While the Golf in Dubai Championship is the biggest offering in the golf world this week, there’s plenty more to get excited about away from the Middle East setting and two such tournaments tee off on Thursday with the South African Open and the Mayakoba Classic.
Of course, we’ve got betting tips and predictions for both tournaments, and remember – bet365 recently launched a brand-new feature to revolutionise in-play golf betting.
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South African Open predictions
Course and location: Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa
Start time: 4am, Thursday December 3rd
Where to watch: Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Golf from 9am Thursday
Winner predictions: Wilco Nienaber (14/1) and Brandon Stone (14/1)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout is a short-price favourite for the South African Open after winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship by four shots on Sunday, but the favourite may be worth opposing this week.
The margin of victory flattered Bezuidenhout at Leopard Creek – it was a tight tussle in which his leaderboard rivals dropped away on the back nine – and his grinding ability was crucial on a track which has been toughened over recent years. This week’s assignment should yield more birdies and play into the hands of more powerful, more aggressive operators.
With Dylan Frittelli jetting over cold from America, spurning the chance to warm up in the Joburg Open or the Alfred Dunhill, the bigger odds about Wilco Nienaber and Brandon Stone are much more appealing.
Nienaber finished second in the Joburg Open and 12th in the Alfred Dunhill last week, finishing only three shots off second place, and the 20-year-old powerhouse is growing ever more comfortable on the professional circuit with every passing tournament. He has the potential to become one of the best players in South African golf history – ludicrously powerful and with a silky putting touch – and his breakthrough could come on Sunday.
Stone, fourth in Joburg and 23rd in the Dunhill, has been swinging nicely and could easily threaten a second South African Open crown if his putting improves at the Gary Player Country Club this week. Stone has won two of his three European Tour titles in his homeland.
Mayakoba Classic predictions
Course and location: El Camaleon Golf Club, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Start time: 12pm, Thursday December 3rd
Where to watch: Sky Sports Golf from 7pm Thursday
Winner predictions: Harris English (16/1) and Abraham Ancer (18/1)
Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka dominate the market for the Mayakoba Classic – the final full-field PGA Tour event of the year – and punters need to evaluate how the superstar duo will be approaching the low-grade gathering in Mexico.
Attitude and desire may be issues for both Thomas and Koepka, who are used to contending for Major glory and FedEx Cups, and at the end of a busy post-lockdown campaign it is entirely feasible that the American pair fail to bring enough focus and discipline to proceedings.
El Camaleon is a tight, fiddly track where straight driving is essential, so any dip in concentration can be extremely costly. Preference is for Harris English, who is desperate to end a seven-year victory drought.
English’s last PGA Tour title came in the 2013 Mayakoba Classic – a four-shot triumph at El Camaleon – and he finished fifth in the same event last year. At the age of 31, there is an all-round polish about the Georgia man which bodes well for the future, and for the Mayakoba.
English finished second behind Dustin Johnson in the Northern Trust, fourth in the US Open and sixth in the RSM Classic last time out, closing with a 62.
The biggest threat to English this week may come from Abraham Ancer, who is competing on home turf at a course where he has form figures of 9-21-8 from the last three years. Ancer, 13th on his Masters debut last time out, is accurate and well suited to El Camaleon.
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