his maiden win on the Tour in November last year, at the South African Open, Madsen slipped off the radar barring a 13th place at the Volvo Golf Champions. But last time out at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic he was back playing some solid stuff and also ranked in the top 10 for putts per round over the final two days. This was on a track not particularly suited to Madsen, but the East London GC certainly will be. Another thing heavily in the Dane’s favour is the fact he will be one of the longest off the tee in the field. The driveable par 4s will be somewhere Madsen will have eagle chances that is for sure. For a recent champion, this is a very solid bet.
Alastair Forsyth (110/1 Stan James)
We actually managed to get the Scot at 150/1 early doors which we felt was tremendous value. He is someone who we didn’t know a great deal about but certainly caught our eye last week. He actually held the lead on day 3 for a short period but gradually dropped off and had a disappointing fourth round. That will be why he finds himself at the odds he is. But statistically he was very impressive, he ranked 1st in putts per round over the first three days. And he even ranked 7th, despite being +4, on the final day. His ironplay gradually slipped away on the final day but coming to a course this week where he recorded a 5th in 2012 he should be feeling very confident. We don’t feel there will be many better picks out there at three figure odds.
Roope Kakko (80/1 SkyBet)
We never thought we would be backing Kakko two weeks on the spin but he did enough for us last week to suggest he can go again. After his second round 64 the Fin was right in the mixer until the final day and was unlucky not to grab us a place. As we mentioned earlier, putting is absolutely vital this week and arguably Kakko was the best in the field last week. On the final day he was 2nd putts per GIR and 1st putts per round. He was 4th and 2nd in the respective categories the round before as well. When someone putts as well as Kakko is, you can’t see him not being up there once again.
Wallie Coetzee (350/1 Stan James) (28/1 Top 10 Stan James)
Just a cheeky local to throw at you. He’s at these odds because he hasn’t done a lot in his career but last week he showed us a game that could do really well around the East London GC. Over the final three days he was never lower than 4th in driving accuracy and 3rd in putts per GIR (was 1st for days 2 and 3). So he is playing some consistent stuff, just needs to string it together over four days. Not to be confused with Charl Coetzee or last week’s winner George.