Joburg Open betting preview

Golf365 tipster David John believes David Drysdale or Jaco van Zyl are better bets Joburg Open bets than Chark Schwartzel.

Charl Schwartzel is no better than 4/1 to retain the Joburg Open title he won by six shots last year from Darren Clarke and Keith Horne.

There is little doubt he is head and shoulders above the vast majority in the line-up, but he remains a hell of a short price to beat a huge field this week.

Some 206 players are due to tee it up over two courses at the magnificent Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club on Thursday.

Schwartzel’s form figures so far in South Africa this season read 2-4-4 but there have been flaws in those performances.

At both Leopard Creek and East London last week, he never really threatened to win despite a strong finish while sandwiched in between was an erratic display in Durban where he required six reloads from the tee box as he watched some wild drives sail into the undergrowth.

He still seemed to be hitting some shots from unfavourable positions at the Africa Open and his closing nine holes of 32 was too little too late.

If he wins fair enough, but I am happy to take him on.

I was disappointed with Clarke’s effort last week having given him the big fanfare to start 2011 with some fireworks.

Maybe he just needed the pipe-opener after Christmas but his middle rounds of 75-72 were below expectations in conditions that the Ulsterman should have relished.

I am coming to the conclusion that the Sunshine Tour regulars that get a start in these co-sanctioned events with the European Tour are not up to much but one player who has caught the eye is Jaco Van Zyl and he is worth another chance at 20/1.

Fourth last week, he admitted that he had trouble on the greens as the speed from putting surface to the next was inconsistent.

Hopefully he will have better fortune in that department at this event and revealed in a recent interview that he is looking forward to getting under way:

He said: “I’ve played this event all four times it’s been played and I know the two courses really well.”

He reckons making the most of the easier West course will be a key factor and the four-time Sunshine Tour winner in 2010 who secured his card for Euope last month looks more than capable of getting involved in the event.

From the home contingent, it may be worth having an interest in Hennie Otto, who boasts a decent record at the tournament.

The man from Boksburg with a volcanic temper at times has not enjoyed a great couple of seasons on the European Tour having landed his first title in Italy in 2008.

He just about made the top 115 at the end of last season but did claim a victory in South Africa at the Vodacom Championship as Otto remains a player who seems to reproduce his best efforts in his own backyard.

He missed the cut last week at East London (67-76) but posted a top 20 at Leopard Creek prior to Christmas which can be considered a pretty encouraging effort.

He has two top-six finishes from four starts here so might just be worth a crack at 80/1.

Scotland’s David Drysdale is overdue a win on the European Tour and it would not be a shock to see him finally land one in 2011.

It might just come here too, as he has some rock-solid form in the event having had a share of the lead in 2009 after 54 holes.

His opening 36 holes that year were bogey free and it is fair to say he did not let himself down badly over the closing 18 holes with a 69 on the way to third place on his own behind Anders Hansen.

Drysdale missed the cut last week – blown off the course with a 79 in the second round – but that was a first missed weekend in six events and included a top 10 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The 66/1 chance has knocked on the door a few times now and those experiences should stand him in good stead – bar Schwartzel, he has no-one really to fear in this company.

Final pick this week is the talented Mark Tullo from Chile, who can be punted at 300/1 with Sky Bet.

Tullo was twice a winner on the Challenge Tour in 2010 on the way to ninth place in the rankings and securing his full European Tour privileges for this season.

He managed to knock off a couple of big names as well on both occasions – the brilliant Matteo Manassero at the Rolex Trophy while Rory McIlroy was in the field in his Egyptian Open success at the end of October.

He missed the cut in the Africa Open, admitting his practice over the winter had not really been tailored towards the strong winds that ripped across the second round in East London.

He should be that bit sharper and I like the fact that he is a proven winner – in Africa as well – so is a player very much to keep on the right side of this season.

We are obviously taking a chance on how he adapts to the two courses for the first time but his big price more than makes up for that particular factor.

Preview posted at 1605 GMT on 11/01/2011.