Golf: European Tour – South African Open
Venue: Randpark Golf Club, Ekurhuleni.
Dates: Thursday 9th – Sunday 12th January 2020
The European Tour gets underway in 2020 in South Africa with plenty of players hoping to have say in the Ryder Cup later this year as well as the array of major tournaments on the line. The South African Open has been one of the most important events of the early season, having been co-sanctioned by the European Tour back in 1997. The event also offers three non-exempt qualifying spots for the Open Championship in July, adding to the amount at stake in Ekurhuleni. The event has a distinctively home-grown field with many South African superstars taking part and with Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen heading up the list of previous winners, there will be plenty of big names looking to follow in their footsteps in 2020.
The opening European Tour event of the decade promises to be enthralling viewing in South Africa and plenty of big names are vying to get their name on the trophy:-
Defending champion and home favourite Louis Oosthuizen is a consistent performer across all levels and he will be hoping for another stellar season on the European Tour.
Another home favourite that enjoyed his best season as a professional in 2019 and Erik van Rooyen will be hoping to get off to a flyer in 2020 in front of his home fans.
2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel is very much in the twilight of his career but he is more than capable in this field and he will enjoy the conditions here.
Branden Grace didn’t enjoy his best season in 2019 but he will be refreshed and ready for action here in his home tournament and he could be a solid outside bet if he plays anywhere near his best golf.
Emerging South African Brandon Stone won this event back in 2016 but hasn’t kicked on as many would have expected but 2020 could present a fresh opportunity for the talented 26 year old.
1st Round Leader
Producing the goods over 72 holes is often the most difficult thing for any golfer to do therefore here are our first round leader picks:-
Shaun Norris continues to put in consistent performances on both the European and Sunshine Tours and he will relish playing at Randpark this week.
Englishman Eddie Pepperell kicked on in 2019 and he will be hoping to continue that form in 2020. With the Ryder Cup on the horizon he will be hoping to kick start the year here.
Belgian Thomas Detry is still looking for his first European Tour victory but 2019 was an excellent year for him and he looks well placed to develop in 2020.
Top Ten Finish
With so many quality players assembled here at the Randpark, getting into the winning enclosure could be tough but there are plenty of candidates to finish in the top 10 come Sunday:-
2012 runner-up George Coetzee continues to perform year in, year out on the European Tour and he will be a real candidate to go all the way this week on a course that should suit him.
Home favourite Zander Lombard looks to have the world at his feet at the age of 24 and he will be looking to build on another solid season last year and add to his tournament tally.
2015 South African Open champion Andy Sullivan has endured somewhat of a dry spell in the last couple of seasons but the Englishman will be hoping to find form once again in 2020.
BetXChange Best Bets:
Outright Winner: Louis Oosthuizen – 5.00
1st Round Leader: Eddie Pepperell – 30.00
Top Ten Finish: George Coetzee – 3.00